FO: Fiana

Today is my little sister's birthday.   She's twenty and I am still having trouble accepting that.  I had a hard time accepting when she got her drivers license or graduated from high school.  Now she's twenty and halfway through college.  It's just too weird.

Eva's always been the fashionable one in the family.  She's an expert with eye makeup and always wants to look well put together.  For her birthday this year I was at a loss, because I did not have a ton of time or money to put into a present, but I wanted it to be special.  I've made the unfortunate mistake of gifting handknits frequently to various family members.  Now I know.  Don't ever give anyone anything handmade ever.  Then you won't feel the need to live up to it again.  I had about 40 yards of Malabrigo sock in black leftover from a Christmas present, so I decided to knit a headband.  After much deliberation I decided on Fiana by Connie Stults (rav link, sorry), a great customizable pattern in fingering weight.

As you can see, Eva's hair is perfect for headbands.  She has both bangs and long hair, so a headband adds a little whimsy in all the right ways.

I picked up the buttons at Joann's (the closest thing I have ever found to an actual button shop in our area).  The little swirls and hearts are classic Eva.

I know she liked it because she tolerated me dragging her outside and posing her by a palm frond-esque bush.

Happy birthday, Eva!


FO: Rondeur

Easter is one of my favorite times of year.  It always coincides with spring break for K-12 schools, so my family gets to come down to the coast and hang out with me.  Most of the family has gone back home, but my mom is still on break, so we're hanging out as much as possible.  One of the best things about having my mom around is that she will let me drag her outside first thing in the morning to take pictures of a newly finished knitted item.

Last summer I happened to be home when one of the yarn shops had a huge sale.  I got everything I could fit in a small shopping bag for a mere $30.  I filled mine with two lots of Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK.  The blue became the Blue Marigold Vest and the green ended up in a drawer, waiting until I found the perfect pattern.

Enter Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark's Rondeur from the latest Knitty (Spring and Summer 2011).  Need I say more?

This is the size 34.  I'm not sure how much yardage it used, but it took four full skeins and just dipped in to the fifth.

I was not a fan of the curved hem.  Even though it's a pretty concept, I just feel like it would make me look like I was larger.  But I loved the lace detailing in the yoke.



I notoriously hate the beach.  I'm not big on sand, or deep water, or sunburns.  I absolutely detest wearing a bathing suit no matter how cute you may think it is.  My family comes to the beach where I live (yes, I hate the beach and I live by it. I'm aware of how crazy that sounds) every year for Easter and I spend most of my time working at the table or on the front porch.

But every once in a while I trick my brain into forgetting all of this.  And forgetting all about the grading and the studying.

And sometimes, just sometimes, this becomes my idea of a perfect moment.

Happy Easter!
He is risen.  He is risen indeed.


Stash 2: The Revenge

I was a little embarrassed when, during Knit and Crochet Blog Week, I had to explain where I keep my stash.  I wasn't embarrassed due to how I was keeping my stash wrangled but because I knew it was going to change soon with the upcoming move.

Btw, to everyone who stopped by during 2KCWB, thanks for visiting!  I was blown away by the numbers and very humbled by everyone's comments on Day 5.  You guys are so sweet!

My goal right now in preparation for the move is to pack one box a day.  I have these amazing copy paper boxes that teacher friends have been grabbing for me from their school offices, often to the chagrin of everyone else who knows someone who is moving.  So far I have three boxes of books (they got so heavy I decided to stop packing books until I find an alternative solution), assorted other boxes, and two boxes of yarn.  Oh yeah, that's right.  I have enough yarn to fill two boxes and still need a large shopping bag.

I didn't realize how much stash I have.  It was a little overwhelming as all the skeins starting crawling out from their respective hideouts like blood-thirsty zombies.  The approach I decided on was to put each set into ziplock bags and then place them in the boxes (So sweater quantities would be bagged together, but like skeins of the same color were bagged individually).  Then, I actually entered each one into Ravelry so that I know what I have and how much.

I know, recording your stash on Ravelry should be a no brainer.  When I first started using Ravelry I entered everything, but over time, I just got lazy.  Actually, that's a lie.  I got embarrassed.  I was embarrassed by some of my yarn because I still have a lot of my early stash.  I have a lot more good stash now, but I still have those random skeins of acrylic or big box store yarns (though in my defense the Lion Brand Homespun was a gift from a yarn-ignorant individual).  But while I was bagging and tagging each yarn I decided to no longer be ashamed.  My stash, which I didn't even think I had, is very indicative of my journey as a knitter.  It's full of bargain-priced odds and ends from when I was trying to get my footing in the crafting world, and orbiting around this are the newer acquisitions.  I've learned a lot about what yarn is good for what projects, and I think that is very apparent in my stash.  Just some of the colors are a little odd. But I've become secure in my yarn choices.  I may still envy the beautiful stashes of self-proclaimed "yarn snobs", but as I am in a lot of life, I'm an equal opportunity knitter.  If you're an acrylic yarn, but you're soft as cashmere and sturdy as wool, I'm all for it.  If you're a wool that's rather scratchy but looks and feels sheepy, bring it on.  I'm done being ashamed of anything in my stash and hiding it away.  From now on my stash and I are going to be quite happy together.


FO: Better Red Than Dead

The past few weeks have been all about the Khrushchev era.  The Kremlin's shifting focus at this time plays a considerable role in my fourth and arguably most crucial chapter, so I have spent a lot of time recently reading 400-600 page biographies (It seems many are obsessed with writing about Khrushchev. Who knew).

Enter Mimi Hill's Simple City pattern, a nice garter stitch triangular scarf with an eye-catching ruffle, perfect for that special skein of verigated yarn for which I just couldn't seem to find the right pattern.  I bought the $4 pattern during a pattern sale that she had in which I got a deal on a bundle of patterns.  Expect to see more projects from her patterns, because I am sure that they are all as clearly written as Simple City.

The pattern itself is deceptively simple.  I seem to be gravitating towards patterns that are designed more to create something of distilled beauty than to show off a super complicated stitch pattern or technique.  This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I try to combine my knitting with reading whenever possible.  But don't be fooled.  I totally screwed up my increases somewhere in the middle.  Something to do with a stitch marker that would not stay put, and then broke, and a zillion stitches on the needles.  Fortunately the verigation appears to hide knitting that looks like it was done by a four year old on a sugar high who was just rescued from time out.

The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Knitters Without Borders.  This is that special skein that I picked up in a Ravelry destash to celebrate the end of my first semester of grad school.  I tried a couple different patterns with it, but nothing worked.  It all came out looking like what I would call Vampire Puke. Aka, not pretty.  I actually did not knit the entire scarf because I ran out of yarn, so I did fewer increase rows following the directions in the pattern and shortened the ruffle.

Hair, scarf, shirt -- All wind-blown
I have already worn this scarf twice (it's perfect for beach heat where there's enough of a breeze to be cold in 90 degree weather) and have gotten tons of compliments.  One knitter asked me if the pattern is on Ravelry, which was probably the best compliment I could have gotten.  If someone likes my version of a pattern so much that they want to knit it themselves, I have more than done my job.


Tornado Derby

In case you have not picked up on it from recent posts, in the midst of end-of-semester craziness I am getting ready to move again.  My TA contract is up in May, and so I am moving to Raleigh in about 3 weeks.  I am super excited about the move because I will be living with my best friend.  We have been talking about living together for what feels like forever and now we finally are!

Because I am moving, over the weekend I went up to Raleigh to pay the deposit on our new place and get everything set for next month.  Unfortunately the leasing office closed early the day I was there, but we left our checks and went on to find other adventure.  And boy did we ever -- we decided to go to roller derby.

The weather was kind of bad when we got there, lots of wind and the threat of rain.  We were at an indoor arena, so we were not too worried, but that's just because we don't have this one particular form of weather around here very often.  That's right.  Tornadoes.  I can only remember one time when I was really little that there was even a real threat of a tornado.  It's more foreign to my experiences than snow on the beach.  When we left for derby we heard on the radio that there was some concern in surrounding areas, but nothing serious, and nothing where we were. Right before the first bout the announcers said that though they usually use the air raid siren to start the first half, they would not be using it unless there was a severe weather concern in which case we were all to go to the tunnels under the arena.  No big deal.  This is Raleigh, NC, right?  Wrong.  

About five minutes into the first half the siren went off.  With an almost surprising amount of civility everyone filed down into the tunnels to find a spot of concrete wall to sit against.  Derby girls, volunteers, and spectators alike.  While the tornado passed to the south of us, we stayed down there for almost an hour.  So I did what I always do when I have to wait for a long time, or any length of time, really.  I took out my knitting.

And a funny thing happened.  While I was knitting I glanced around and noticed I was not alone.  In the midst of the bored, concerned crowd were other knitters.  The woman sitting next to me was working on a sweater.  A lady across the hall was knitting what appeared to be a dish towel.  It's improbable that all the knitters ended up in one place (though we were near the bathroom.  In a long wait it's always about location), so one can infer that there were at least a few other knitters around the arena, patiently knitting their concerns to maintain a level of peace in the hallway.  Sure, I have had the opening bars of Twister stuck in my head for days (our family is on some sick level obsessed with disaster movies), but the knitting seemed to do what we all know knitting can do, provide the outward appearance of patience while inwardly calming restless concerns.

It is very rare when I knit in public that I am near other knitters.  And I've never seen another knitter at the sporting events I have been to.  Maybe knitting and roller derby mix on some subcultural level.  But it was nice to see, in potential (albeit unlikely) disaster that other knitters were there to converse about fiber and stitch pattern, rather than stew in our impatience.  I guess knitters in some way always find one another.

Just know, if I had died, it would have been with the finest of Malabrigo clutched in my hands.

Oh, and we won!