What's Your Beach Contest

We survived another Knit and Crochet Blog Week!  I love the challenge of seven straight days of blogging, but I had a harder time than usual because I actually was not home for several days, so I had to write many of them in advance.  But now that we are back to business as usual I have a surprise for you.  Last week I was contacted by the designer of my current favorite hat pattern.  Mel Ski, the host of Singlehanded Knits, has graciously offered a free copy of Drizzle for readers of Faithfully Geeky!

I blogged about how much I love this pattern a few weeks ago.  I wound yarn for it and cast on instantly once I saw the pictures of Mel hanging out on her beach.  All I wanted was to knit up my version and wear it on my beach over Easter weekend.  And now you could wear it on your beach.  In the comments, let me know what is your "beach".  It does not have to be an actual beach, but where do you go to escape and get peace of mind?  Let me know.  I will keep the drawing open for two weeks until May 12, and then draw via random number generator.  I hope you are as excited as I am!


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 7: Looking Forward (4KCBWDAY7)

One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

Last year when we were asked what new challenges we wanted to conquer in our knitting I said colorwork.  It was the next major hurdle I had to tackle and the idea of knitting more complicated items in a rainbow of colors was very appealing.  I did not think I would actually do it, but I thought why not shoot for the moon?
I used this sweater as an example, and then I ended up knitting it, much to my excitement and enthusiasm.

I must have started this post five times, trying to decide what I want to take on before next year. Do I want to master a certain skill? Tackle a certain project? Work with a different fiber or color? Honestly, I have no idea. I love to just go with whatever inspiration hits me.  Who knows what I'll try next. You can guarantee that it will have color!

*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes. To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY7 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 6: A Tool To Covet (4KCBWDAY6)

"Write about your favorite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc.) tool."
I am not a big tool collector, probably due to the organic nature by which I became a knitter.  I am completely self-taught.  I learned how to knit out of a sold at a gift shop I managed back in college and I usually learn new techniques based on the pattern I am currently knitting.  So it took a while for me to realize that you can have more than just sticks and string and that sometimes these extras help you to be a more effective knitter.
November of 2010 my family came to me for Thanksgiving because my comprehensive examination was the following week.  On Thanksgiving Day I wanted to start a new project, so I brought the yarn with me to wind up.  After watching me struggle for a while to wind the yarn with my knees my dad took pity on me and offered to hold the yarn for me (his mother was a knitter and had taught him how).   My poor father spent the entire football game holding the yarn for me while I hand wound it into a ball.
Fast forward a month and I am home for Christmas.  Our family traditionally does assorted smaller gifts and then one large gift at the end.  My dad hands me a box, the look on his face so excited, he just can't wait for me to open it.  Inside was a swift!

Turns out that my darling father vowed never to help me handwind a skein of yarn again and had specifically picked out this gift from Knit Picks.  In their own way, buying me a real "knitting tool" was my family's signal to me that they had accepted that knitting was now a part of my life and not a passing hobby.
Over the past two years I have gotten a ton of mileage out of this swift.  It has sat proudly on tables and bookcases in every apartment, and I have knit 86 projects since receiving it, most using yarn it has wound and some using multiple skeins.  Some could argue that my ballwinder is more useful.  I find it impossible to use a ballwinder without a swift, but I can quite happily hand wind off of the swift.  It's getting a little tight and squeaky, so I have started to look at others.  Maybe I'll ask for an upgrade for Christmas.
*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY6 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 5: And Now For Something Different (4KCBWDAY5)

Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2013 Day 5 from Faith tVS on Vimeo.

Helpful Links:

Roam Cowl by Jennifer Dassau
Perpetua Shawl by Romi Hill
Unwind Yarn Company
Entangled Vines by Alana Dakos

*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To find the rest of the posts, type today's tage 4KCBWDAY5 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 4: Color Review (4KCBWDAY4)

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.
I love color.  I've tried to be one of those people who has a basic wardrobe that they just accent or who decorates their home in a specific color scheme, but it never works out.  I'm never happier than when I am surrounded by all different colors.  The same applies to my knitting.  As I thought about today's prompt I tried to decide what color I favor more than any other, and I came up with nothing.  I like to knit in variegated yarns, reserving solids and tonals for garment knitting.  Even then I tend to try for variety, looking to knit a different color every time.
A glance over my Ravelry project page shows similar results.  In 2012 I seemed to favor greys, blues, and some browns.  This year I seem to be leaning towards orange and pinks.  I know that when I go to buy yarn I try to think of what kind of project this yarn could make.  Then I try to determine what colors I already have to see if I can fill any holes.  This is how I ended up with bright purple for a sweater and brown for a pair of socks.  For me it is all in what strikes my fancy and that I cannot find already in my wardrobe.
At the same time, the fact that I tend away from solids means that I have a lot of variety in my knitting.  I have a pair of socks on the needles that are neon green, hot pink, and black.  At the same time I have soft grey lace weight waiting to become a light cardigan.  All of this fits in with the House of Bees.  We bees love variety.  It allows us to keep finding new interesting things in the projects we already have on the needles.  If our knitting was all about one color, it would be a lot harder to stay focused on the same series of knits rather than constantly looking for something new.
*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY4 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 3: Infographic (4KCBWDAY3)


There are many ways of conveying information on a blog; text and images being the two most widely used. Many infographics combine both these elements to provide a visual way of presenting text information.

Make your own infogaphic (no fancy imaging software needed, you can draw it on paper and photograph it if you want) to convey any element of your craft(s).
*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY3 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 2: A Mascot Project (4KCBWDAY2)

"Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal."
As we established yesterday, I am a proud card-carrying member of the House of Bees.  I love knitting many projects, the brighter and more exciting the better.  I believe the word "flit" was bandied about? 
Knitting for me can often be a compulsive thing.  My fantasy knitting often gets the better of me.  I'll come up with an idea and then end up on a tear, determined to bring that idea into fruition despite a lack of adequate yarn or practicality.  Most recently this was evident when I knit Drizzle.  No matter the fact that I had other projects on the needles that absolutely had to be completed, I insisted on knitting this hat and finishing it in time to wear at the beach.
This most recently struck again as I began to work on a wedding gift for my cousin and go dress shopping for myself.  My cousin's favorite color is orange, so I am knitting her an orange shawl as a gift.  Her wedding will be outdoors in the middle of summer, and the dress I found is a halter top in a great shade of green.  Suddenly I was seized by the notion that I needed to make myself a fraternal shawl.  There was no way I could spend the entire wedding and reception with bare shoulders.  I just absolutely needed to make a shawl.  Mine would be variegated but still have some orange in it as a nod to the bride's preferences.  Never mind that I did not have any such yarn and have several shawls already queued up for myself.  This was it.

Fortunately this inspiration happened just before I headed down to stitches and so I picked up a gorgeous skein of Sweet Georgia at Eat Sleep Knit.  Never mind that my dress had not even arrived in the mail yet (I think another characteristic of Bees is that we love instant gratification, which is much better found in online shopping than in dragging oneself out to the store to try on things and become discouraged)  As I browsed shawl patterns, I kept returning to the Triptych Shawl by Liz Abinante.  "It has beads.  I've never knit with beads.  Beads are shiny."  And with that bit of logic the idea took root and no lack of beads or broken ballwinder will stop me from casting on for this pattern very soon (Though we all know I will get distracted, procrastinate, and find myself desperately trying to finish at the eleventh hour).

*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY2 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 1: The House Cup (4KCBWDAY1)

"Post about your crafting outlook/style and why you chose this house"

The sorting cap has dictated in it's great knitted wisdom that for the duration of Knit and Crochet Blog Week I belong to the House of Bees.  Bees, this illustrious cap told me, are "busy and industrious" mental nod "but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest."  Flit?  The wondrous cap thinks that I flit?  Glances at the basket of WIPs in the corner  Ok, maybe I do flit a bit.

I cannot stand the thought of only having one project on the needles.  What if something happens?  What if I break a needle?  Or get confused by the chart?  Or just want to come home and crash and knit a stockinette sweater in front of the tv?  Once I figured out that there was no greater knitting power who would punish me for indulging in too much knitting, I left project monogamy and never looked back.  I love to surround myself with things that make me happy, and nothing makes me happier than beautiful colors that I can experience in a tactile way.

My general knitting style is to have one of everything on the needles -- one sweater, one hat, one sock, one shawl, etc.  Plus, I try to have projects of differing difficulty.  For example, I actually have two pairs of socks on the needles, but one of them is a charted pattern and one can be knit while at the movies.  I may have one sweater only half baked on the needles, but I am already swatching for the next project and winding yarn for a third.  If only you could experience my knitting fantasy life.  I have knit so many more projects in my imagination than I have in physical reality, and  I'm sure many members of the House of Bees would agree that this is a key way in which we connect with our house.

*Knit and Crochet Blog Week is an annual event hosted by Eskimimi Makes.  To find the rest of the posts, type today's tag 4KCBWDAY1 into Google or your preferred search engine.


Geektastic Thursday: Stitches South

This post should really be called "A Weekend in Atlanta", because I did a lot more than just go to Stitches, but I don't know how much of my shenanigans you really want to hear about, so I'll stick to the yarnie variety.  I went to Atlanta to visit two of my good friends from grad school, Taryn and Erica, who I had not seen since my wedding, which I firmly believe should not really count.  So I saved up my days off and scored a four day weekend that just so happened to be the same weekend as Stitches South.  Taryn may not be a knitter (yet), but Erica is and so we set about a plan to hit up the convention center on Friday afternoon, when the stock would be relatively full but the crowd slightly less.

This is one of those times when I lament how few photos I took.  To be honest, a lot of booths had signage asking that you not take pictures of their wares and setup, but really we were just having so much fun I couldn't be bothered to remember.

Twin squishings of Cephalopod and Buffalo Gold
The only other shows I have to compare this to are the Carolina Fiber Fest, which I have missed the past two years, and SAFF.  To be honest I was expecting a lot more out of Stitches.  Don't get me wrong, there was a ton of stuff and the majority of vendors were awesome, but the number of booths was quite small in comparison to SAFF.  I don't know if this is because the show is confined to one building or if the inclusion of animals at SAFF made this one seem lacking, but there was quite a lot of variety without as much quantity as I expected.

For me a few highlights of the show included seeing a full booth of Dragonfly Fibers, holding a $250 skein from Buffalo Gold, being told the dyers at Cephalopod Yarns call the colorway I bought "Dexter" among themselves, watching a woman knit an afghan with giant needles, and getting to actually choose patterns from the selection at Erin.Lane.

I did get Lindsey of Erin.Lane to let me take a photo of Hank.  He speaks for the knitting things.
As I do most times I have some free yarn money, I wanted to buy from indie dyers, who for the most part were super friendly and enthusiastic about their wares.  I did find myself disappointed in some booths that I had been excited to look at because they brought almost exclusively fiber, rather than yarn.  I get that you need to cater to spinners, but it made me sad that some of the more local dyers made their selection so specialized that I was unable to support them.  But then I walked into the Miss Babs booth, lost my head, and had to give Taryn my credit card before I went back for more.

Sometimes squishing yarn is the only way to survive really bad really slow traffic
Overall, Stitches was a lot of fun.  I definitely only needed an afternoon to shop the market, but I'm sure if I took classes the experience would be a little different.

Oh.  And what trip to Atlanta would be complete without a trip to Eat. Sleep. Knit?  If you think that their selection is wonderful online, you should see it in person.  How I walked out with only one skein of Sweet Georgia I'll never know.


Heel Turn Hubris

I'm back!  Actually, I got back Monday night, but I was exhausted from having too much fun, so I took a little extra time.  Stitches South was so much fun, and I promise to get into all of that tomorrow, but today is WIP Wednesday, so I need to share some actual progress with you.

When last you saw the Prissy Sock it was just a cuff.  I took this and my secret knitting with me to Atlanta and actually got quite a bit of knitting time.  I am knitting the Vanilla Latte Socks with a three by one ribbing and a garter eye-of-partridge heel.  I am particularly proud of the heel, which I managed without breaking the striping pattern.  I was sitting on my friend Taryn's couch, dodging the kitty and watching bad horror movies (Night of the Lepus anyone?) when I was struck by inspiration.  Because the pink stripe is the same width as the white and brown section and the white comes on either side, what if I stopped the stripe in the middle.  That way, no matter what I ended up with on the other side it would theoretically match up.  I am not sure if this would work on any other striping sequence, but I am pretty excited about its prospects for these socks.  So excited, in fact, that I want to get back to knitting this one before I head to work.

For more WIPs, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


FO: Sugar Bear Cocoon

By the time you read this I should be on the road.  Right after I write this post I am heading to bed and setting my alarm for whatever time will result in pulling out of our parking lot by 530 am.  I don't anticipate any problem getting myself up.  In fact, if I sleep at all it will be a miracle.  Because I am going to Atlanta for a girl's weekend that involves yarn shops and Stitches South! (yes, you should read that with rising, squealing inflection)  The plan is to be there on Friday and then hit Eat, Sleep, Knit later in the weekend.  So if you happen to  be at any of those places and see me stumbling about in a daze, say hi!  This is my first Stitches and I just can't wait.

But before I dash off to yarnie fun times, I wanted to share this with you.

The Sugar Bear Cocoon knit out of an acrylic nylon blend that I got at Joann's with a coupon.  I know, this baby is totally worthy of more expensive knitwear, and she will get it, but I want her momma to have no qualms about popping this in the washer after a disastrous diaper incident (Just saying.  I work around kids.  It happens).

I am really pleased with how this knit up.  The yarn did what I needed, and is super soft.  The pattern makes complete sense, like all of Kate Oats' patterns, and resulted in a finished object I was proud to give to a woman who made my life much easier as both a coworker and a friend.  She and her husband are both historians by trade and so I thought this button was the perfect finishing touch.

One of my few remaining Soviet military buttons, given to me by the niece of a collector.  My friend and her husband joke that if their daughter is born on May 1 they will just have to name her Trotsky, so this little button will remind them of that inside joke long after she has outgrown the blanket itself.

And now I'm off!  For more FOs, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


Geektastic Thursday -- Jurassic Park

I try not to mention this because I like to maintain the illusion of real time here, but I write a lot of my blog posts the night before they go live.  I bring this up because it is essential that you keep this in mind when I tell you about the movie I saw last night (tonight) -- Jurassic Park 3D.

I don't remember when I actually saw this movie for the first time.  I was four when it was released in theaters, so I do not have the vivid memory of seeing it in theaters.  But I grew up loving the movie and sharing every child's fear and admiration for velociraptors.  When I was in high school I had a period of obsession with Michael Crichton novels, reading them all, which made me love the film even more.  But no amount of childhood obsession could prepare me for the experience of watching it in IMAX 3D.  I know, I sound like an advertisement, but it really was that intense.  It has been an hour since our show let out and I am still trying to get my vision to settle and my body to relax.  Part of that has to do with my physical experience with IMAX.  I am prone to vertigo and my eyes like to fight with the 3D glasses.  But a lot of that has to do with the film itself.  I had forgotten how tight a frame Spielberg uses in many of the shots.  And even though it was not filmed for 3D and the conversion did not take well in some spots, the whole film really is in your face.  It makes for much more startling reveals and the audience actually screamed at some points, even though they knew that the velociraptor was going to jump out of those cables.

And lets talk about the sound!  I worked at the IMAX, so I know how much they turn the volume down from the system's capabilities and yet it is still almost overwhelmingly loud.  At one point I was fighting with a little bit of motion sickness (not that uncommon for such a large screen) and then the t-rex came on the screen.  If it was not for the fact that I would have been mocked at work for the rest of time, I would have walked out.  Again, not a fault of the film or the conversion.  The original film is just so well made for what it is that the added volume, size, and dimension take it from fun adventure movie to just below horror film in the level of suspense.  There have been a lot of people talking about taking their children because it is a dinosaur movie that is so beloved by so many.  However, on the basis of sound alone, I would not recommend taking any child under at least five.  It is that wonderfully intense.

Oh, and that sock I was going to work on?  Didn't happen.  I put it down to keep from stabbing myself so often that I only knit one stripe.

It was totally worth the money.  I love this movie and the conversion just elevated the experience.  My husband had never seen it, so it was a lot of fun to watch him out of the corner of my eye, while trying to keep my anticipation under wraps so that he would not know what was coming.  An excellent choice for a date night.


Secret Progress

Somehow I find myself working furiously on knitting that I cannot actually show to you.  It's a gift, and it's a secret, and even though I am under the impression that the recipient does not read this blog, on the off chance they happen to read this post and happen to see that there is a certain item in a certain color I just know that they will figure it out.

So instead I offer you a really lame photo of a really bland project.

I got some rather good news at work, so in celebration I bought this skein of Lollipop Yarn from a Ravelry destash.  Prissy is a three color stripe that changes up the amount of rows in each stripe and has more stripes of one color than the others.  And if that sounds vague that is because I don't quite know how it is going to work out.

You can see a very clear break down listed here, but it is all gauge specific and I am already seeing my rows get a little off from the card.  I'm not sure how this will work up on my sock because I am not very far, but I promise to keep you posted as I am sure you are riveted by the sight of a tiny striped sock cuff.  There will be more after I see Jurassic Park tonight and hopefully my weekend on holiday with give me more time for knitting.  If only you could see what I am actually working on.

For actual WIPs and real progress, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis.  I'm sure they have actual stuff to show to you.


Finding Some Order

Thank you all for your kind words and sympathies regarding Chris' illness last week.  He is doing much better with only occasional cough.  The doctor had told  us his eardrum was already healing when we went to urgent care, so now that he's a week out and done with the antibiotics he should be fine.

Last week was spring break for the local public schools, so work was non-stop crazy every day.  Several days I came home, sat down, and then realized I had sat staring into space for half an hour.  I really started to feel a need for calm and order to offset the chaos and noise of my day.  Normally I would find that in knitting, but even that was too fidgity for me this week, so I turned to a method proven successful by generations -- spring cleaning.

I'm doing this at a leisurely pace.  Tackling one or two projects a day rather than trying to overhaul and clean out our space all at once.  Project number one?  The stash.

I keep my stash theoretically in a cabinet I inherited from my grandparents.  It has three shelves and is deep enough for a skein to lie lengthwise rather than on its side.  In the past few years my stash accumulation has increased to the point that it was no longer fitting in the cabinet.  The area around it in our bedroom has been taken over by excess skeins in boxes and tote bags, piled precariously so that when I went to get something it would all fall out onto my head.  So on Friday I emptied the cabinet, bagged up all the skeins in boxes, and organized everything by weight.  I also took photos for Ravelry, but I have yet to upload them.  Then I pulled out a few skeins and leftovers that I will never use and put them aside to donate at work.  Finally I started to pile it all back into the cabinet.

And it fit!  The door closed and everything and there are no more piles of leftovers and unfrogged projects sitting on the top.

I still have a lot more to do around the apartment, but just having that one bit of organization in the corner made me feel so much better.  And it is good to revisit what I have because on Friday I will be adding some new items -- from Stitches South!


FO: Drizzle

No Vampire Diaries again last night.  Which is good because all of the traditional calendar schools here are on Spring Break and it is cold again, making work excruciating.  Last night I did not even make it to my zumba class.  I just sat on the couch, stared at the baby cocoon, and got caught up on Doctor Who.  But never fear!  I do have knitting to talk about!

Last week Mel of Single Handed Knits released a new podcast and a brand new hat pattern -- Drizzle.  As soon as I saw pictures I just knew that I had to knit it.  There was just no question.  On Monday night I bought the pattern and wound the yarn.  Wednesday I cast on for GI Joe, and Friday I went to several very long meetings, the result of which was a finished hat Friday night that I could wear over the weekend.

This might all sound a bit silly, but this obsession started because I realized I would be going to the beach over Easter.  Mel lives in Hawaii and her podcast and photos often include beautiful ocean vistas.  For some crazy reason I felt I just HAD to take these pictures at the beach.  It didn't help that I was knitting with 716knit Boss in the Undead American colorway (a really lovely yarn), which really does look like the Atlantic on a crisp spring day.

In case you could not tell, I'm very fond of this hat already.  I had my sister help model for some photos and I must have told her twenty times that she could not keep it.  The pattern is simple enough for movie knitting, but involved enough to make the cost of the pattern totally worth it.  I knit mine in the smallest size, but I am thinking I should grow my hair out again, just to have enough to fit the large size.

For more FOs, check out the gang at Tami's Amis!


Deadline Failure

I have a confession to make.  The baby shower is today and I have not finished the cocoon.  I know!  I'm a horrible procrastinating knitter.  But I totally would have finished on time were it not for extenuating circumstances.  No, seriously.  They were extreme.

The black hole of texture patterning, folded in half

On Saturday night we drove down to the beach to hang out with my family for Easter.  I knit for as long as there was daylight.  I knit all day on Sunday and was well on my way Monday morning.  I was planning to knit during the morning, knit the entire drive home, and then knit like crazy Monday night.  Next thing I know my husband is having vertigo in the kitchen and I am calling urgent care trying to find out who can see him to find out why he is nauseous from blowing his nose.  Turns out he slightly perforated his eardrum, which is not as serious as it sounds, but caused some serious inner ear balance issues.  Because of this we ended up spending the entire day at the beach so that he could rest and I could get his prescription and everything set up, which was all good but meant that I lost an entire day of knitting.  I did get to Target and bought some lovely gifts for the shower, so the day was not a total loss.

I know what you are thinking.  Why not knit on Tuesday?  You could just stay up all night and get that puppy finished.  Well, you see, I was a little preoccupied with another coworker.

How could I turn down the bride with 150 tea lights she needed put in jars?  I couldn't.  So instead of knitting I spent my evening folding programs and making gift bags.  Which is how I ended up here.  Headed to work with no finished gift in hand, but still exhausted because I stayed up far too late to bake two batches of blackberry macaroons as a consolation gift for the shower (adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Raspberry Coconut Macaroons).  I'm hoping that purple cookies can cover a multitude of sins, even if all my attempts to photograph them turned out unappetizing.

So no progress here, but I bet if you head on over to Tami's Amis you will find much happier results.