March 31, 2011

blocking 101

here's how to do it.

you take the scarf, shirt, whatever, and dump it into your bathroom sink. no, wait, draw some warm water first and then dump it in. you don't want that baby felting. don't worry if there are toothpaste stains or other smears in the sink, as it's probably not enough to ruin the fabric anyway. let it soak for a good 15-20 minutes, kneading it firmly every now and then to remove any air bubbles. muscle relaxants will help time go faster.

at this point you'll notice that you forgot to thread the edges. you may also know that it's difficult to thread wet fabric, or if you don't know, you will soon enough. so take the piece out, dry it using your preferred method and thread the edges you want to keep straight. then soak the piece again.

once the piece is completely soaked, take it out and roll it inside a towel to squeeze out excess water. stomp on it to a couple of times - keep your socks on while doing so as they will help absorb more water. lay another towel on the floor and spread the piece on it. pull the threads tight and start pinning down the edges. make sure to jam the pins deep into the flooring underneath, as this will make the hold more secure. some people use a ruler or a tape measurer to keep the proportions even. i trust my eyes more than some piece of plastic, but this of course is up to your discretion.

if you took the relaxants, you will start feeling a bit drowsy right now. don't worry. that's part of the fun.

March 28, 2011

b-day & hat resurrected

greetings from planet birthday. it's a pretty sweet place, where everyone likes you and wants to give you cool things for no reason at all except for being born on some random day. and you gladly accept this lavish attention with pink buttercream smears in one hand and a spongebob balloon in the other. but the price, of course, is that the next morning you realize you're now twenty-schmumble which is exactly four wrinkles and a lady moustache away from oh-god-let's-not-go-there. how fleeting life is, you ponder, and drown your worries in leftover cake.

cupcakes work too

well, getting old can't be all bad if you have the right kind of friends to get old with. the kind that knows you well enough. the kind that gives you stuff like this.

it's a tea strainer, believe it or not.

speaking of dying, i recently found the smoldering remains of a certain hat accident from last winter and decided to try and resurrect them. fairly brave of me, since all attempts last time ended in nothing short of bloodshed. meaning the hat looked less like a hat and more like a condom with vertical ribs. this time it only took four cycles of knitting and frogging to get it right, but who's counting. it looks like a simple pattern, which it is, but fitting it was a nightmare. hats for me always are. because of my giant trapezoid head.

size kinda loose
novita jussi (under 100g/4mm)

it's kind of amazing actually how persistent i was with this piece. i'm not saying there weren't any ohmybloodygodandfuck moments, because that would be a dirty dirty lie. but sometimes the amount of tenacity hidden under my onion layers scares me.

i'm also working on a very special surprise project that again concerns lace, since i'm now the bona fide master of intricate knitwork. more information on that next week. for now let's just say my mental capacity is growing by the minute.

March 22, 2011

another problem solved

living alone and having a less-than-impressive social life means having to negotiate several tricky obstacles that arise when attempting to perform functions that, for optimum results, require two people. and i'm not just talking about sex.

although TV's a good replacement for that too

March 21, 2011

epic non-fail

so i didn't die. apparently i'm more resilient than i thought. but all the squinting at the pattern did make my brain go ouch. even though this was a rehearse project the end result is pretty sweet. the yarn works well in terms of color and material, so not too shabby a choice for something that was supposed to be a textbook case of "epic fail".

size 175 x 15 cm
colinette jitterbug (just under 100g/4mm)

i spent the entire sunday finishing and blocking the scarf while drinking tea and listening to dan bejar and metallica (metallica? yes, metallica) which caused my idyll-o-meter to go red so today i've mostly scratched my proverbial balls and spit on people walking under my balcony. the universe is again balanced.

seriously, it really is nice to do things you consider nice. another pearl of my wisdom right there.

i probably need to re-block the scarf at some point soon, because it seems to have shrunk back a little. but i guess it's going to shrink horizontally anyway since i wear it kind of scrunched around my neck.

by the way, i dare you all to try and find rust-proof T-pins in a town that somehow still thinks regular pins are perfectly functional for all household chores from hanging posters to popping zits. i finally spotted them at a local model store but caused the guy at the counter to have an aneurysm when i kept asking him if they were stainless steel. "why's that important, how long were you planning to immerse them in water?" well thanks for not being a dick about it.

anyway, lace virginity lost. high five. where are mah smokes?

more pics after the jump.

March 19, 2011

look mom, no hands!

is this me making this perfectly awesome 31x16 stitch pattern? or some holographic projection of me? am i dead yet? why's that monkey wearing a tube top?

looks like lace is not entirely as cryptic and cringe-worthy as i led you to believe. i did take some precautions (sedatives, mainly) before color-coding the pattern and dividing it into blocks of 4 stitches. four stitches i can manage. try five and my face will explode.

March 16, 2011

to boldly go..

so what happens when someone with a negative attention span and zero ability to follow instructions tries to knit lace?

despite my 20 years of knitting experience i’ve intentionally kept myself away from projects which, without any exaggeration, can drive me to jump off a cliff while shoving a stake into my brain AND inflating my lifevest before the stewardess says it’s ok. let’s just call it pre-emptive self-defense.

then my friend asked me to make her a super fancy lace scarf for her sister’s wedding. and bought some super fancy (and super expensive) silk yarn that’s just too fancy to be destroyed in a frustrated moment’s rage, which will come at some point, believe me. so i need practice before the real thing. i don’t like practice. i don’t like asparagus either. but sometimes you just need to eat the effing asparagus because your stupid mother-in-law is sitting right there and saying no would cause your entire social universe to collapse.

so i hereby declare my intention to expand my affairs to uncharted lace territory. if i die before summer it’s because of lace.

and i want a viking funeral.

pictured: collateral damage

excessively displeased avifauna

..or, as the colloquial translation goes, angry f-ing birds.

ok. so it turns out geeks love toys.

recognizing opportunity where i saw one, i tapped into the infinite demand of crocheted novelty items by making a red bird for my brother, who’s an engineer and plays with his iphone almost as much as he plays with himself. then he showed the thing (bird, that is) to all his engineer friends. and soon my email was completely swarmed with mails from 30-something engineers asking to make them one too. all i need to do now is get a bunch of robots to amplify the production rate around 2000 % and pretty soon i can retire to an island somewhere and inject myself with liquid money.

improvised pattern
made with all kinds of scrap yarn and a whole lot of felt, paper and glue

i never thought my crocheting would be considered cool. take that, age-old preconceptions about handicraft being lame and embarrassing! i’m the ruler of this block now.

i’m pretty stoked too how they turned out. my birds kick ass. the piggy especially. it stares right into your soul.

close-up pics of each bird after the jump.

plain, simple & pretty

this one took forever to make, but it had less to do with me being slow or mentally defective and more with a grade A flu mixed with bronchitis and debilitating back pain. or so i keep telling myself.

size modified small
grignasco flavia baby (350g/2,5mm)

most sweaters i've made have ended up as moth food because a) i'm too lazy to read the pattern properly or, b) i'm alert enough to read the pattern but am still too lazy to make any gauge/size/yarn modifications. so when i try them on they fit like shit (whoa, that rhymes) so i kind of break down and start punching people, but because i live alone there's no one to punch so i punch myself, repeatedly, and a week later my mom sees me and asks what the hell happened, and i tell her i tried to make a sweater, and she says "oh ok". she knows how i roll.

but this one, man.. this one.. i love it. i love the yarn and the fit and the collar and the buttons and i'm just gonna go now and make sweet love to this sweater so move away, people.

more pics after the jump.

them hootin' owls

i finally jumped on the bandwagon and made my own owl sweater. 97 % of knitters out there have already done it anyway so who am i to retain originality?

size 36" to get 30"
rowan purelife british sheep breeds (400g, 6mm)

i do think the pattern is pretty inventive, in that the cable part in itself takes care of the yoke decreases. and although the cable design is far from original as such, adding buttons really does make a difference. look at their sly little eyes. i'm kind of scared actually.