So, this is a super amazing photo of the knitted jewelry I wore to get married in July.

Go, ye, and hire Cathy and David so you, too, can have professional photographers take pictures of your knitted FOs. And your cute partner, too.

Lots of people in pedagogical scholarship talk about the benefits of collaborative learning for students in traditional classrooms(see section A5 in this list). But does it hold true for knitting?

Behold!

Gunner Gloves

The gloves themselves weren’t collaborative, but the decorative accent (in this case, the Arsenal FC logo) was as collaborative as it gets.

Initially, the plan was a combination of fair-isle and intarsia knitting to make these awesome goalie gloves for a die-hard Arsenal fan. That was clearly a bad plan, but I’m a knitter and I was so focused on how to do the logo and finger tracing with knitting that I overlooked the obvious: needle felting. It took a non-knitter to tell me that needle felting was a much better choice.

He even needle-felted one of the logos himself! (C’est très adorable, a man with a needle felting tool, no?)

Needle Felting

And a close-up of the logo for good measure.

Gunner Logo Closeup

Ultimately, a time crunch got in the way of the finger tracings, but that’s probably a good thing because that would have taken a f**k-long time and I have little patience for such things anyway.

Now let’s just hope the damn things fit. Making gloves on spec for an absentee friend sans proper measurements is a scary proposition.
____________________________________________________________

Edit, March 11, 2010: The gloves fit! They fit!

(or How I Avoided Intarsia At All Costs)

There have long been links between smell and memory (a link which explains my long-standing aversion to Jaegermeister). My most recent knitting project has convinced me that my musical drive trumps smell any day when it comes to memory and recall.

To wit: I have had “Linus and Lucy” stuck in my head all week. I will likewise probably always move my hands in funny ghostly-knitting motions whenever I hear “Linus and Lucy” from now on. Because of this….

Charlie Browniest Sweater

Commissioned to appropriately clothe a still-gestating bald-headed kid, this seamless raglan baby cardigan served another purpose in my knitting repertoire: how to avoid intarsia for basic colorwork shapes. Because there was no way in hell I was going to carry multiple strands for these stripes. So I did short rows instead, using increases and decreases in the black stripe to keep the fabric basically flat.

Charlie Browniest Closeup

There’s still a little bit of puckering going on. If I were to do this again (and I might in colors that don’t evoke Charlie Brown in quite so dramatic a way), I’d probably increase one extra stitch on either side of the increase and decrease lines within the black stripe.

Still, it’s awfully cute. And jazzy.

The knitting has, in chemgrrl’s words, been of the ovary-exploding type. One of my bestestest friends in the whole wide world gifted us with a new variety of baby: the kind I like.

To celebrate, Baby K, Ma L and Pa G got these:

Baby Booties

Look, ma, NO PINK!

Of course, these tiny little booties (and an accompanying pair which I did not photograph) do not 3 months of knitting make…. No, indeed. There has also been knitting of other kinds. Which I can’t share. Yet. Instead, I offer up the second-best home-brew dye job in the world!

Dye Job

Urban camouflage. Invisible or not? You decide.

Really, “second best” is something worth saying with pride. Maybe third- or fourth- best, even, given the company at the TBKGE’s Second Annual Dyeing Party. Allbuttonedup has the best. Srsly. Haven’t seen photos yet, but I can guarantee that it was spectacular in person, and there were several other very pretty fibery things including a cotton-candy spectactular that Sara did (though the fleece on which the cotton-candy was unleashed unfortunately felted in the process).

Who is apparently not so random after all.

When last we checked in with our intrepid knitter–that would be me–she was…. Wait, hang on, I can’t talk about myself in the third person. I am not Bob Dole, nor am I Kanye, so, let’s reboot this post.

When last I presented a work-in-progress on this blog, I was trying to randomize one part of my life–the socks–in order to derandomize some other parts (schoolwork, etc., with the “etc.” part being the parts that I don’t talk about much but think about quite a bit). The Randomized Socks are clearly now complete.

Randomized Socks

Random! (or not.)

Of course, the Randomized Socks are red, and therefore nigh-on impossible to actually photograph with any degree of accuracy, especially with my little Canon. (I opted not to pull out the big giant Canon because it’s heavy and kinda hard to aim at my feet while staying still enough to get a non-fuzzy photo.) Thus, even the photo of the socks is a little random, at best.

Nevertheless, these socks are not random enough. I put them on and they look as though they’re the most planned cables in the world. Which is the problem I had with them initially, but I thought we’d gotten past that (we being “me and my many personalities, one of which is a multiple personality”). Clearly not.

So, the question is: did the under-randomization of the socks result in an over-randomization of the other stuff?

Decidedly, yes.

But in a good way.

That’ll teach me to question entropy.

In high school, my physics teacher called it thermoGoddammits, not thermodynamics. And for good reason, because any isolated system will tend to become more disorderly over time, even with intervention. And if constant vigilance doesn’t have an effect, well, then that seems to me like a perfectly good reason to swear.

Swearing also takes work. Effort. Involvement. And I have enough work-effort-involvement elsewhere in life right now, what with conferences, teaching, writing, researching and begging for cash to fund the aforementioned conferences, teaching, writing and researching. It takes lots of work–and swearing–to keep the isolated system I like to call “My Life” from spiraling completely into chaos, so I thought I’d try something different.

I thought perhaps if I let entropy do its work on one part of the isolated system, as embodied by my current pair of WIP socks, I might be able to keep the rest of the system under control.

Randomly Ribbed Sock Toes

Random! Disordered! Unplanned cables! Whee!

This has turned out to be harder than I expected. Either I’m not random enough, or it really does take planned effort to make something look effortless. I’m not sure how to interpret this turn of events. If it takes effort to make something *look* as though it’s descending into an unplanned spiral of madly placed cables, does that mean I can just leave well enough alone in the rest of the “My Life” system and things will fall neatly and nicely into place?

If so, the stupid second law of thermoGoddammits has it all wrong.

Dear other person in the dorm cafeteria:

I am very sorry I stared fixedly at your back for 10 minutes. I was reverse-engineering your sweater, not engaging in some sort of odd lovelorn behavior.

Or perhaps, on second thought, I do have an unrequited crush on your knitwear.

Either way, I’m not creepy. Really. I promise.

xoxo,
hapagirl

After months–months, I tell you!–of hemming and hawing over what I would do with the fabulous, beautiful skein of hand-dyed merino/bamboo Celebration (from Briar Rose Fibers), which I bought at the Greencastle Fiber Event in early April, I have at long last cast on for a project. At least a project that I didn’t immediately rip back.

The good news is that this project suits the yarn (and my available yardage) exceptionally well.

The bad news? Well, the bad news is that I swore I’d never knit this pattern again. Why, you ask? Because I’ve knit it 6 times already, and so has every other damn knitter on the planet.

You’ve all seen Clapotis a hundred million times (because you already have one you wear regularly around your neck, right?), so I focused on the yarn instead of the pattern.

Clapotis Closeup

The shift in focus away from an overview of the pattern also let me play with the settings on my camera, which I’ve been futzing with for the last few weeks in order to figure out what its limitations really are. (Yes, yes, I should have done this before, but my natural instinct to rebel against everything my parents–all three of them–love led me to avoid anything that resembled an interest in photography.)

Clapotis Closeup 2

The only difference between these two shots–I didn’t even move the camera–is a toggle between the camera’s auto-focus on standard macro and the camera’s “Digital Macro” setting. In any case, it’s clear that “focal length” is the key phrase here. Very interesting. Instructive, even.

But I still probably need a new camera, because it frustrates me that I couldn’t control the focal length effectively. (There, I said it. I’m becoming my mother, my father and my stepmother, and all in one single evening of innocent photography. I’m doomed.)

This is the story of a hat. A very bad hat. In fact, it might very well be the horror-knitting-story hat-oriented version of that new movie that’s coming out about the teenage girl being haunted by the ghost of her unborn twin brother.

The first version of this hat, now frogged, has come back to haunt the second, third, and now fourth versions of the hat, and the spectre of the First-Hat Haunting will likely continue to hover over all future versions of any hat made with this yarn. Before I present the most flattering of the hat photos (I couldn’t bring myself to post anything less flattering because I look like a misplaced RennFayre court jester mistakenly cast out into the modern world), let me unfold the horror in its full glory before you…..

It began with a slouchy-hat wish spurred on by all of the slouchy-hat goodness going on around me. The problems were compounded by a recently finished scarf in Alchemy’s Lux, a mistake-rib keyhole scarf that is truly a thing of beauty. I wanted mistake-rib-matching slouchy-hat goodness and bulky gauge in the same hat, which led me to Ysolda’s Urchin, a sideways-knit garter stitch hat that was both bulky in gauge and interesting in technique. Good for all of us, right?

Wrong.

The garter stitch was just not the right stitch pattern for the yarn, which is cabled and drew together and create a too-stiff fabric. So, I reasoned, why not knit a stockinette stitch version sideways to solve the compact-fabric problem? Sadly, reason had very little to do with that version of the hat because the band was too loose. Reason also had little to do with version 3, in which I tried a stockinette crown with a knit-on in-the-round brim in mistake rib (to match the scarf). Better, but still unwearable, because picking up stitches in a gauge this bulky just. Did. Not. Work.

Which leads us to Hat #4, a stockinette crown with garter stitch brim, still knit sideways because at that point, I was stubbornly wed to the technique and determined to make it work (thank you, Tim Gunn).

This time, things were promising, except for the odd pointy bit at the short row, which I figured would work itself out in blocking. Given my past blocking experience with this yarn, I had hope. Even after 3 failed hats, I still had hope.

Little did I know that this truly was the denoument of a horror movie, in which our heroine turns around thinking her nemesis is dead only to be attacked one last time before she finally slays the evil incarnate in a gruesome and very permanent way.

Evil incarnate, indeed.

Horns of the Beats

I have horns. Actual horns. Consider briefly that this is the only photo that didn’t make it look as though I’d put on the Statue of Liberty’s crown before donning the hat, and I still have horns.

On the other hand, perhaps this qualifies me to direct the next I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel.

It has been so long since I did anything other than Judy’s Magic Cast-On that I actually goofed in a serious and vital way when I went to cast on for a scarf tonight.

Guess I need to go to remedial knitting school. Think there are night classes for that sort of thing?

Hope you all had a lovely winter holiday (of whatever persuasion) and are prepped for an equally lovely entreé into the 2009 New Year. Pictures of the holiday fog and the new scarf tomorrow. I promise.