Rules for Feeding the Stash

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Epidemic: The Backstory

The concept for Epidemic was born a couple months ago, after Anemone got news that she would be able to work in her field this summer.  (Fun Fact: her field is epidemiology, and since the vest was designed for her, it also got named for her new job!)  I knew that she loved sweater vests, so I asked her if I could make one for her, and she not only accepted, but she gave me free reign over the entire design.

(My sister does not usually display such faith in me.  I think that the idea of free knitting that was not for her birthday or Xmas went to her head and made her throw caution to the wind.)

I've been intrigued by the idea of framing waist shaping with cables for an hourglass effect for several months, so that was the first thing I put on the list.  I also knew that I wanted to name it Epidemic, so I wanted a design feature that I felt hearkened to microbes and/or diseases.  I love knitting lace, and I didn't want a totally solid vest since it was intended to be appropriate for summer.  I came up with a simple lace pattern that I thought would be super fun, and once it was knit up I thought it looked a lot like little microbes or something.

(Side Note: I haven't taken biology since high school and I barely passed both my college science classes.  I have no clue what microbes look like.  Anemone does not think they look like microbes.  But if you squint the lace kind of looks like little bugs, and bugs carry diseases, right?)

So I had the cables, and the lace.  I decided that Knit Picks Comfy Worsted would probably be the best yarn for our purposes, and told Anemone to pick a color.  I had a lot of fun working on this vest, and I'm really pleased with the end result.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pattern: Epidemic

 My new pattern, Epidemic, is live on Ravelry.  Please go check it out.  Backstory post (and what is it with that name?) coming tomorrow :) 

I hope you all enjoy it, comments are love, and feedback is the bomb-diggety.

Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm Back!

I did not intend to be absent this long, but as I said last time, I had to travel for work a couple days this past week, and then I had a minor health flare-up, and then Anemone came to visit!
Note the vest (she loves it, and it looks absolutely stellar on her).  I'm editing the pattern as you're reading this, and it will be available for purchase THIS WEEK! 

Of course, there's plenty of other knitting stuff happening here as well.  I got a little behind schedule for Midsummer Night's Dream, but I think I can make it up.  I'm getting nervous about Heartmate, but I know I should be all set.  I was also naughty and started a new project that was not on The List (I have a good excuse for that one: while Anemone was here we went to go see X-Men: Days of Future Past and I had absolutely nothing on the needles that was suitable to knit in a cinema).  (On a side note, I also finally saw Frozen for the first time this weekend.  Good movie, that.  Can't get any of the songs out of my head.) 

For those of you who may be wondering, the gluten-free bread experiment from last week was a rousing success.  Even the non-celiac people in my house love it (which means I am now the official house baker and get to make bread every Sunday).  Bread.  Yum.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Numbers on a Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone!  Lots of knitting done this week, even though I was laid up for a couple of days with some medical stuff.  No worries, I'm back to normal, and ready to get fully into the swing of things again.  The numbers:

1. The Midsummer Night's Dream socks are, in fact, a dream.  They're knitting up so wonderfully that I'm a bit reluctant to give them away.  I did have a little bit of a mishap on Thursday, when I had to rip back over 20 rounds because I didn't read the pattern all the way. But I'm all caught up now.  The heel is turned and the gusset is picked up, and if I finish the first sock by Wednesday I'll still be on schedule to have these done for my mum's birthday.

2. Have you all seen the OAL that Andi of Untangling Knots and Lauren of Lladybird are putting together this summer? I've been wracking my brain, trying to figure out if I'll have enough time to join in, but I don't think I will.  June and July are always crazy busy months for me.  I'm pretty bummed, because I love the Myrna cardigan absolutely to pieces and I've been wanting to knit it almost since Andi knit her swatch!  I also want to start sewing a lot more, and I really like the dress pattern for the OAL too.  Once things slow down a bit (ha!) I plan to do both projects, I just wish I could actually participate.

3. I really wish there was a way to knit while driving.  I have to travel for work this week and I wish there was a way to make the drive feel productive.  Oh well.  At least I'll be able to knit in the hotel.

4. For those who are wondering, Heartmate is growing.  I'm trying to decide when to switch to the smaller diamonds, and how big the sections should be in relation to one another.

5. I finally decided that gluten-free bread is way too expensive if I keep making grilled cheese at least twice a week, so today I finally jumped in and am trying my hand at baking my own.  I have Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, and after several months of great success using their flour blend, I'm going all-in for their sandwich bread.  Fingers crossed.

6.  I found the yarn that I'd set my heart on knitting one of the baby blankets this year from ON CLEARANCE.  Boom.  Baby blanket for less than $6.  Cant' beat that.  It's going to be adorable.

7. And I think that's it for now, I think.  Lots of good stuff coming up, and lots of fun stuff on the needles and in the queue.  Hope you all had a good week as well!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

WIP: Heartmate

My go-to wedding present is a white lace table runner.  Everyone can always use one, if you already have a few you can always find a spot for one more, it has automatic heirloom status, and if you knit it you can really tailor it to the personalities of the couple.

I looked through several lace patterns before finally deciding what I wanted.  Currently I'm working on the center panel, which is these elongated diamonds.  After that, I'll change to a smaller diamond, and at the edge the pattern will change again to even tinier diamonds.  Then I'll pick up the stitches from that provisional cast on and do the same thing on the other side.

I'm very happy with it so far.  I absolutely love white lace, and I'm super excited for how this will turn out.  It's utterly charming, and so much fun to knit.  And the wedding's not for a couple of months still, so I don't have to feel too rushed to get it done.  Just a fun little repeat here or there in the evenings.  So in between everything else I have to get done this summer, be prepared for periodic updates on this one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

FO: Mother's Day Socks

Ta-Da!  These babies were done just in time for Mother's Day and what looks like is going to be a week-long cold spell, so Mum was very glad for them.

These socks went all over the place, too.  They came to Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, two band concerts, and several evenings at the bar.

These are my go-to sock pattern: the Yarn Harlot's Sock Recipe for top-down, with my favorite heel flap (garter-edged eye of partridge-I think it's so charming, and in hand-painted yarn it has an almost mosaic effect).  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday By the Numbers

1. Hello again!  Sorry you only got two posts last week, but I promise I'll have some pretty cool stuff to show you this week.

2. Got to spend the first half of yesterday reading A Storm of Swords and then the second half just working on knitting stuff:

    2a: I started writing up the pattern for Epidemic.  That's still on schedule to come out the end of the month.  More details as it gets closer.

    2b: I started a new sample.

    2c: I went diving into Deep Stash for a big new Super Duper Totally Top Sekrit project.  And that's probably the last thing I should say about that one for a while.

    2d: I got to knit a little bit on the Heartmate table runner for my friends' wedding in OHMYGOODNESSNINEWEEKS.  (So the timing's not a problem.  I just have a crazy amount of knitting to do.  And did you see the provisional cast on there?  I'm not looking forward to picking that up.  And honestly, I think that nothing is so charming as white lace.  This thing just radiates happiness.)

3. I finished Mum's Mother's Day Socks and gave them to her this morning.  We did discuss the peculiarity of getting socks in May, but I told her they'd wait in her sock drawer. 

4. Suddenly realized that it took me a month to knit the Mother's Day Socks and I have less than a month until I need another pair of socks done for Mum's birthday.  So those need to get started ASAP.  I plan to make Midsummer Night's Dream, and I have yarn and needles and everything ready, but just realized yesterday that the pattern is written for toe-up.  (I am not going to try to learn how to knit toe-up socks in less than a month.  That's too crazy even for me.)  So I need to rework the chart to go top-down in the next couple of days so those can start.

5. Mottled Daydream is still sitting on my desk, half frogged.  He's still in trouble. 

6. Poor Neville is still on my desk as well.  I should be able to see him again after Midsummer Night's Dream is done.

7. I have auditions today for my town's summer community theatre.  Last year was my first year participating and it was a ton of fun.  It makes the summer just a little bit busier, but at least I can knit whenever I'm not onstage :)

8. I'll leave you for today with a picture of my tulips, enjoying the tiny glimpse of sun we got today:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Special Yarn

I have a little old glass container that sits on my bookshelf.  Inside it, I keep only my most special yarn.

I think long and hard about what yarn gets to go into the jar.  Right now I only have three things in here: I've got the first single I ever spun, the first yarn I solar dyed (my second dye job ever), and the leftovers from the scarf I knit my Hebrew teacher when I graduated.


My first single.  Bobby pin included for scale.

Everything in here is small.  The size of the jar dictates my level of discretion for what gets inside it, so I'm very picky.  I think it's nice to have a little place for just my most special fiber memories.  All the rest of my leftovers get jumbled around in a variety of containers, but these ones are treated just a little nicer.

Do any of you have a special place for your most important fiber? 

(PS: I have some awesome new knitting to show you this week.  And new yarn.  It's been a good few days.)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I think Numbers on a Sunday is going to be a thing now...

1. I finished knitting Anemone's Epidemic yesterday.  I ran into some trouble when it was time for the arm and neck shaping, but I worked it out and managed to keep it pretty intuitive.  Final photos will need to wait until Anemone comes for a visit and we can do a photo shoot, but I'm hoping to have the pattern ready by the end of this month.

2. I'm up to the heel of my mum's second sock, which puts me comfortably on schedule to have those done for Mother's Day. 

3. Mottled Daydream is almost entirely frogged.  I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to work on it for a while given all the other knitting I have this summer, but I'll need something easy and relatively portable on the needles, so maybe this will be a WIP again soon.

4. Now that I've just said that, I remembered I want to knit myself a Wispy Cardi for work.  My usual uniform is a dress or tank with a cardigan, but I need more lightweight cardigans now that summer's coming.  I plan to do this in cotton crochet thread, but I haven't decided a color yet.  Right now I'm leaning towards red.

5. I need to draw up the charts for the table runner I'm designing for my friends' wedding present.  That needs to get started fairly soon, as right now the plan involves both a provisional cast-on and grafting lace, both of which I struggle with.

6. I need to buy yarn for Baby Blanket No.1 soon.  Those things always take longer than I think they will. 

7. I finally finished A Clash of Kings!  That only took forever.  I started A Storm of Swords after lunch and hopefully will stick with this one better.  I'd like to have all the ASOIAF books currently out read by the end of the summer, so I can finally watch Game of Thrones. 

8. Also I finally mastered the art of the mug brownie.  There are no pictures because it was so good and I ate it too fast.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bar Knitting

Today I'd like to talk to something very near and dear to my heart: Knitting In Bars.

I learned how to knit in college, which means that just as I started getting good, my friends and I started frequenting a couple of chosen establishments.  After the first couple of times, my friends started frisking me before we'd go out, to make sure I wasn't sneaking in any knitting.

Since then, I've gotten very good at knitting in bars.  It's kind of my thing, and I know it's a thing for many other people too.  I live in a small town, so people recognize me as the person who knits in the bar.  Sometimes, people will try to tell me that knitting in a bar is sad.  I've grown used to telling them that, "wine makes me happy, and knitting makes me happy, so when you mix the two, I'm extra-super happy."

I try to bring more visibility to bar knitting.  Pretty much every knitter I've ever met has admitted to knitting in bars, but it's still not very visible.  Of the 10 photos in the #barknitting tag on Instagram, 3 are mine, and none of the rest are more recent than two and a half months.  So this is my challenge to you: be proud of your bar knitting.  Raise your yarn, raise your glass, and tag away.  We are a force for good, warriors for happiness and relaxation.  We are not boring because we knit in bars.  (If you need any encouragement, I get approached in bars way more when I'm knitting than when I'm not, and it usually results in an actual conversation instead of awkward one-liners and stilted small talk.)