23 October 2007

Long Time, No Post

Hey Miss Kate,

How are things in your far-off world? I've been missing you and your ideas and your knitting. Now that I am more settled in California, I think I am ready for slightly more commitment to our blog here. Well, I am lonesome and doing a lot of knitting. Or, at least,a lot of thinking about knitting. I have so many ideas and yarns and fibers swirling in my brain... I want to get it all out! In any case, I have a few ideas.

1. Maybe play with the layout a bit. It's not terribly inviting or user-friendly.

2. Think/talk about what we really want to say with this blog. Why do we have it? What do you enjoy about blogging? (We started to go into this a little with the last post... we should explore it some more, i think.) What is our ultimate message or goal?

3. Post more pictures. When we're on task, we actually post about once a week, which is good. What is not good, however, is our lack of images. Reading a text-only blog about knitting is NOT something most people will want to do.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you on this. I feel like we have the potential to do something very cool here, but we just need to sort it out, you know?

In the interest of helping, I will now share a few things I have finished lately.

Pattern: Eunny Jang's Print O' the Wave Stole
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Fino in First Frost. It's an alpaca/silk blend and is WONDERFUL. Extremely soft, delicate, and with a really lovely subtle shimmer. I adore it! It also drapes beautifully.
Needles: US 4 Addi Turbos (I wish I had been able to find the new lace needles at the yarn store!)
Modifications: A few, but not many. First, i knit it all in one direction and skipped the two-sided grafting bit. I think it flows a little better without that seam in the middle, even though I had to sacrifice symmetry to do it. I knit 28 repeats of the pattern and picked up 200 stitches, I believe, on the long edges.
Notes: I really liked this pattern. It was well-written (as usual, with Eunny's patterns), though I was a little frustrated with the eyelet round in the edging set-up. I understood what she wanted, but I didn't understand how she wanted me to do it. So I did it my own way and it worked out. The lace pattern is very easily intuited, if not memorized, but not at all boring. Overall, I am rather happy with it and would definitely recommend it to someone in a similar time crunch who still wants a pretty stole for their wedding day.

And the only picture I have of me actually wearing it. My mother made life-size cutouts of me and my husband as children (we've known each other since the age of 7), and our 4-year old nephew was intrigued by them.

Pattern: Trellis, by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff, on knitty.com, and Saartje's Booties (opens a .pdf file).
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish DK in Asparagus. Extremely soft and bouncy, and superwash to boot! I had never used this yarn before, but I really like it. I think it's even softer than their Merino Style, though admittedly it has been 2 years or so since I last used that yarn. I would absolutely use it again, especially for baby or kidswear.
Needles: Knitpicks Options US 6 circular needle with 32" cable. For booties, I used Brittany Birch US 2 dpns.
Modifications: Nothing major, just tweaks here or there. I wanted to make it a little smaller than the 6-month size, but I ended up getting gauge with the size 6 needles so I just left it at that. I tacked down the shawl collar so it didn't flop around, on each side in the front and at the center back. No pattern modifications on the booties, but I used only one color instead of two.
Notes: I enjoyed knitting this sweater. I admit that I was slightly out of it while I knit (I did it the week leading up to the wedding), so I can't recall any major issues I had with it. This, however, is the sweater where I feel I have officially mastered seaming. It's funny. I'm a seamstress, and have been knitting for 10 years, but my seams are never quite as perfect as I would like. I've finally gotten it down, with the help of The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. I really recommend this book to anyone who hates seaming or grafting or any other finishing processes. It is clear, concise, and truly helps you make the perfectly finished garment you want to make. Finishing is SO important to the final look of a piece and I think everyone could benefit from the instruction this book offers.

Well, I can't wait to hear from you on your blog thoughts, or even with a post of your recent knitting work! I know you've been doing it, even if you haven't been posting it!

Take care,

04 April 2007

What's your blogging purpose?

Dear Kristen,

Our blog has gotten sad. Really, really sad... I still haven't put up pictures from Christmas, and each time I think I should post something else drags me away. Then, I sit down at the computer and I keep reading these other fantabulous blogs, absently looking for the "key", you know that style or thought that keeps you hooked. It seems like I've found it in some places but I can't replicate it here. Here's where the research has gotten me... It appears that you need one of two things to make a really fantastic knitting blog:

1) Serious knitting talent, i.e. Eunny Jang. Eunny is such an amazing knitter that she can forget to post for a month but you know there are people like me who check back a couple of times a week for the entire period just to see if she'll post. It's her incredible patterns and skills that keep drawing us all back in. I'm guessing that's what will keep us reading Interweave Knits now that she's the editor...

2) Clear thoughts and frequent posting, i.e. Lolly. Lolly's blog is one of my favorites. What I really like - and this ties into a lot of the other blogs that I read - is that while she talks a little about her life her posts always connect to some bigger theme. At the moment it seems like her running themes are Project Spectrum and her weight loss journey, both of which are admirable persuits. I also really like the fact that there is no whining going on. She keeps whatever personal stress she has to herself. (This is something I fail on regularly. And, if I can't do it in real life I'm not sure I can manage it in a blog.) I think that Stephanie Pearl McPhee also does this well with her hook being an incredible sense of humor and the occasional "project", i.e. Knitting Olympics, or Knitters without Borders.

So. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. The blog has been here for a year. We don't post particularly regularly and we don't really have a following of readers. Do you want more from this? Or am I just overanalyzing? If you don't think I'm crazy, then let me know what you would like to see here.

Oh, and if you are are one of our 1.5 readers, let me know what you think about blogs. Or heck, blog about it! I'd really like to know where others are directing their crazy blogging adventures.


26 February 2007

Big feet

Dear Kristen,

I have pictures to show, but work has been so crazy that I haven't had the time to upload anything... :( I completed the Cambridge sweater and gifted it to Si for Valentine's Day. It's okay, but not perfect. The biggest issue is that the arm holes are very very deep. This creates kind of a strange baggy effect under the arms. I'm not sure how it happened, and I can't figure out any easy way to fix it so I think he's just going to live with it. It's a first sweater anywho so I'm not sure it's worth worrying about. :) I just need to try a few more to see if I can't get it right.

In other news, I have HUGE FEET. It might not seem so to the casual observer. Heck my size 10s aren't all that unusual, but the fact that my feet are almost 9 inches around is apparently quite the anomaly. It means that I can't easily knit socks unless the pattern is designed for a man. UGH! Last week I attempted to knit myself the Friday harbor socks from Knitting on the Road and I couldn't even get the band past my heel. I was totally bummed. Thankfully I have quite the collection of sock patterns and some manly socks from an old IK seem to be working out for me. I think I need to start a "fat foot cute" site for sock knitting patterns desgined for those among us with fat feet and exceedingly shapely calves (mine are almost 16 inches around at the widest part). There might also be a seperate category for tall boots that will fit those shapley calves. :P

That's all.


30 January 2007

i hate poverty!

Dear Kate,

How have you been? I haven't heard from you in a while. I'm missing my Kate! I just posted a note to Simon about his gallery show - that's so awesome! I miss you guys so much right now. I'm feeling very lonesome and frustrated in Kalamazoo. I have Dan and he's amazing, but I still can't find a job and I still don't have any other friends. Alas. Oh well, I just have to keep trying. :)

Have you seen the new Knitty surprises? They just went up. I REALLY want to knit both Thermal and Dragonfly - they're so pretty! Unfortunately they're both out of my price range at the moment, seeing as how I have no job. I would wear Thermal ALL the time because we keep it so cold in our apartment! I think I am in another selfish knitting mood. I haven't knit anything for myself since last spring and I would really like to make something nice for ME for a change. I'm currently working on that shawl for my aunt Pat, which is almost done, and then I get to do sweaters for Grandma and Brian. Then probably some socks and a sweater for Dan. Then maybe a sweater for me. Maybe.

I finally have a couple of pictures for you of some recent projects. First are the Bayerische Socks I made for Dan's mom. I finished them in time and I have pics of the finished ones, but I must not have uploaded them onto the computer. I'll post the finished pics as soon as I can, but in the meantime you can have an in-progress photo. They're done in Knitpicks Gloss in Concord Grape.

Next is the pseudo-John Muir scarf that I knit for Dan. (I wasn't too happy with how the pattern was written, so I rewrote it.)

And finally, just for kicks, here's a picture of our first Christmas tree. :) It doesn't have the ornament we got for our first Christmas, or the ornaments that we have that match (we each got a red ornament with our name on it when we were tiny kids and they're exactly the same!), but you get the idea.

So that's life here. I'll post completed pics of the Bayerische Socks, Pat's completed shawl, and probably some progress pics of whichever sweater I start first when next I post. In the meantime, I'd really like to hear how you're doing on the Cambridge Jacket pattern because that's one of the ones I will be knitting next! Anyway, I hope you're doing well and I look forward to hearing about your knitting and your life really soon!