Leftie and Socks

Here are more projects I failed to write about contemporaneously.  My mom's birthday is on Christmas day.  It sucks having a birthday on a holiday.  Woe to person who gives a joint birthday/Christmas present or wraps a birthday present in Christmas paper.  So I knit two presents for my mom this year.

The first was Leftie by Martha Behm.

Isn't my mom cute?
This is a cool one because you actually start with just three stitches and add more each row.  It gives the shawl a slanted look.



Every tenth row, you make a leaf on the left edge.


I used fingering weight KnitPicks Chroma, which has a slow color shift.  I'm not sure this color way exists anymore, but you can see it goes from a dark pink all the way to bright orange.



The other thing I knit for my mom was a pair of socks.  The first pair I made was a little too small.  This pair I knit from the toe up (no pattern), so I knew they were going to fit perfectly.



The yarn was something on the fancier side, a merino/nylon blend I believe.  I can't for the life of me remember the brand.


Her feet seem happy, though.

Rainbow Shawl

A while back, the Yarn Harlot blogged about a shelf-striping yarn made especially for triangle shawls.  And I HAD. to. have. it!



The crazy-brilliant people at Caterpillar Green Yarns have dyed a yarn specifically for triangular shawls.  When you make a top down shawl, you start in the middle and work your way out to the longest edge.

Diagram from here.
That means that rows get longer and longer as you go.  You need more and more yarn to complete each row.  A stripe at the start of the shawl would take much less yarn than a stripe at the end of the shawl.  The stripes in typical self-striping yarn has equal length color repeats.  The stripes would get narrower and narrower.

Caterpillar Green has done the math to make each of the stripes the same width.



The purple stripe is the same width as the blue one at the bottom even though the blue stripe takes a lot more yarn to knit.


The colorway is Concrete and Tulips.  Pretty, right?  And so soft....


The pattern isn't really a pattern at all.


I just added increases at either edge and on both sides of the center stitch.  Nothing fancy.


Now if I can just figure out how to put it on.

Knitted Wedding Dresses

As a knitter who is engaged, it was inevitable that I would have passing thoughts of knitting something  for my wedding.  Perhaps a veil?  Flowers?  The whole wedding dress?

But whenever I mention this to Fiance, she gets a panicked look on her face.  I think she is worried I will end up looking like this on our wedding day.
From here.

Which I am totally not opposed to :-)  But I was thinking something like The Gray Swan Dress


Or this pink flamenco dress

If I could crochet, would have a lot more options.  This woman crocheted her wedding dress on her morning commute.  Or there is this beauty from Nixx:



It seems like it might will absolutely be too much work.  But I did download this pattern from Vogue Knitting.



Maybe I will swatch a little and the urge to make a dress will pass....

Sweater Surgery

When I was at the Goodwill picking up a sweater to make into swants, I found an amazing fair isle sweater.  I wish I had taken a picture of it; it was a big, boxy 80's drop shoulder number made of some sort of hearty nordic wool.

But it was a giant men's sweater.

So I ripped it apart and am attempting to change it into a set-in sleeve sweater that will fit me (this is a really good description of the different kinds of shoulders, if you care).  The sweater was serged/overlocked together at the edges, so I just cut away the side seems.




Because it was a drop-sleeve sweater (and I have giant ape arms), I need to add a lot of length to the sleeves.  I happened to have some yarn that matches the yellow and white yarn already in the sweater.  I picked up the stitches where the sleeves were serged to the body of the sweater.  Now I am knitting until they are long enough, adding the proper shaping in as I go.



I also had to change the body of the sweater from a big rectangle into a set-in shape.  I mapped out the middle of the sweater and then how wide I wanted the shoulders and waist to be (in the neon thread you see) based on my measurements.



Then I cut the sleeve holes.  Cutting knitting is nerve-wracking, but the yarn is sticky enough that it doesn't unravel too much.

I left the original collar.  So now I just have to finish knitting the sleeves and then sew it all together on the sewing machine. 

From the Land of Sheep

The in-laws went to New Zealand this spring and brought back a number of amazing things.  While they won't let me practice the didgeridoo or the giant hunting boomerang they bought back, I did get to keep this:


 A sheep pelt, two balls of Ashford worsted weight yarn, and some spinning fiber.


Ashford is a New Zealand company...the wool is from New Zealand sheep (because there are so many of them there).  My spinning wheel is an Ashford Kiwi (similar to this one).

I have mixed feelings about the sheep pelt.  If I had a sheep farm, it would be a no-kill operation: wool only!  But knowing that a lot of the sheep in New Zealand are raised for meat, I guess I am glad the pelts can be used, too. And it is very soft on my feet when I sit and knit....

Swants!

Swants = Sweater + Pants

From Urban Dictionary: "Swants occur when you transform a sweater, turn it upside down and seam it into a pair of pants. A Swants tutorial was posted and popularized by knitting designer Westknits."

Stephen West also made a video wearing his swants.


I got a crazy 80's sweater from Goodwill, and my friend and I set out to make a pair of swants.


They look a lot better than I thought they would.


And they are very comfy.  Thinking about adding elastic to the waistband.  


Everyone gets swants for Christmas this year?

What I've Been Up To

The Georgia Bar Exam was at the end of February.  And now I have a whole month of vacation before the next things begin.  So what have I been up to.

Reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing."  This woman is a little bonkers (she started studying the art of tidying at the age of 5).  Also, there are a few things that don't translate well into American culture (I know very few people who collect tea ceremony sets).  But I've become obsessed with cleaning the house in this 2-step process.  First, you get rid of anything that doesn't bring you happiness.  Then you organize everything.  My house is in no way cluttered or full of stuff, and yet I've gotten rid of soooooo much stuff.  Bags of clothing off to the consignment shop or Dress for Success!

I've also been lifting at Atlanta Barbell.  Yup, I'm a gym rat.

And knitting hats.  Lots of them.



This is the Wavy Moss Hat by Cedar Box Knits.  It's a cool pattern because you knit the first part in one direction and then pick up stitches along the edge of the cables for the rest of it.


The yarn in this first one is Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in color Pico.  The alpaca yarn got really drapey after I washed and blocked it.


I made another one out of Erika Knight Maxi in the color Geranium.  I had significantly less yarn than I really needed.


 It's 100% wool...you can see it doesn't have the drape.  And I knitted all of these on much bigger needles than the pattern called for.  That means I had to cast on fewer stitches and do fewer of the cable repeats.


What should I knit next?

Backdated Knitting

Looking at the blog archives, I realize I didn't post a single thing in 2013. I was knitting that whole time, I just never updated you all.

 One of the things I made was Funchal Moebius by Kate Davies.  Go ahead and click that link.  You will notice that it is a long, double-sided, two-color fair isle moebius scarf.  You can wrap it twice around your neck.

Mine doesn't look like that.


I did a few repeats of the pattern, said, "well that was fun" and decided it was a cowl.

I just put a little i-cord bind-off on both ends.



You can see how it was supposed to be a double-sided scarf instead of a cowl.  The colors are inverted on the opposite sides.






Wouldn't that be a pretty sweater pattern?  But if I get this tired of color-work this quickly I can't imagine doing a whole sweater like this. 

The Orchid Thief Shawl

What happens when you let a girl who is bad at taking pictures use a nice camera?  She still takes bad pictures.

But she feels fancy.


 

This is Orchid Thief by Ysolda Teague in a mystery hand-dyed yarn from Austin, Texas (I lost the ball band immediately after I got it).  Super well-written pattern like everything by Ysolda.

It was supposed to be a Christmas present for one of the mother-in-laws (yes, I am about to have two mother-in-laws), but I clearly didn't finish it in time.  Then she was out of town so I procrastinated until last night, when we were picking her up at the airport to finish it up and weave in the ends.



It is not nearly as long as I thought it would be.  But I still love the leaf motif (heh, that rhymes).  The edges ruffle.


They would probably ruffle more, but I ran out of yarn half way through my bind off (yikes!).  Because it was mystery yarn, had no idea what yardage I was working with.  I had to unpick my bound off stitches and do a yarnless bindoff instead.  It isn't a very stretchy edge, but I still think it makes for a pretty little scarf all the same....


...if you ignore the bad photography....

“Lesbian” As a Wedding Theme

Everyone has been super amazing about my partner and I getting married.  I’ve been thrilled at how even my more conservative or religious friends and family have taken it in stride (e.g. both my great aunt and Fiance’s grandma, awesome ladies in their 80s, said the exact same thing, “Well, if that’s what they want to do, that sounds nice”).  

But with the amazingness and the well-meaning support has come a realization that people think my wedding will be somehow totally different from a "regular" wedding because it’s “gay.” 

People have sent me links to how to plan the perfect lesbian wedding.  They have commented that they would love to help me plan, but that I would have to tell them what to do because I am the expert on gay marriage.  There are books in the bookstore for planning a gay marriage.  Separate websites for the gays.  A whole wedding industrial complex just for “us.”  I’ve also gotten links to “The Offbeat Bride” and other “different” wedding sites, partly because I am just a different kinda lady, but I think also because it is assumed my wedding will be innately different because of the whole two-girl thing.


If you have sent me these links and resources or offered to help me out: THANK YOU!  I have no idea what I’m doing, and every bit of assistance is beautiful and appreciated!  I love you and your good heart!


But all this has got me to thinking about a few things.


I'm Not Actually an Expert on Gay Marriage
I wanna be a family law attorney, so I know a little gay marriage law, which in Georgia currently consists of, “May I help you write a domestic partnership agreement until you can go somewhere else to get legalized?”  Other than that, I’ve never actually been to a wedding between two people of the same sex or gender.  I only know one or two couples who have been “gay married.”  Most importantly, I’ve never planned a wedding before, gay or otherwise.  Not an expert.


I'm Not Really a Lesbian*
While I have many of the stereotypical cultural indicators of being a lesbian (e.g. I like the Indigo Girls, am a feminist, drive a Subaru, and have a girlfriend), I have dated and lived with and loved far too many men to feel comfortable identifying as one myself.  So, I guess I’m not really having a lesbian wedding....


Family Dynamics are Important to Me
Like I said above, everyone has been super amazing about my partner and I getting married.  They are going to come to our wedding and be so happy for us because they love us.  But that doesn’t make the idea of two women getting married any less weird for people who grew up with a different conception of what marriage looks like.  I want my religious or conservative or just surprised family members and friends to have as good a time at my wedding as my atheist or liberal or gay guests.  For that reason, I probably wouldn’t have a burlesque-themed wedding with pole dancers in the corner.  They would still come because they love me, but they would be super-uncomfortable. 

In the same way, since I’m already asking some of my people to reset their brains and get on board with something new to them, I’m not going to purposely throw up other roadblocks.  Fiancé and I are going to do things that are really important to us (e.g. she wouldn't be caught dead in a dress, there will be two girls kissing at the end of the ceremony, and both sides of the aisle will be “the bride’s side”) that might freak some people out because they have never seen it before.  I know that, and they know that coming in, and we will all make it through together.  But I probably won’t have a rainbow theme or vagina-pops for favors (yum!!!) because why push the envelope on a day that, even in traditional, straight, church weddings, is already full of stressful family drama and politicking (WHAT?!?!  You didn’t wear the veil that every woman in your family has gotten married in in the last 200 years?!?!!  DRAMA!!!!)?


I'm Not Trying to Make a Political Statement With my Marriage
Weddings are too complicated and stressful without the added pressure of representing a political movement.  Gay marriage has become a political rallying point, but I don’t actually see my wedding as a political act. 

Or maybe I do, but differently.  I kind of like the idea of having a traditional, white-dress, wedding-cake, DJ-playing-YMCA, you-may-now-kiss-the-bride wedding, only the people getting married are both girls.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal because, well, it shouldn’t be.  And when it stops being “off-beat” or “a political act” or “different” and when “gay married” gets to just be “married” without the descriptor, then I guess we will have really won.





*I'm totally happy to have this discussion with anyone who has polite questions to ask about it.  Just might not do it online.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've written before about how much I love Valentine's Day.  Better than Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving combined.  Knowing this, Fiance made me this amazing V-Day "Advent" calendar.  So I've been celebrating all week!

It started with the traditional "Red Dinner" (No relation to the Game of Thrones Red Wedding...that scene has made explaining my tradition a lot weirder).  It was a potluck again, and people went all-out this year!

Jello shots, chocolate covered strawberries, heart shaped cornbread.
Cheese ball.  Pink wine.

Red Pasta and yummy dessert.
Yup, that's red sushi in the shape of hearts!!! 
Homemade, heart-shaped crackers and salsa!

The week got even better with heart breakfasts.

The most intense blanket fort you've ever seen in the living room:



Look how spacious it is in there!   Held up by a camera tripod, of course.

And shrinky-dink art like you make in elementary school.


I heart it all.

Knitting Inspiration: Home Decor

I wrote about decorating my law school apartment here.  Now that I am out of law school and living in a new place, I am back to looking at knitting-related home decor.  And it's gotten easier to find, as knitting has wheedled its way into the mainstream and into more than just afghan throws.

For example, Crate and Barrel has it in all sorts of things.

Sweater Knit Planter
Knitted Pouf
I'm kind of into giant knit rugs and blankets the most, though.  Look at this rug:

You can see it being knit here.
Or this one, made from t-shirt yarn!


From Inspiration & Realisation

I also like the idea of huge, fluffy blankets all over the house.

This website has info about the giant yarn used to knit this blanket, as well as baskets, rugs, pillows, etc.

OK, now ish gets real.  This is a chair.  With a BUILT IN BLANKET!

My only question about this chair is: how do you wash it?

This is my favorite.
Technically, I think that's crochet, but we will let it slide this time.


Finally, how about some outdoor knitting?

How does the dirt not fall out of this basket?

Hmm, lots of options....

Shawls

I haven't shown a lot of finished items on here lately, but I swear they have been happening.  I've been thinking a lot about shawls the last couple weeks because I like to knit them for other people's special events.

For my Bestie's wedding a couple years ago, I made her a Euphrosyne shawl by Kirsten Kapur for her rehearsal dinner. She had told me she was going to carry lilies for her wedding. I thought if she was going to wear a white dress that a green shawl, the color of the stems, would be pretty.

I started with a skein of lace weight from A Verb For Keeping Warm. It's silk and merino, so light and squishy but a little bit shiny and very warm.  They hand-dye their yarn with natural ingredients, so the color really was "stem colored."

After about eighty million hours of knitting (and watching Bones on Netflix), I ended up with this.




I allowed it to block.  And I ended up with this:

These pictures were taken ages ago.  Sorry they are so dark!  Also, my blocking is lop-sided, isn't it?

 Yum!  Fun, easy to follow pattern, but lots of repeats of the same pattern over and over again.  Not sure if I will ever make another one of these.  But Bestie looked so happy trying it on!





So, now I am thinking about what kind of shawl I should make myself.  And should I make it in white or in a pretty color?  What weight of yarn?  What type of fiber?  Oh, the choices!

Yarn Bribery

I am studying for the Bar on Friday night.



I have been studying for hours.  Days.  Weeks.  I like to shut myself into what Fiance lovely calls my Fortress of Solitude (a.k.a. The Wood Office; a.k.a. The Room of Requirement), so that the dogs won't come in and state at me, making me feel guilty for working instead of walking them (Fiance works from home, and claims that if you are by yourself long enough, the dogs will actually start talking to you).

All of the sudden, there is a knock on the door.  "Come in," I say.  Silence.  "COME IN, YOU WEIRDO!" I holler, because Fiance is the only other human in the house and is not opening the door.  More silence.

Annoyed that I have to get up from my comfy chair where I have holed myself up under my "Pussies Unite" quilt with a Trenta-sized mug of Irish breakfast tea, I grumble, push my feet into my foot sleeping bags, and shuffle to the door.  There is no one there except Breck, who gives me this look:



I also see a piece of cardboard which says, "Follow Me."  The cardboard is wrapped in beautiful blue and purple and turquoise yarn and leads downstairs, wrapped around the banister.  I roll the yarn around the card, following it down the stairs, into the living room.  There is dinner on the table, a fire in the fireplace, and Fiance in the living room wrapped in yarn.  I laugh and head over to thank her for being adorable and for making dinner for me.

Trying to untangle her from the yarn, I notice that she is shaking uncontrollably.

"What on earth is wrong with you?" I asked sensitively.

Fiance then gives a beautiful speech ending with, "And if you say yes, I will knit you a hat out of this yarn.  The colors made me think of you."

I said yes.

Moral of the story:  Bribery works.

Two Girl Brides

For those of you who are not stalking me on Facebook, you may not have heard the news: I’m engaged.  For those of you who REALLY have been out of the loop on my life, I’m engaged to the woman I’ve been dating for a year, have graduated from my JD/MPH, decided to stay in Georgia, and am currently studying for the Georgia Bar Exam.  Now you are all caught up.

But I wanted to talk about the whole marriage to a woman in Georgia while studying for the Bar Exam thing.  I got engaged last Friday.  There was yarn involved in the proposal (more on that later).  Fiancé made me promise not to do any wedding planning until after the Bar Exam (February 24 and 25...if anyone else is counting, that is less than 5 weeks away).

So, of course, I immediately started googling wedding-related things.  What I noticed right off the bat is that there are a lot of guides for brides: traditional, practical, DIY, fancy, laid-back.  But no one has really put together a guide-book for “How to Hold a Wedding Where There are Two Brides, Three Sets of Parents, In a Conservative State That May Or May Not Be Forced By the Supreme Court to Recognize Your Marriage By the Time You Get Hitched.”  

“The Knot” is downright infuriating.  It allows me to choose “Bride Marrying a Bride” and "Same-Sex" as the theme (ha!) in the settings, and then proceeds to still call my Bride a “Groom” in the budget, schedule, registry, etc.  As far as I can tell, Ms. Manners has yet to answer the question of whether both brides attend the bridal shower (and do the senior ladies still explain to the blushing brides what happens on your wedding night?  Do they even know?).  And why do all the Bride-And-Bride cake toppers seem to have both brides wearing dresses?

There are some things out there.  TwoBrides.com and GayWeddings.com are the most comprehensive but they just aren’t calming/helpful/comprehensive in the way I would like.  And they are kind of old school.  And OMG weddings with two men have a lot of different issues than weddings with two women.

I haven’t been good at keeping up the blog in the last couple years.  And I can’t promise that I will now.  But I think I might start using this space to figure out how this whole two-bride thing works in the age of Supreme Court decisions, Pride, and the wedding industrial complex.


Also, there will be yarn.  I promise.  There will always be yarn.