Acts of Knitting and Nerdery

I’ve recycled yarn from thrift store sweaters. I’ve dyed yarn with Kool-Aid and food coloring in a crockpot. I’ve dyed recycled yarn with Kool-Aid in the crockpot.

But I’d never spun yarn before, and of course I really, really wanted to learn how to do it. Unfortunately, this seemed to be a case where looking it up on YouTube just was not going to suffice. I began looking for opportunities to learn from a real live in-the-flesh human being.

Then several weeks ago I spotted a drop spindle class at Sifu Design Studio and leapt at the chance. Not only did I find the spinning class I was looking for, but it was in my own neighborhood at a yarn shop that I love. Major score!

Sifu Design Studio Chicago Day of the Dead Window Display

Lisa photobombed my photo of Frida in the shop window.

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About a week ago I spotted a sale at Craftsy that I could not resist. Fyberspates Scrumptious Chunky yarn, which normally retails at somewhere around $23 per skein, was 43% off. I couldn’t pass that up. I bought four in the Cherry color.

Fyberspates Scrumptious Chunky Yarn

Fyberspates Scrumptious Chunky in Cherry

This yarn is a luscious, butter soft silk/merino blend that practically purrs when I pet it. The silk also gives the deep red a gorgeous sheen. This stuff is luxurious to say the least.

So. Freaking. SOFT.

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I’ve owed you this post for a couple weeks. I have no excuses, really. Well, okay, I sort of have one, in that it’s really, really hard to take a photo of myself wearing a sweater. A hat? Sure, no problem. But a sweater? Sorry, my arms just aren’t long enough to make a self-portrait work. So, many thanks to my gorgeous sister, Chrissy, for taking these while I was in town for Bug’s birthday party.

But here it is, and I have, not one, but TWO finished objects to brag about!

I finally finished my Pomme de Pin. I also have vowed to never again choose a project that requires seaming. I’ll be honest, when I discovered Finish-Free Knits yesterday, I got a bit excited and immediately put it on my Amazon Wishlist. A bunch of really cute sweaters and no seaming? SIGN ME UP!

Anyway, you don’t want to hear me whine about how much seaming sucks. You want to see The Precious. Okay, here you go.

Pomme de Pin cardigan Read more…

Yes, I’m still working on the Pomme de Pin cardigan. In fact, it’s all sewn together and I started adding the front and neck trim just this morning, though I had to redo the part about picking up 300+ stitches three times before I got it right.

I blocked the pieces before assembling them, and while it was drying I decided to use some Malabrigo (bought on impulse a few months ago at Sifu Design Studio) to knock out a hat. It took a little longer than I intended and required the purchase of a size 3 circular needle that I didn’t happen to have, but I finished it this morning!

Molly Hat in Malabrigo Worsted SFO Sky

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I’m just a little excited that my favorite Doctor is back with new episodes on September 1st. I seriously love me some Doctor Who.

So do a lot of other knitters, apparently. And how to knitters express their love for the Doctor? They knit stuff inspired by the series. Much of it is delightfully silly, right in keeping with the silliness of being in a time traveling vintage police box that’s bigger in the inside with a half mad Time Lord. When I run across one of these fan knits, I typically squeal a bit, make a mental note that I should make whatever it is for my friend Drew, whose Whovian tendencies put me absolutely to shame, then forget all about it.

I have no Doctor Who knitting projects of my own to share, but in honor of the premiere, I’ve pulled together a collection of some of the best out there. Fair warning, there are lots, ranging from common to utterly obscure. LOTS.

The Doctor

Doctor Who Scarf

Dr. Who Scarf (by VelvetCrawdad)

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I’m not dead! It’s just been a very busy summer. Tonight you’re getting a few quick picture-free updates and a promise about a future post.

Pomme de Pin
Still working on it. I’m almost done with the second sleeve. Then everything will get blocked before being sewn together for the final bit of edging. I’m also working on a Vortex Shawl with some black and turquoise Zauberball. That’s mostly my Tuesday night project since the pattern is pretty mindless, but I’m already getting bored with it.

Tuesday Night Knitting Group
Like a stray cat that keeps showing up at your back door, I’ve started hanging out with a cool local knitting group at a cool local boho cafe. This is cool because (A) it gets my nerdy fat ass out of the house and (B) I get to hang out with people who understand when I talk about going to Windy Knitty to pet the yarn as though it were a zoo.

Speaking of My Fat Ass…
Probably the biggest reason I haven’t been around too much is that I’ve spent a good chunk of my summer slogging through Couch to 5K and obsessively tracking my calories and weight. Yes, I’ve been subjecting innocent bystanders on the lake trails to the half gimpy shambling that I try to pass off as jogging. On the days that I’m not running, I’ve been paying some skinny bitches to torture me at the Bar Method studio in Lakeview. This pretty much has replaced most of my knitting for the time being. Not all of it, mind you, but dammit if getting fit isn’t cutting into my knitting time.

Do you want to know what my motivation for all of this is? Of course you do.

I want to knit cute sweaters for myself that use less yarn and take less time to make.

What better motivation is there when you’re a knitter?

I’ve been pretty successful with all of this so far, so hopefully I’ll be making smaller sweaters for myself by Christmas. If you want more, less snarky info about how I’m doing this, go read my other blog. I’ve laid out my whole strategy over there.

Who Done Knit?
Finally, I’ve wanted to do a Dr. Who themed post for awhile, and I expect that’ll happen soon now that the season premiere is on the horizon.

Hey, who turned out the lights?
Oh right, that was me. It must be bedtime.

Today the US Olympic committee sent a cease and desist letter to Ravelry claiming that the Ravelympics violates their copyright. The letter went so far as to say that knitting “denigrated” the Olympics. Denigrated? Really? The USOC must have received one too many ill-fitting, ugly and itchy sweaters from their grandmas as children.

Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Jordan Ain’t Afraid to Knit, so why is the USOC?

I know I’m late to the party here since the knitting community apparently has been fuming over this long enough for the USOC to issue two different apologies – the first of which only made things worse when it suggested that knitters show their support by sending knitted freebies their way. Right, like that was going to happen.

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Whenever I feel the need to destroy something, I rip up a sweater.

No real destructive streak to speak of yesterday, but I did wake up in the mood to do some dyeing, and that meant that I had to unravel a sweater first. I picked a rescued merino/angora ugly pale blue thing that couldn’t decide whether it wants to be tweed or heather. I got six skeins like these out of it.

Recycled Yarn from a Thrift Store Sweater

I skeined these three, then threw into a soup pot with some lukewarm water to prep the yarn, then went for a walk down by the lake while it soaked.

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I’m having a torrid affair with the Pomme de Pin Cardigan. So far the pattern has been easy to follow, it’s visually interesting, the repeats are easy to memorize, it’s easy to spot when my brain goes AWOL and I frak it up… and I picked awesome yarn to boot. I am in love.

First, here’s the yarn:

Malabrigo Arroyo Coffee Toffee

 

“Pomme de Pin” apparently means “pine cone”. I would have thought “pineapple”, given the “pomme”, but the name apparently refers to the pine cone lace pattern that makes up the body of the sweater. I loved the idea of sticking to shades of brown to take the reference even further. One of the reasons I’m including this photo is that the ones that follow don’t show off the color very well, but this one is pretty close.

So let’s take a look at my progress.

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Awhile back, I picked up some Chroma Worsted from KnitPicks in the colorway Mix Tape. Because how could I not, right? Especially KnitPicks said it was being discontinued? That’s right. I needed to rescue two skeins immediately, rehome them in a nice, loving yarn stash.

As I was moving, I needed a mindless project to keep my hands busy and decided it was time to figure out what the Mix Tape yarn wanted to be. I must have started and pulled out a half dozen patterns before I gave up and improvised. I finished it two days ago, and I love it, so I’m calling it my first successful improvisation.

Look. Look at this beautifully awesome thing that I did.

KnitPicks Chroma Worsted Mix Tape Scarf

Hattie models the awesomeness for you.

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