Thursday, December 29, 2011


Since I submitted the final copy of my thesis yesterday (woo!) I thought it would be fun to try to organize The Yarn. What started in May of 2010 as an innocent curiosity about and affinity for the super soft, beautifully-dyed  Bugga from The Sanguine Gryphon, turned into an all-out yarn stashing compulsion once the closing of their shop was announced simultaneously with the timing of major thesis and family stress. It was the perfect storm for needing quick yarny pick-me-ups, there was no hope for me or my financial stability. I fell and I fell hard, and I ended up with this:

I know that my stash is laughably small to many other die-hard SG fans, but for me, this is a heck-of-a-lot-of-yarn. I'd say a solid 60% of what is visible is SG yarn, 30% is Blue Moon Fiber Arts, 6% is Malabrigo, and the rest encompasses a few random things like Knitpicks or Valley Yarns. What can I say? I like what I like and I like it a lot. The bubble crate holds the Malabrigo, the long tote in the middle has some BMFA Twisted and Mopsy but holds mostly SG QED and Zaftig, the floor is littered with Codex, the drawer on the floor has some Gaia, Mithril, and Skinny Bugga while the basket and the drawer pulled out is about 50/50 Bugga and BMFA Socks that Rock. I have to admit, I felt a little nauseous seeing it all laid out like that. There are so many expensive beautiful skeins in there just waiting to be knit. But the guilt is excellent motivation for me to get my stashdown going in 2012 and really put their beauty to use. Good thing I pulled all that out after I had already placed my final SG order, or I probably would have missed out on this:
Zaftig Bugga, colorway Ghost Moth
This yarn is an example of why I love SG so much: I'm not even a pink/coral-loving person but I absolutely adore this colorway, it's just so pretty and unique and lovely. I was happy to hear that one of the new companies, Cephalapod Yarns, is planning to keep it on as a standard colorway. They are color geniuses, truly. This post turned into a bit of an Ode to the Sanguine Gryphon, but really, can you blame me? They are closing their shop for good at 5pm today. As they say, get it while you still can... It might be silly, but this really feels like the end of something  big.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tiny Humans & Big Booties

I've come to realize that I have no idea how to size knitted things to fit tiny humans. I don't have a tiny human, myself, and I haven't spent much time near one since 2008 when I babysat a newborn regularly. I love them to bits, but I've had limited exposure lately and I have no idea how big their various parts are nor how to compensate for their rapid growth. However, I suspect I need to learn this soon since I'm getting to that age when friends are getting married and starting to think about tiny humans a lot. I made a sweet little Boheme dress for one last January:
Malabrigo Sock, colorway Violeta Africana
I know this dress was greatly appreciated since the baby's mommy sent me photographic evidence that hangs on my refrigerator. I am currently working on some Cutest Booties in anticipation of my advisor's impending little one:
STR Lightweight, colorway Spinel
I love them, I think the pattern is simple and sweet, but I have no idea if they will fit tiny human feet. None of the project photos on Ravelry show them being worn and in my hands, these booties just look big. Way big. As in I can fit four of my fingers inside the cuff, which seems just too big. I'm knitting them at a tighter gauge than the pattern calls for on smaller needles, so it isn't a gauge issue. Perhaps I'm just thrown off because the size says it is intended for newborns and I have no real sense of the size of baby feet beyond 'itty bitty'? I'd love to see these booties on an actual infant. That would be helpful, since I don't have any just lying around on which to test the size of my knitting. Can anybody A) attest to the fit of these booties on a tiny human in real life or B) tell me the approximate dimensions of something they've made that fit a tiny human's foot? That would be terrific!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

For me, December 26th is usually a recovery-from-craziness day and typically an online-spending-of-gift-cards day. I began Christmas Day on Long Island and drove the three hours to my Fiasco's family in Connecticut, totaling visits to three different groups of people that day alone, in addition to making two visits to different people each day on Friday and Saturday. It's been a whirlwind. I was asleep by 9pm last night and slept until 9am. Twelve hours of blessed sleep and an entire morning of vegging out? Recovery accomplished. As for online spending, I placed my final yarn order of the year to Blue Moon Fiber Arts for some STR HW for Fiasco socks and STR MW, LW, and Mwata Silk Hankies for me. Ho ho ho!

There was some new yarn under the tree for me this year:
Tracks of Bison Fingering, colorway Blue Mud Dauber
This is Tracks of Bison Fingering dyed by Alisha Goes Around, available at The Loopy Ewe. It is 90% superwash Merino and 10% Bison Down, which I am very excited to try. It seems tightly spun and springy and is soft to the touch, I can't wait to find the right pattern for it. I have 800 yards, any suggestions?

I also have some knitting to share, a few more last minute gifts. Here's another Pretty Twisted
cuff bracelet:
STR Lightweight, colorway Thraven

An incredibly boring-to-knit but great squishy cowl for my Fiasco:
Malabrigo Worsted, colorway Vaa
Vaa is such a great colorway for guys, it's a super dark mix of greens and blues that I really love. And finally, a pair of fingerless gloves in a simple cabled design of my own:
Malabrigo Rios, colorway Ravelry Red
I don't typically like red but the Ravelry Red colorway is so bright and vibrant, it made me happy to knit with it. The recipient (the Fiasco's Nana) loved them, too, so that's good. I never got around to those hats I was supposed to knit so I've got four of those that will be coming down the pipe shortly, plus a couple of baby booties. This is the Christmas knitting that never ends!

I hope you all had wonderful holidays and happy celebrations. Mine were different this year due to recent family troubles, so there was a hefty dose of sadness in the mix, but there was still joy to be had and love to be shared and that is very comforting.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh Boy

This is how I feel about the holidays this year:
"Ahck!" *hides*

That is my adorably kitty, Calpyso. I'm trying not to feel that way, I'm trying not to dread facing all of the problems with my family at "home", but it's difficult. Very very difficult. However, this helps:
Bugga x 2, Skinny Bugga x 2, Zaftig Bugga, Mithril, and Traveller (all from Sanguine Gryphon)
especially since that last skein on the right was gifted to me by a very generous friend on Ravelry who knows about the family stuff I'm dealing with, which was really sweet. Such kindnesses from the people around me are wonderful reminders that even if my biological family is falling apart, I still have a strong support network of friends and other people who care. It's a bittersweet but good lesson to learn, particularly around the holidays.

Plus, it's hard to resist looking forward to the some aspects of the holidays when I live with a guy practically bursting with excitement over them. He made a bunch of treats last night to give as gifts and they really came out great.
The master at work
Tasty, tasty mousies!
So, I'm trying. The holidays are coming whether I like it or not, I can only hope for the strength to get through the tough parts and try to enjoy the simple little pleasures as they come.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pretty Little Things

I need to start this post with a non-knitting handmade item because it is just too cool. I went to a grad student holiday party last night and my Secret Santa gave me an origami horseshoe crab:
 He made it out of one piece of paper and it's anatomically correct:
Check out those legs! How cool is that?! I was super impressed, and touched. I love handmade gifts, especially something so personal and thoughtful.

Now I have a couple of my own FO's to share. Here is a Mustard Scarf:
in Malabrigo Chunky, colorway Bobby Blue

This pattern is free and makes a great, quick gift with just one skein of bulky yarn on size US 15 needles. I think the button really makes this neckwarmer, I hope the recipient will like it!

And finally, a pretty little linen-stitch cuff bracelet:
in Malabrigo Sock, colorway Abril
Malabrigo yarns make such nice-yet-affordable gifts. The pattern is Pretty Twisted and it is also free on Knitty, with a few different versions to make. This cuff took just under 5 grams of yarn so it would be great to use up sock leftovers or miniskeins (although I did make it child-sized, only 6" long). With only 5 days to go until gift-giving time, I'm hoping I can bang out another one of these bracelets, 3 bulky hats, 1 worsted weight hat, 1 worsted weight pair of fingerless gloves, and some baby booties. HAHA, so ambitious. This is a much-reduced list of what I had originally wanted to knit, but I think it is doable. Two of those bulky hats can be given to the recipients as skeins of yarn (or "hats-to-be", as I prefer to call them) since I know they'd understand with minimum amounts of teasing. And the baby booties can wait until the week after Christmas. But still, better keep on knitting...

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Hello Blogland, meet my favorite sock ever:
Socks in their prime, made with STR MW, colorway My Wild Irishgirlie
This is the first pair I completed (in April 2010) that really fit me well and I love everything about them. The pattern is Slip Jig by Irishgirlieknits and I think they are just so pretty. Since they involve my favorite colors and are clearly full of awesome, I wore the hell out of them and blew a giant hole in the heel:
Inside out, on darning egg
They've been like that for months and I have missed them greatly. Finally today I looked up a helpful youtube video and great photo tutorial and got my darnin' on. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought! Quite simple, really. I didn't hold the yarn double like the photo tutorial suggested, I just used a single strand, but then I did end up doing a third pass of weaving because I felt like the fabric was still too airy.

All woven up
They may not look perfect but at least they are wearable again! I also mended a pair of my Fiasco's socks:
Socks in their prime, made with STR HW, colorway Pining 4 Ewe
These are Uncle Frank socks, also designed by Irishgirlieknits! They were his first pair, too, and he has worn them nearly constantly. There are no holes yet but some very thin spots on the bottom of the heel that I figured could use some reinforcing just in case.

Now, if only every problem in life could be so easy to mend...

Friday, December 16, 2011

F.O. Frenzy!

This week has been one in which many finished objects appeared at once! I love weeks like this. It's one of the (only?) benefits to having a bunch of projects on the needles simultaneously: you feel like a champ when you finish so many in a row!

First, some mitts for my wonderful aunt for Christmas:
in Malabrigo Rios, colorway Azules

I will probably write this pattern up after the holidays. They were simple and quick but I think they're quite pretty. I hope she likes them!

Next up is a pair of socks for my mom, which fulfills half of my sock goals for December, yay!
in STR LW, colorway Rocktober
The pattern is Unisex Slip by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot, a.k.a. my knitting idol). I really enjoyed this pattern. It's super simple but still fun and one of very few patterns that could have looked ok with such a crazily variegated colorway. I was surprised my mom wanted them, but she saw me knitting them a couple of months ago and claimed them so they're hers.

I have another FO as well, a neckwarmer for my cousin, but that one is currently blocking so pics will come later. Finally, my last FO of the week is not knitting related: I successfully defended my master's thesis! Despite the fact that I need to make many revisions and have about a month's worth of more work to do at this school, I'm still considering the defense a finished object. :) I'm officially a master of science, now! (Saying that just does not get old!) It's tempting to start relaxing in the face of all of this glorious finishing-up-ness, but there is still lots to do and lots to knit, so I can't get too comfortable, now, can I? Christmas is less than 10 days away, aaahhh....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fast & Furious

The family situation mentioned before will not be good for a long time, but since that is sad and yarn is happy, we're going to just focus on the yarn here now.

Tonight I participated in a fast-and-furious swap in the Sanguine Gryphon group on Ravelry, it was so fun! The wonderful mods organized it as a consolation prize for those of us unable to make it to the crazy-awesome-open-house event going on at the SG studios in Maryland. Swapping in the SG group is always pretty great, there's a lottery twice a week that I've won a couple of times and everyone is usually very helpful with destashes and in-search-of's, but this was completely different. It occurred in 'real time' in one thread. An offer was made and the first person to reply and claim it got it and had to make a new offer. If an offer wasn't claimed in 5 minutes, then a new one was made (which then usually got snapped up). I had a couple of skeins without a plan in my stash and was able to swap them for a couple of colorways that I really really love, which I'm psyched about. Even more fun, one of the skeins I claimed was one I had swapped a while back only because I had had no alternative at the time and I had missed it. So my little Bugga Common Emerald Moth took a vacation to Canada and will be on its way back here! I find it amusing that skeins of my yarn have met other SG groupies while I, myself, have not. Yet! There has been talk of a Massachusetts meet-up, which I really hope happens, because once January arrives I will actually have time for something of a social life.

Here are some pretty SG skeins I've been collecting over the last month or so:
Looks like a lot of yarn all together like that, huh... oops.
On the left there is 2 Zaftig in Box Jellyfish, Zaftig in Ruby-Tailed Wasp, 2 QED in Radius, Bugga in iSkein, and 2 Bugga in Fierce Snake, which is my own personal 'sleeper hit' of this season's colorways. I did not think I would care for it since it involves so much pink and brown, but my Beribboned Wrists were made with the Zaftig version of the colorway and I just fell in love. Very complex and feminine and pretty. And believe it or not, I have plans for all of those skeins. To say I have an ambitious queue of things I want to knit is a gross understatement.

In fact, can we talk about socks for a minute? I made a spreadsheet of all the socks I want to make because the Rav queue was just not good enough for me to keep track of it all. Can you believe that? Knitting dorkdom at its finest, am I right? I have (get ready for this) TEN DIFFERENT SOCK PROJECTS currently on the needles. I actually used to have more, but I frogged four that were just never going to get finished. So ten pairs on the needles and TWENTY-SEVEN MORE that I know I want to make in the near future. That's a heck-of-a-lot-of-socks, and yes, I have the yarn for all of those patterns (and then some). When I do things like this I am reminded that I really don't need more yarn right now, and I really do need to get knitting. I'm making a plan. Each month I'll post my sock goals here and hopefully I'll be able to reach them.

For December, my goals are to finish these Unisex Slip socks for my mom:
Socks that Rock Lightweight in colorway Rocktober
 and these made-up holiday socks for me:
STR LW in colorway X-mas Rocks

which are much further along than shown here, I have the first sock done and have started the second. That's all I'll probably be able to get done in the next 21 days, realistically, what with finishing my master's and the holidays and all. Let's not even talk about gift knitting right now. I am waaaaay far behind. Way.

But anyway, socks-- so happy, so good. They are, undoubtedly, my guiltiest guilty pleasure of knitting. What's your favorite comfort project? Does the size of your stash or the length of your queue ever give you pangs of guilt, like it does me from time to time? Any particular knitting goals you've set for the future?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh Lately It's So Quiet

I wish I had a happier reason for not having posted in a while (like a vacation to Disneyland or an abduction by aliens who live on a planet made entirely of Bugga), but in truth it is because I am dealing with a very difficult and distressing family situation over which I have no control. I can only sit here and watch and hope, while 160 miles away the fabric of the reality I once knew that had knit my family together is being tinked apart. Stitch by stitch, row by row, it's been happening for a few years now and the other day it reached all the way back to the cast-on edge. Then the foundation started to unravel, too, and everything is now a big tangled mess. I'm not sure if it's hit me yet how close things were to coming completely undone, to the slipknot releasing, to the yarn falling entirely off the needles.

All I know is that I am at once thankful that there are still stitches to pick up, but worried about the work and the diligence it will take to re-knit and certain that the fabric will never look quite the same again. The yarn will be stretched and kinked, the stitch count might be off, the shaping and row counting will have to begin again, perhaps the pattern will even even need to be reconsidered. It might end up as an entirely different piece, and whether the changes are good or bad it is a frightening concept, this unknown, particularly when the stakes are so high. 

I am thankful that I have my Fiasco, who came into my life in the nick of time just before this Great Unraveling began. I am thankful for my friends and for my extended family who treat me with nothing but compassion, love, and respect. I am thankful for whatever it is in me that pulled me far enough out of my emotions to accomplish some work today because no matter what is happening 160 miles away, here, in a week, I will be defending my master's thesis, which this late in the game cannot be changed. Mostly, though, I am thankful that something stopped the worst from happening. For whatever it was that kept that slipknot tied just tightly enough, I am thankful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


After endless weeks of data analysis, re-reading the literature, writing everything down, and revising the discussion sections my master's thesis is finally done! It's very anticlimactic, considering my advisor's response was "Good work. Now you need to..." followed by a whole list of other stuff I have to get going on, but for today -- today I'm done.

I didn't knit a single stitch yesterday, not one. That's just wrong. I can't even say that I'm making up for it now since I'm in such a zombie-like state that thinking about knitting anything but the very plain X-mas Rocks socks I'm making hurts my poor, abused brain. I have all these ideas for holiday gifts that I really need to get going on, and the yarn is already wound up, but just the idea of finding the needles and swatching to figure out sizes and either following directions or making it up as I go is too much. I'm a little bit broken. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow, because guess what I'm doing tomorrow? NOTHING. Well, that's not entirely true. I will probably pull together my resume and do a little job searching and clean up the war zone that's developed around my desk and and and and... but whatever, I'm not going to do anything related to horseshoe crabs, statistics, GIS, or writing and nobody can make me! All I'm going to do is zone out with my tea, my knitting, and some Netflix, and probably go for a walk at some point because my body needs to do something other than sit in a chair pretty soon.

So far for gifts I've finished an earwarmer, a hat, and a shawl. I have a cowl, a pair of mitts, another shawl, and a pair of socks currently in progress. After I finish those I will still have one cowl, four hats, three bracelets, and another pair of mitts to make. I've scaled back quite a bit from last year, not every single person is going to get a knitted gift. But that's ok. Hats are my favorite because if you make them with bulky yarn they go super fast and are so, so warm. Here are the bracelets I would like to make, I think they'd be great for using up mini-skeins or leftovers and featuring any nifty buttons you might have. What are you all planning for knitted gifts?

Randomly, my Fiasco decide that he wanted to make my cat a scratching post / cat tree type thing, so check out what I came home to:
I'm amazed at what he did with just some carpet remnants, rope, plywood, glue, screws, cardboard carpet tubes, and that stick thing he used to use for karate. I think the whole project cost around $25, meanwhile if you were to go buy something like this it would be priced upwards of $90. I love when he makes things. Every once in a while he will get the urge to make a quilt and he goes into this quilting frenzy and produces a beautiful gigantic work of fabric art in a week. If only knitting went that fast... although knitting goes a heck-of-a-lot faster when you actually do some, which I'm going to go do know, because you know why?

BECAUSE I'M DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D