Rolling in the deep. And the cheap.

One of many things I like about my man-friend are that we agree that gifts are fun but experiences are better, so we decided to hit storied Half Moon Bay for his birthday weekend. It’s usually a stone’s throw from SF, but this weekend happened to be the Mavericks Invitational, in which super famous and floppy haired surfers convene around a world renowned spot for tasty waves. So while we made great time for the first 13 minutes of our trek, the last 5 miles were 2 hours instead of 2 minutes. Parking illegally, walking into the beer garden without a ticket, and we didn’t even see any actual surfing (they keep people from the beach for safety). However, it was sunny, hot, the 49ers won the NFC championship, and all was right with the world.

In addition to staying here, and having a room that had a real fire pit in it (well, outside of it), whalf moon bay bloody, Grege also tooled around the downtown Half Moon Bay, which was utterly delightful on a holiday weekend. We stopped in at the San Benito House, right on the main drag, lured in by the promise of the “Best Bloody Mary in the Bay!”. Hey, advertising works. Turns out, they meant HMB, which includes maybe one other bar/restaurant, but it seriously was a phenomenal bloody – the secret apparently being the addition of lots of smoked paprika. Greg certainly enjoyed it, even if the massive celery stalk proved somewhat challenging.

The other signal that HMB is a winning town in my book is that they had a yarn store. Fengari is full of yarn ideas, books, projects and has a ton of inventory in the back. The lovely ladies working there were kind and helpful, but not all up in your grill. Aside from the fact that I already had about a zillion projects underway, I simply could not help myself – I bolemon-dropught a beautiful bright lemon yellow yarn, with the idea that I might make the lovely swing sweater pattern I’d seen a few months ago in Knit Simple. Here’s the good news, the news of my improvement: I bought cheap yarn. I bought yarn which had a sign next to it that said, “Good for Felting!” which might as well mean, “Wipe your ass with this!” I don’t care – it’s a solid wool, slightly scratchy, and incredibly cheap Lamb’s Pride in bulky weight. If I am still going to battle my uncontrollable yarn urges, at least I will make them more economical. This color is called Lemon Drop, and it’s bright, but a slightly darker “lemon” color – as if you added some Dijon mustard to it. It’s actually 85% wool and 15% alpaca, so not entirely a hairshirt experience.

The Knit Simple Bell Sleeve Turtleneck is a really cute design, although I loathe the garter stitch. I really do. There, I said it. It looks JV. It looks dumb. It looks like worms worming around each other, especially in bulky yarn. So I decided it would stockinette, Lamb's Pridelook better in stockinette, realizing there would be a roll at the bottom, but thinking I could live with it. After, oh I don’t know, 25 rows or so, this bitch was still rolling. Rolled up like a rugelach, or a rug. Rolling, in a way that was just wrong. So, I’ve just taken it apart, and starting over. The question is, do I follow the wormy garter stitch pattern? Or do I do a tiny garter border and keep it in stockinette, as I wanted originally? What a cliffhanger! Tune in again in about 6 months to find out. See how I roll.

Cover story: Hi (pointy elf) Hat

I’ll refrain from mentioning the Tyler the Creator song, and also the Fred Astaire song, because I don’t like either of them. But I do like the hi hat, and I made a high hat. More impormorelastminute copytantly, I made a pattern that is on the COVER of a pattern book! The pattern was done in pink, and on this adorable child on the front cover, it’s super cute. I found similar yarn to hand jive, which is yarn that’s thick and thin in different spots – the only other pattern I’ve sepointy_elf_hatsen that calls for this yarn is Ysolda Teague’s Urchin pattern, which is also a good one. But I made mine – two different ones in slightly different sizes for my nephew (Griffin, age 8 and Thea, age 3).

Of course I neglected to actually bring these to Christmas, and they’re still sitting here in our apartment. As I look at these, in a nice creamy white, soft, unusual yarn, I am proud…and then scared. Jesus, are these big wizard hats? They look a little Saurumon, but wait – maybe they’re Gandalf? Ok…ok…Gandalf the Good, Gandalf the Gray. Whew, catastrophe averted.

gandalfz

Stay on target…almost there…

Yes, Porkins, I know, to destroy the death star I must stay on target. But I must confess, 2012 saw me un-doing projects as much as I began them. I started two sweaters – ambitious projects, I realize – but even after making some serious progress, I realized that I’d done one of the following:

– picked the wrong yarn

– picked the wrong needle size

– picked the wrong pattern/lost interest/didn’t care

Points 1 & 2 could have been helped by checking gauge. But isn’t that for weenies? in-progress-failI’ve made some great stuff by winging it, but I guess when you’re making the jump from super bulky accessories to finer yarn making things that you’d actually wear, you must also check gauge. I’m all growns up.
This example to the left is an example of all three (yarn, needle, pattern) being wrong, and potentially the movie I’m watching the in background. Is that the Exorcist?

No, no, no. None of these are working. Help me say it right, Consuela:

Recommended Annual Allowances of Blog (and dog)

How is this possible? Nearly an entire year since I last posted? Well, as usual, it’s because big, strange things are afoot at the Circle K. Last we met, I was living somesundogtimes in Brooklyn, but mostly on an airplane, working at a beer company. Today, I sit in an apartment in San Francisco, working for a silicon valley media company, and petting a gigantic black labrador (squee!). Rocky dog!

As it happens, I actually have been knitting. I travel roughly the same amount as the last gig, if not more, but mostly domestic travel (and lots back to NY, which is nice).

AmĀ  I getting better? I think so? I tried more interesting things in the past two years, and in 2012 I made my first non-accessories item that I’d actually wear. SF doesn’t have the selection of yarn shops that NY or even Brooklyn does, but two stand out as pretty solid: Atelier Yarns, on Divisadero in what I suppose is Lower Pac Heights or maybe Laurel Heights? They also have a bigger store in Marin. Small, but super helpful and a decent selection of books and patterns. They tend to carry more premium yarn brands (rabbit fur yarn!) and the prices can be steep. The other good shop is ImagiKnit in the Mission, which is huge and has a big selection of all kinds of yarn, from the cheapie to the cashmere.

And now let me make the usual overtures to myself that are tied up with New Years Resolutions, that is, I will blog more, remember to photograph more, knit more etc. et alia. blabbity blah. Give me your paw and let’s shake on it.

 

Mitts and Ass.

I am not talking about the Mormon wonder.

Several months ago, I responded to a blog post from one of my favorite yarn shops in Brooklyn, Stitch Therapy. Maxcine is a phenomal instructor, yarn procurer and nice lady, and every other Sunday night, she holds knit alongs or sessions on a topic. This particular one was for learning the Magic Loop, which I’d read and heard about before, but never really understood. In addition to the joy of being held in Maxcine’s shop, the class featured cool local ladies and the inHappy AND Angryimitable Kris Percival, author of Knit Knack Kit and other tomes.

Here’s my opinion of Magic Loop – it only gets magical after 8 rows. It is really challenging for that first part! But I learned, via Maxcine and Kris, a mitten pattern called Chevalier, which is available for free on Knitty (click the link for the pattern). This feels like my first foray into potential Fair Isle territory, which is terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Like Ralph Wiggum, seen to the left, I’m happy AND angry about it.

Anyway, I made two pairs, a gray pair which I promptly lost, and a fuzzy white pair using Martha Stewart’s line of craft yarn from Lion Brand in Alpaca Wool.

I gave it to my friend Devon for the holidays – Devon who is a tiny person with very petite hands. I think she uses them as oven mitts, seriously. But anyway, second time around to knit the somewhat complex pattern ensured that it was nearly flawless! Nearly. Now I patiently wait for some of her famous Gougeres right out of the oven.

 

 

Holidaze Part 3: Jackson Redux

I’m mostly posting this just so you can see an Elf Hat in action. The lovely and talented Sarah was kind enough to don an elf hat on her infant son, Jackson, who is also a neighbor. She swung by last weekend during our football playoffs extravaganza (go NY, go SF). Sadly all the babies I knit this hat for grew out of it almost instantly, but Jackson got a photo in edgewise.

jackson elf hat
Jackson Elf

Holidaze 2: Elf Hat Edition

Man, what’s cuter than babies at Christmas? Nothing. What’s creepier than naked Santas in a Finnish nightmare about the legend of Santa Claus, aka Rare Exports?

Creepy Naked Santa

Me, crazy old lady, the only non-breeder in Park Slope, knitting things for my friends adorable childrens.

Hopefully I’m not as creepy as him. Actually he’s not even Santa. But watch the movie, it’s adorably creepy and very Spielbergian. In the best way possible.

In any case, I found a great pattern that inspired me to knit for the babies Ryan, Jackson, Barrett and Jacob. Best thing about knitting for babies? It takes about 2 seconds, or one long flight across the country or to another country (except eastern Canada). Actually, I take that back…I might have completed one to and from Toronto. Elf Hat with Effect

Elf Hat, Side ViewHow cute did this turn out? I got the yarn at Seaport, using hand dyed Malabrigo Silky Merino in Natural and Ravelry Red. I doubled the yarn to get the best effect and it worked great (I used size 7 round and DPNs as well). Cute as pie and fun. Will post some photos of the kids wearing them; the pattern comes in several sizes for several size baby craniums.