Category Archives: knitting addiction

Gadgety

While the internet is all a-flutter over the iPad this week (which, seriously, Apple? The iPad? Hire a few women and see if your naming skills improve, there), I am just as a-flutter over a new gadget which cost me a darned sight less and will be no less cool from a knitting perspective.

One of my favourite knitting tools I already own is a digital kitchen scale. It is fantastic. I use it as often as I use my ball-winder and swift. (Seen below, to the left, with wee little leftover Lorna’s Laces balls for comparison/decoration.) It helps me tell how much yarn I have left in a ball, or if I want to split a skein exactly in half, I can do that by weighing it as I wind. I mean, I know I’m supposed to be using things like this in, well, the kitchen, but come ON. Priorities, people.

Competing Digital Scales.

But that’s not the real shining star, here. Last weekend when I was at the Purple Purl, the ladies there were talking about a new discovery that someone had brought in to knit night – and I didn’t even catch the name of the woman who made this discovery in the group, because I would totally love to give her credit here as I am really just jumping on her bandwagon – that revolutionizes the whole “knitting scale” to a whole new level.

Teeny tiny scale

What’s that to the right of the mama-sized scale? It’s a wee little baby-sized one. Yes, that’s right. An object with a footprint just slightly bigger than an Altoids tin that does all the same functions as the big not-at-all-portable scale. I had to have one, and I went right over to the Lee Valley Tools website and got one.

Teeny tiny scale for teeny tiny purposes.

This tiny little thing will measure your yarn or whatever, down to the fraction of a gram or ounce. Sign me up. (Those are my leftovers from the Tibetan Dreams stole, taking the demo in stride.)

Yes, this now lives in my handbag. Yes, I want to be that knitter who can pull a mini digital scale out of their handbag and not just a spare stitch marker or tape measure.

Move on, Apple, no iPad purchasing over here. This is my kind of gadgetry.

PS – I’m loving the comments on yesterday’s post. KIP stories are the best kind!

PPS – One more day until I add up the final tally for pattern sales that will go into a bit fat donation to Doctors Without Borders. Will be sure to report back on Sunday with the final number!

26 Comments

Filed under coveting, knitting addiction

Hello, People of the Pod

Pattern download link for most recent version, Dec 15th 2013: Podster mitts PDF

For months now I’ve had this pattern brewing up in the back of my brain, just waiting for the opportune moment for me to cast on and write it out. After a while I started to think, “surely, someone else has done this already.” And it’s entirely possible that someone has, but if that’s true I haven’t managed to encounter it yet. This is a fingering-weight glove pattern, but more than that it is a flip-top, convertible glove/mitt pattern (glitten? mlove?). “But Glenna,” you are saying, “that’s nothing new, psh, I’ve seen that before.” Well, this is a convertible glove with the addition of one wee little modification: an i-Pod thumb:

Sept27-PodsterGloves3c

This modified thumb is intended to solve the extremely decadent and modern problem (because really, as problems go this is about eleven millionth down on the list of things that need fixing) of wanting to use your digital music player in cold weather, without having to remove your whole mitten and get cold fingers in the process. Digital music players come in lots of different styles these days, and they all have buttons and switches to press, but the unique thing about the i-Pod is that the little dial relies on the touch of your actual skin. You can pound away at it with your gloved fingers as much as you want, but after a certain point it won’t work unless you expose your actual thumb and fingertips, which means ripping your glove off of your hand in order to change tunes or podcasts.

And so I finally said, “heck with this, I am a knitter, I can solve this problem.” So a couple of weeks ago I marched right over to my stash and pulled out a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy (you know, as you do), and started knitting away. Getting the little peekaboo thumb just as I wanted it took a couple of attempts, but I’m pretty pleased with this particular result. Time will tell once the real fall cool weather starts to sink in, but by Jove I think we’ve got it.

Sept27-PodsterGloves4e

This is, at first blush, a flip-top glove/mitt pattern. At the end of the instructions are three potential modifications to this, the first of which is the ‘podster’ peekaboo thumb, which fashions a ribbing-covered gap over the inside stitches of the thumb. This means that it is snug enough to still fit to your thumb, but loose enough for you to peek the tip of your thumb through and expose it for helpful music player control. The other two modifications are quite logical and not terribly unusual in the slightest, and explain how you could work this alternately as a pair of plain gloves, or plain mittens. So, these instructions are essentially 4-patterns-in-1. (Note: I only worked the modified thumb on one glove. You may choose to do either one, or both, and choose whichever thumb suits you best. Or just screw the fancy thumb and make normal gloves, that’s cool too.)

With the sample shown here I’ve used Dream in Color Smooshy, which is a multi-ply fingering weight yarn with a bit of squish to it. At the pattern gauge of 32 sts/44 rows over 4 inches, it produces a moderately snug gauge (in other words: not loose or drapey, but not so thick that it stands on its own), so if substituting yarns, try to choose something that behaves similarly. Regarding sizing, I have written the pattern instructions for two sizes, loosely intended for a Women’s Small and a Women’s Large/Men’s small. I made the larger size (shown here) and they fit my 7.75-ins hand circumference quite well. If in doubt, measure your hand circumference (or the hand of whoever is receiving these), and if it is 7 ins or bigger I recommend going with the larger size.

One thing to keep in mind for these instructions is that, while I direct you to work in the round and tell you what needle size/gauge to use, I do not tell you what specific method to use. I am assuming that if you are knitting this pattern that you have done at least one project’s worth of knitting in the round, that you know what method you used to do so, and that you are comfortable using this method again. You can execute this on Double Pointed Needles (DPN)s, Magic Loop, or knitting on 2 circulars – it is entirely up to you. (For the record, I worked this sample up using Magic Loop. These days I slide back and forth from DPNs to Magic Loop pretty fluidly.)

Sept27-PodsterGloves4c

The other thing you’ll notice is that I don’t provide any finishing instructions for things like buttons, snaps, velcro, or other means of fastening the mitten top in the “down” position. This is, I will admit, partly out of sheer laziness, but also because I have to say that when I wear flip-top mitts like this, they spend about 90% of the time in the “up” or closed position, and I can deal with a little bit of flopping around when they’re not. You’re more than welcome to take this step, however, and it would be fairly easy to add a fastening of some kind to the back of each wrist.

Sept27-PodsterGloves3

You may download the pattern instructions for free here from my blog, or here in my Ravelry store if you are a Ravelry member, which will also allow you to store in your Ravelry library.

If you find value in this pattern, I would humbly suggest taking the dollar amount that you think it is worth, and donating that amount to your preferred charitable organization (who are, most likely, trying to solve problems that are a little higher on the list than cold podster fingers). I hope that you will enjoy knitting these, and that the gloves keep your hands (or those of a few gift recipients, perhaps?) toasty warm and technologically savvy all season long.

Well, at least until the super cold weather hits, at which time I will be running screaming back to the thrummed mittens and praying for thaw. But these can still live happily in my coat pocket for when I need them – and hopefully, yours too.

 

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27 Comments

Filed under design, finished object: accessories, free pattern, knitting addiction, mittens

Hay is for horses

Hey there folks – where is the time going these days? How is it possible that in a mere two days, October will be upon us? I’m all conflicted about that. On the one hand, I love fall and I love cool weather that allows me to wear my knitted things, and I love that October will bring some travels to NYC and the Rhinebeck wool festival…but on the other hand, time always does tend to pass by faster than you think it should. This whole last year I think the only month that appeared to go by “slowly” was July, and now I have very little recollection of what I actually did in that month.

As far as what I’ve done this past month, well, I have indeed made some good progress on the Cabled Swing Cardi. The chocolatey Berrocco Ultra Alpaca is lovely and soft and heathery…

Photobucket

…however it is possible the alpaca content is not the best idea ever for my hands. Yesterday afternoon suddenly my right hand started to cramp up while in the clasping position, and then this morning the same thing happened when I was turning the shower knobs. Not a huge setback yet, there are still 3 weeks left to go until the Rhinebeck deadline of course….But still, one never does want to be plagued by injury. Here’s hoping a few days of ibuprofen and stretching and 100% wool knits only will do the trick.

In other news, in between agonizing over how best to convince my students that ideas are actually important and do in fact matter a great deal in our every day lives, I’ve started to fall a bit behind and have a couple of book reviews to catch up on. I also have some catching up to do on blogging and passing on good will. Marie at Sel & Poivre and Froggie girl at The Crafty Frog have ever so kindly nominated me for blogger awards, and I was extremely touched.

In the rules of this game, one generally does the “pass it on” thing and nominates more bloggers…I always have such a hard time with that because I feel guilty for excluding people at the expense of others. Y’all know I have my fantabulous sister who also knits and whose blog I think is awesome, and I regularly try to keep my Blogroll (down there at the bottom right) updated with the bloggers I read on a regular basis, and I often link to my knitting friends around these parts who I think are the bee’s knees. Please visit them and know that if I was passing out blog awards, these folks would be the first I would turn to.

When it comes right down to it I think anybody who writes a blog, a knitting blog or cooking blog or whatever-you-are-most-passionate-about blog, is doing something that is not without significance. It takes time, energy, and thought to write a blog, any blog, whether you’re posting every day or every month. I have a lot of respect for anyone who does it, and having this blog right here has been an important experience for me. I could write blog posts while I was working on my thesis and remind myself that writing things down and thinking thoughts was not always going to be an agonizing experience, just as one example, and yanno, that’s not nothing. Reading others’ blogs always reminds me that we are not just our knitting, we are people who find knitting very important, and our blogs are always some very small window on what that means in our lives.

Ever since Ravelry came on the scene a year and a half ago or so, there has been a lot of speculation in the Knitblog world about whether Ravelry would take the place of blogging. And I think there’s some truth to that only if you value Knitblogging for pictures and Finished Object specs and yarn information. But for me Knitblogging is more than just an archive of information; it is a different medium for sharing ideas and expressing ourselves and figuring out who we are as people who identify so strongly as Knitters. I mean, we haven’t abandoned newspapers, magazines, or novels, merely because Google has become such a big part of our lives, you know?

Anyway, if you’re a blogger, cheers to you. Me and my yarn stash salute you.

With that, i’d better get some lunch and continue sorting out my day and the rest of my week…Onwards to October! I sense great things in October, don’t you think? What’s on your knitting plans for October?

10 Comments

Filed under knitting addiction, knitting philosophy, sweaters

From the homefront

Through the aid of some anti-Trojan downlods (VundoFix and ComboFix, as it happens – my AdAware and SpyBot were darned useless), I have managed to negotiate a peace treaty with the computer viruses and have been virus-message free for a few days. I suspect this is only temporary and that the mind-wipe will need to happen after a matter of time, but for the moment I am pleased to have some progress at any rate.

In other news, I promised reports on the Korknisse. While I know logically that these are meant to be representative of Scandinavian folklore, and that by rights they shouldn’t really appear in multiple colours in, say, February, as opposed to appearing in red in, say, December, these little darlings have such a disarming amount of cuteness that I cannot help but return to them.

CaliKorknisse

I can report that ten California corks were welcomed into the flock this week, and were suitably outfitted in bright and sunny hats and sweaters. They seem to be managing well in the cold with their new attire (and just as well, since we are forecast to have yet more snow this week). Currently these cork creatures number 51, and I would like to make it to 100. It’s nice to have specific and frivolous goals sometimes, you know?

Stay warm and keep the knitting close by. :)

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Filed under knitting addiction, korknisse

The ‘Brennan Cardigan’

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

So, a couple of posts ago I mentioned how my sister had just finished a really awesome sweater, and was going to let me talk about it over here. It’s really a stupidly geeky knitting story to be honest, but since I know I can’t possibly be the only television-obsessed knitter* out there, I’d go ahead and blather about it.

 

BrennanSweater2

The first thing that you need to know is that I regularly watch the show Bones. And when I say ‘regularly’, I mean that it’s become the only show that I have to watch when there’s a new episode out. Most of my other shows that I was addicted to are now either off the air (things like Alias or Buffy), about to be going off the air (Gilmore Girls), on painfully long hiatuses (Battlestar Galactica) or sucking so hard that I don’t even want to bother any more (Top Model, Grey’s Anatomy). To be fair, I don’t think Bones is about to win any awards any time soon. I enjoy the cast and I enjoy the series of books that the program is (loosely, VERY loosely) based upon, but the writing is pretty darned mediocre. Most of the time, I enjoy the pretty. If there’s a new episode airing on Wednesday nights when I choose to go to Lettuce Knit for Stitch ‘n Bitch night, I get M to tape Bones and then we watch it later.

Brennan1Brennan2Brennan3Brennan4

So, we spent a lot of the first season mocking the wardrobe and jewelry selections for the main character, Dr. Temperance Brennan. Sure, the woman’s a top-ranked forensic anthropologist and spends half her day bent over lab tables or mucking through crime scenes in boots and jumpsuits, but whatever! That’s no reason she can’t look like she walked off a Vogue cover shoot, right? Riiiiigghhhht. Thankfully, by late Season 1 and now in Season 2, her clothes have started to look more like things a 30-something modern professional might actually wear, and occasionally (like when she’s busy brooding over family history issues), she gets a sweater to wear.

This one (pictured in a few scant shots above) was what she wore in a couple of scenes in the Season 1 finale almost exactly a year ago, and M and I both fell in love with it. The shawl collar, the extra-long length, the bits of v-shaped ribbing at the sides, mmmmm. We wanted it. I was emailing with a friend of mine later that same week, who also knits and also watches Bones, and asked her, “Is it wrong that in my head I’m trying to reverse-engineer that sweater Brennan wore in those 2 scenes on Bones?” and she said, “No, because I want one too and if you write up a pattern you have to give me a copy immediately.” And it just so happened that at the time, M had been staring over this heap of worsted-weight 100% wool that she’d gotten for a song from a friend’s sister, and had been pestering me to write her up a pattern for some kind of long cardigan sweater. Well, my fannishness and knitting obsession combined, and I did my best reverse-engineer job that I could. It ain’t perfect, but it’s darned comfy:

 

BrennanSweater4

Check out that detail on the side:

 

BrennanSweater3

It took M the better part of a year to execute it, in between putting it down to work on other things. Also, she and I will both freely admit that the diagonal v-shaped ribbing at the side, while gorgeous, slowed things down a whole lot more than if it had just been plain stockinette. Also, while I did my best at pattern-writing, a lot of stuff got filled in later and so there are gaps in my orignal notes with things like, “do stuff with short rows here”, or “figure out how to write this on a chart later”. So if I can go back and figure out how to fix these things, I’ll happily post the pattern here later.

The other thing I failed on with this first attempt is that I should have made the neckline much lower – you know, for that bit of decolletage for when Agent Booth shows up late at night with Chinese food – and made the shawl collar wider. But M is pleased and so am I. I’d like to make myself one, too. You know, when I get done knitting the list I already have that’s a mile long of course. Hah.

Incidentally, there are only 2 more new eps of this show left this season, which makes me kind of bummed. I’ll need to find some more cracktastic viewing for the summer…

*I recently discovered during my time of injury that my television addiction is not nearly as strong as my knitting addiction. Go figure, eh? ;)

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Filed under brennan cardigan, fandom, knitting addiction

Hold that thought

Le sigh. The left arm is doing better than it was, but it ain’t back to normal. I may have to take another few days off knitting entirely, once again, and it just makes me want to weep since I have soooooo many projects that I want to cast on for, many of them socks or sock-like things.

I realized, when paying specific attention to the motion of my hands and arms during knitting, that I was twisting my left arm slightly every time I helped a stitch off the LH needle to the RH needle. I don’t know if I’ve always done this or if it was a recent thing, but over the last couple of days I’ve tried working on Poppy with a more immobile left arm and this seems to be putting less stress on my elbow. (Just 3 inches away from finishing the body.)

PoppyApr11

However, as soon as I try holding a set of DPNs, things really do tense up in the elbow area, so I’m still clearly recovering from an RSI that hasn’t resolved itself yet. So, cold turkey for a few more days + icing + ibuprofen. If it’s still not better by next week I will have to go in to see someone about it. Woe. I don’t want my knitting to hurt me. And more importantly, I don’t want to not be able to knit. (Next week I travel to San Francisco for a conference and I am considering – wait for it – not bringing any knitting with me. I know, I just about pass out when I say that.) My sister is gleefully knitting away on cotton washcloths – oh why dost the cotton mock me so? It knows my arms are not strong enough to take it.

I am learning a few things about myself and my habits, though. One is that my knitting addiction is clearly stronger than my television addiction. If I’m knitting, I’ll leave anything on the TV even if it’s a movie I’ve seen five times already. But if I’m sitting there not knitting? Meh. So not worth it unless it’s a new episode of one of my handful of regular shows. (These are, and I know the guilty pleasure status of all of them, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Office.) And I do have other things to do this week in the evenings, such as, oh, write that presentation for that conference next week, or deal with the pile of grading I just got yesterday. But still. It ain’t knitting.

What do you do when you’re not knitting?

4 Comments

Filed under injury, knitting addiction