Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 sweaters (and other stuff)

At the beginning of this year, I resolved to knit seven sweaters, one of which I designed myself, which turned out to be the only knitting resolution I unequivocally kept (the rest were a flat out failure, or else need to be judged, um, charitably). Though I really enjoyed branching out this year into tiny sock yarn socks and lacy shawls, sweaters have always been my most satisfying knitting projects; also, this year, it's kind of cool to see all the photos of the different places we were living when I finished them! The first sweater is one of the last thing I knit in Japan: Snow White with Noro Cash Iroha. I miss our tiny Japanese backyard. 

After Snow White, things in Japan got too busy for me to knit, and then too hot while I was traveling in Vietnam and India (too hot is also why I whacked off about six inches of hair right before leaving Hanoi). I was in serious knitting withdrawal by the time I got to Iain's house in Scotland, which nonetheless does not explain why I felt the compulsive need to knit this Snowbird sweater in ten freakin' days. But I did. The photo above was taken in Iain's family's backyard the day before I left. Of all the sweaters I made this year, I wear this one the most, though I am quite embarrassed to say that I have still not woven in all the ends. 

I knit this Streamside cardigan in Los Angeles, where - in Iain's absence - I discovered the amazing time suck that is Netflix instant streaming and figured out how to use a remote control on my camera and take photos of myself, myself. I'm so productive when my boyfriend is in another country. 

I never posted about this but this also happened, I swear! I designed it myself and it mostly came out the way I imagined, but it needs a button or something. I have vague plans of fine tuning this and making it into a real pattern, but they're pretty vague. I count this as fulfilling my New Year's resolution because I did wear it out in public once or twice, but it was definitely not my most satisfying knit. 

I liked my first Cecily Macdonald Glowick sweater so much that I made a Goodale too, out of the madtosh pashima that never became a February Lady sweater, and finished it right before we left for Peru. I'm not a huge fan of this sweater. It hangs funny, and I know I keep saying I'll fix it, but I don't really know when that will be. Can't argue with the color, though - yay, Tart! 

Are you seeing sort of a theme with these poses? I have no idea what this pose is - maybe I'm so busy admiring my handiwork I can't be bothered to look at the camera? If I was on America's Next Top Model, the judges would totally mock me for my lack of posing ferocity and I'd be eliminated right away. In any case. Boe was a test knit for the amazingly talented Anke, and I absolutely love it, even though finishing it in Peru meant that I was't really able to wear it in the weather there. Also, I started knitting it in San Francisco on the BART train, and then I dropped the ball and it rolled down the aisles and under seats right as the door to my stop opened and I had to run after it, and it was one of those really frantic moments when I'm pretty sure I looked like a colossal idiot to everyone else on the train. The photo is from our host family's house in Peru, which was still being built. Our lovely host mother told it me was muy linda, and I felt really special. 

The other Peru sweater and probably my favorite of the whole year - a Tea Leaves cardigan in the most beautiful yarn on the planet. Iain took these photos of me in front of an Inca wall, which is probably way cooler than the sweater itself. 

So those were the sweaters of 2011! (I also started this Acer cardigan, but it quickly fell by the wayside when we started backpacking - there was no way I could cram a sweater's worth of yarn into our already crammed full shared rucksack.) In general, they weren't really as satisfying as the sweaters of the year before. So many short sleeved projects made me feel like I was cheating (plus I can't really wear them now that I'm finally in sweater weather), and I'm kind of meh on most of them. Next year I think I just need to make a few long sleeved, worsted weight cardigans that button all the way up that I can actually wear, especially since it's looking like I'll be living someplace cold. 

When I wasn't knitting sweaters, though, I was designing! I published four patterns this year, which doesn't sound like a lot but there was a lot of behind the scenes knitting and unknitting and things that never became patterns, so it did suck up a fair bit of time. The first pattern, published in early January, was Thisbe, above. 

This pattern was actually published in an actual, real-live magazine, and I am so lame about blogging while traveling that I never actually blogged about it until now. SO LAME, I know. And now that issue is long off the shelves. But in any case, these Ivonne mitts appeared in the second issue of the UK magazine Knit Now, and despite my relative radio silence on the matter in blog form, it was one of the most exciting moments in knitting I've ever had, as well as the one that reassured my father, who I was living with at the time, that all that time I spent knitting and vacantly watching Netflix instant streaming was, in fact, productive.  It is worth noting that the photo above is actually my submission picture and that the thumbs have changed, and also that I think I'll be able to sell the pattern myself eventually, so if you like it, you're in luck! 

The other thing I spent a good amount of time working on this summer was this Phaedra hat. Yay, things with leaves. 

And finally, there was Naiya, a free alpaca cowl pattern I managed to write in Peru, mostly because I wanted an excuse to use my pretty skein of squishy alpaca yarn from Cusco. And that's it, for 2011! If I didn't have as many satisfying FOs as I would have liked, it's only because I was too busy traveling or designing, and I can't complain about any of that. If you like any of these patterns, use the coupon code happy2012 before January 2nd on Ravelry to get 25% off any pattern! Except for the free ones, because they're already free. Happy knitting, and goodbye to an awesome year! 

FO : traveling marilindas

They're done! Actually they've been done almost a month now - after spending half the summer working on the first sock, I blazed through the second one over a few bus rides and one day of staying in the hostel while traveling; I was just lazy about photographing them (and even lazier about getting the colors right; the middle photo is probably the most accurate). But! They're done and they're my first pair of socks in sock yarn ever, so I'm unreasonably proud of them. 

These were an awesome project for traveling, because it was intricate enough to distract me from our numerous long bus rides, but varied enough that I never got bored, the way I sometimes do with lace (sorry, lace). They were also knit in an absurd amount of places: the first sock was started in Seattle, worked on in Los Angeles and Oakland, then Ollantaytambo and Parobamba (I finished the first while at the natural dye workshop, much to the interest of Nilson and Aknar); the second was started in Parobamba, and worked on in or on buses between Puno (Peru), La Paz, Sucre and Uyuni (Bolivia) and finally finished in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.

Yay, socks! 

Raveled here

Sunday, December 25, 2011

happy holidays!

We never do much during actual Christmas day at my house, so it's a perfect time for knitting and watching TV. The happy elf above is, of course, a Korknisser knit in Cascade 220 wool - but my sister was using my computer at the time so I kind of winged the actual pattern from memory, so I was relieved that it came out okay, and also that I was able to find a brand new Sharpie marker to make his face.

In any case - happy happy holidays! I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday season with your families, eating lots of good food and staying out of the cold.

Friday, December 23, 2011

nupps on a plane

I was really excited for our ten plus hours worth of flights back to the States, because I love knitting on planes and was hoping to get through my much neglected Swallowtail Shawl, which I started on the plane ride to Peru and then pretty much didn't touch for three months. I was making pretty good time, too, until I hit the dreaded nupp section. I'd never knit nupps before, but figured I could just follow the instructions and everything would be okay - right? Which was fine, until I got to the purl row, which literally took me an hour. I had to pick up the stitches with my fingernails to purl them. 

Fortunately, we landed in Houston for a connection not long after, and I was able to look up nupp techniques on my cell phone. The most useful one I found was, while making your nupps by K1, YO, K1, YO, K1 into the same stitch, just YO twice for each YO; then, on the purl row, you can slip those YOs into one really loose stitch, which makes the purling insanely easier. After that, I was actually looking forward to making nupps, though this shawl is still littered with mistakes - so here's hoping they're not too noticeable in the end? 

Monday, December 19, 2011

100 Arden hats!

Above: the first Arden hat, at Senbon beach back in Numazu! 

Just a little over one year after I first published it, there are now 100 Arden hats on Ravelry! I know 100 isn't actually that many, but it's still a huge rush for me to see them. In celebration of Arden being the first of my designs to hit triple digits, here are a few of my favorite hats floating about Ravelry (click on the photos to go to their pages): 

Thanks to all the knitters who chose to make Arden over the last year, and especially those who let me share photos of all their hard work! If seeing these gorgeous hats has inspired you to make one for yourself (or as a last minute holiday gift!), you can visit Arden's Ravelry page, or download it for free here


Sunset on Lake Titicaca

We're home, after an insanely fast journey around Peru > Bolivia > Chile > back to Peru. It was an awesome three weeks, and we saw some of the most extreme and beautiful scenery I've ever seen in my life: 

Salt flats in Bolivia

A red lake! 

Also we stood on top of a semi-active volcano, for slightly longer than I am comfortable with.

Though I don't have any photos to show for it yet, there was also much knitting, thanks to the insane amount of time we spent on very long bus-rides. I also taught myself how to do nupps on the plane ride back, which was harrowing. In any case, photos of FOs and WIPs to come - for now, I'm just happy to be wearing more than the same pair of jeans and dirty sneakers for the first time in three months, and am eating way too much exciting food.