Wednesday, November 30, 2011


 Wow, November is over already? Where did it go?
It's been a good month for hexipuffing, for a lot of reasons.
I also got my Lorna's Laces Big Bag o'Fun from the Loopy Ewe this week! Yay!
So many pretty balls of yarn.
I'm thinking of posting a puff a day for December, sort of like an advent calendar...
In november, hexipuffing hit the big 50 mark, and it's still going strong.
Soon, the feline overlord will be completely hidden under puffs! I'm not sure how she'll feel about that.
I also made the Hexipuffs of Catan for nerd Wars, and it's taught me how to join puffs together. I might get a start on that, now that I have a piece of joint puffs to work from. maybe the blanket will sort of spiral out from here.
Yay puffs!

For the love of cats blanket

Dare to be square!
For the Giving Nerds challenge this round, I'm knitting a cat blanket inspired by Sheldon's pillow on Big Bang theory.
It's just a striped garter stitch blanket. i'm making it out of Linkcraft DK, a bright, poppy acrylic I first bought in large quantities when I started to knit. I've been trying to find projects for it ever since.
I like the way it's coming out in the blanket, so that might be a good use for it.

For some reason though, I'm bored with knitting this. I don't know why. It's stripey, colorful, easy, but I find myself procrastinating after every row.

Oh well.
Still finished it, that's all that matters, right?
Which means another Melting of the Cube.

Goooo nerd wars!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm a Loopy Groupie - or: The Fandom of Shopping

Some shopping places get it right.
Yes, we all know it's a business. We buy what they sell. but with so many shops online and (if you're lucky) around town, how do you choose where to shop?
If we were all perfectly rational people, as economic model would have it (for you engineers out there, the horse is a sphere), the decision would be easy.

But we're not all rational. We don't just want the best price for the best product. We want the intangible warm n' fuzzies, that bit of a personal touch.

You hear it over and over again. "Shop local. Support your community. Don't shop online."
Does that mean that all online shops are big, anonymous, business-only, bottom-line enterprises? Are all truly local-to-you shops nice and friendly and caring?
Yeah, well, no.

There are shops that just make you happy to be there. And I won't lie, a large part of that is special goodies and a personal touch.

Take, oh, I don't know. A yarn shop for example? Yeah, no one saw that one coming...
Where I'm looking, The Loopy Ewe is easily the most talked about yarn shop out there. People love Sheri and the Elves, as her staff is known.
I must have heard about them on a podcast, or maybe on Ravelry. Their website is gorgeous and tempting, and their selection of sock-weight yarns (as well as other goodies like lace and sport weight gorgeousnesses, patterns, fiber, kits and more) is overwhelmingly great.

I was a complete yarn noon when I first ordered from them, but I was completely charmed when my first order arrived in the mail with a little present and a hand-written note on my order form. Awwwwww.
Warm n' fuzzies all around.

They also have frequent shopper points. For each $250 you spend, you get store credit. Who doesn't love that?

But their coup de grace is what's called The Loopy Groupies, a status one attains after 6 orders from the Loopy Ewe.
From their site:

So - about those Loopy Groupies - what IS that exactly? We include fun little gifts in your first five packages from us. Why five? Because that's how many fun little gifts we could come up with! :-) With your sixth package, you become an official member of the Loopy Groupie Club. (We fondly refer to you as "Loopies" for short). With that, you'll receive:
  • a fun care package to welcome you in (a cool tote with a couple of goodies inside)
  • Loopy Kisses with each order (you'll have to wait to see those in person)
  • advance notice of all new yarns and products right when they go up on the website (although if any of you have a particular yarn line you're watching for, of course you can email me and request to get notice of that yarn early. We're always happy to do that. The only exceptions to that are for Wollmeise, Numma Numma and The Sanguine Gryphon lines, simply because they sell out too quickly for the notice to get to you in time.)
  • an extra appreciation gift a couple of times a year, when we find something fun that we want to include in your order that month!
We hope to have YOU as a Loopy Groupie, soon!
And today, I joined their ranks.
As well as being the fastest delivery I've ever had from the US, my package came with free yarn.
That's right. Free.
A freebie skein of Madelinetosh Sock welcomes me to the rank of yarn overspenders.

Sure, maybe if I shopped around, I could find their yarns on special on other sites for less money. But the Loopy Ewe has won my heart, and they're going to be at the very least my first stop whenever I need to increase the stash.

Do you have warm n' fuzzies for a yarn shop, online or in person? Or is it always only a business decision?

Monday, November 28, 2011

November Man of Mystery Socks

attracts cat hair
Clue 1: Cast-on and cuff
They're done!
Black man socks for Movember.
That's right, black. Black cotton socks with a cable detail along the sides.
moustache detail
I knit these as a mystery sock with the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry. It was great fun in principle, but I was worried the whole time that Mr. Mechanicalpenguin wouldn't like them, or that they wouldn't fit.
Black yarn wasn't as horrible as I thought it'd be, but I made sure I only knitted in good lighting conditions, and I knitted these slowly, with many more colorful projects in between.
They turned out okay.
The Kollage yarn is nice and hopefully not too warm, and the pattern was fun enough.
Not sure I'd use either again, but hey. Good socks.

50 Hexipuffs

Hey fellow hexipuffers, and you not-yet owlie-addicted.

It's time for another quick hexipuff update. Today, I knit past the 50 mark. Yay for me!

This is not the complete set, because there are some more puffs in the Catan pad. but it's looking good!

Where's your puffing at?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hexipuffs of Catan

For Nerd Wars, this round we had an angles challenge.
Sure, I could have just made one hexipuff and talk about angles and stuff. but where's the challenge in that?

So I set up to knit what my non-knitting, gaming friends suggested to me since they saw my first hex:

Make a game board of Settlers of Catan.

Settlers has been our go-to board game for several years.
I've been playing it back when I lived in Germany, and I've introduced all my gaming friends to the fun and complexity of it. it really is a fun and addictive game.
And it's perfect to be transformed into squishy hexipuffs!
I used Moda Vera Noir in the grey mix for the mountains. Regia Cotton in reds became the brick tiles, Crystal palace Panda Superwash in menswear was the perfect green for forests, and the Lincraft baby Grand made a mellow meadow. I was stumped for the wheat fields, so I just dyed my own, and I'm very pleased with how it came out. the base is more ubiquitous Moda Vera Noir.

Finally, the desert is Panda Cotton in chocolate almonds, which looks suprisingly camo.

I also learned something new when knitting this field. Sewing the puffs together is way easier than knitting them on! So that's what I'm going to be doing from now on.

Have you ever knit a themed hexipuff patch?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lace and seaweed and silk and COWL!

 This yarn is magical.
I"ve been coveting this yarn since I first heard of it.
It's Hand Maiden Sea Silk, a yarn made from silk, seacell (derived from seaweed) and magic.
It's luscious and soft without feeling draggy, and working with it reminds me of the sea.

The yarn had to become a cowl. Something up close to the face so its lusciousness could be fully appreciated.

I thought it was going to be for me, but the colors are absolutely perfect for my mom, so I'm knitting the cowl for her.
After much Ravelry-searching, I've settled on the Frost Flower cowl by Esther Budd. Something lacy but not too frilly, something that will play well with the oceanic theme, I hope.

Urgh. I’ve decided that picot cast-on may be my new least favorite. My picots are a little uneven, but I’m not doing them again. I wasn’t cut out to casting on 144 stitches. Especially when you’re effectively casting on many more than that, only to bind them into pretty(-ish) little points.

 I love the feeling when the chart is coming together in my head and making sense.
Note though, the pattern says “repeat 32 stitches of chart 4 times”. They do mean repeat the whole chart, all 36 stitches of it.
Something about shuffling the pattern repeat over messed with my head, but then it made me understand the pattern a lot better, and soon it was flying along.
 I decided to stop at 1 1/2 repeats of the chart, lest I run out of yarn.
I like the odd number better anyway, so that worked out well.
I had to learn how to block the cowl, but the result was sooo worth it.
It's an elegant accessory, more decorative than warm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bee My Mitts (featuring a flower)

 I love fingerless gloves and sleeves.
I have a box full of various sleeves and mitts that I wear in winter, especially at the computer, or when writing longhand. I love to cozy up my wrists.
I got some Yarn Chef yarn in a Ravelry destash in colours that didn't quite work for me, so I overdyed them.
The pale yellow and eggplant-skin purple turned a rich warm yellow and a soft brown, perfect bumblebee colors.

I love stripes, and as evidenced earlier, I love the ridges of alternating purls and knits in the round. So when I found the Hive Mitts on Ravelry, how could I resist?

I made some modifications to keep the stripes in the self-striping yarn lined up.
I love how these turned out! The yarn is beautifully soft and luscious, and I can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can enjoy my brand new mitts.
Given our Melbourne climate, I foresee getting a lot of use out of these babies.

I need to make myself more mitts and gloves and sleeves.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Crafty Bulbausaur Pumpkin

I got a shipment of yarnies! Hooray!
They're from Another Crafty Girl, a name I'd heard buzzed about on podcasts and on blogs. And rightly so! Her colors are wonderfully rich, and now that I have some of her yarn in my hands, I can confirm that her base is squishy and smooth, just like I love it!
I got one of her Strong Socks and one Merino Sock, and they're both fab.

I admit, I bought Bulbasaur for the name. Who can resist a yarn dyed and named after a classic Pokemon? not me.

The other yarn is The Great Pumpkin, and it really reminds me of the most beautiful fall pumpkin.

They even look great together.
I don't have firm plans for these yarns yet, but I'm pretty sure the orange will become socks.
The Bulbasaur reminds me a bit of my Malabrigo, color-wise (except the Malabrigo Solis is really more blue, but from a distance, the two overall colors are very similar), and it's a good color for me, so it may become gloves or a hat.

Oooh, a Bulbasaur hat. now there's potential...

Monday, November 7, 2011

I am made from WIN.

I'm a lucky person. Not $50-bill on the sidewalk lucky, but things-work-out lucky.
I don't win things very often, and I'm certainly no sweepstaker.
In fact, I can tell you every single item I've won in anything, ever.

This week, however, has been unusually full of win.
First, I got a message from a sock knitting Ravelry group, Sock Knitters Anonymous. I'd knitted their mystery sock back in September. Lovely sock, adored the yarn, fell in love with the colour.
And now I've won a prize. And it's yarn!
I got to pick a skein of Goddess Knits sock yarn from her Etsy shop. In honour of the occasion, I picked one in a cheery looking yellow-green, to remind me of the chartreuse sock challenge.
That, and my stash is woefully low on both yellow and green.

But wait, there's more!
Today I come home to a message from my indomitable Nerd Wars team captain, telling me I've won the Round 1 submission draw!

So full of win.

So in short, knit along with others, and fight for your nerddom. Not only does it lead to all kinds of fantastic projects and stretch your knitting, sometimes, you can even walk away with cool prizes for your efforts.

Nerd Wars Tournament 3 Month 1 Summary - In which we geek out.

That's right, it's 6 for 6.
What does that mean? It means I submitted six projects to answer the six challenges. Scored and scored.
What's even more awesome is that not only did I manage to submit all six projects for round 2, I also won a prize pattern from my team! I chose a super awesome hat that I've wanted for a while. It's called the Vine Leaves beret, and I have the perfect yarn in mind for it. I wonder if I can manage to cast it on for next month's challenges...

Here's what I submitted:

Scientific: Pre-History: Big Bang Hat
Technical: Colortastic: finger moustache
Nerd Culture: Best-Dressed Nerds: Sheldon's Bozite Hat
Team Spirit: You Say It's Your Birthday: a pyramid bag
Intellectual: I Haiku: Pink Camo socks
Giving Geeks: Think (more than) Pink: a chemo jumper for a cat

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Foliage Squared

Jared Flood's Turn a Square hat is one of those great classic patterns that will work on pretty much everyone.
I wanted to knit something for my dad that he would actually enjoy.
My dad is very fashion-conscious, and he doesn't use something out of politeness.
I wasn't sure how he'd feel about shawls, even bold, urbane ones like Stephen West's designs, so I figured I'd make him something small. A hat.
My dad and I both have a head for hats, and we have the same head size.
Easy, right?
I wanted something soft and non-scratchy. I wasn't sure how he'd feel about pure wool, so I went with this lovely brown tencel/acrylic blend and some baby-soft acrylic for the stripes.
I wanted autumnal colors to go with his coloring, something warm and bright but classy.
I couldn't be more pleased with the result.
You can see the jogless jog in the frontal picture. I think it's nice and subtle.
I hope dad likes his new little hat, because otherwise, I'll gladly take it back. ^_^

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

20 Hexipuffs

20 hexipuffs done! Whoohoo!
I've also started hand-dyeing some of my yarns to give myself some more variety.
My first attempts were made with 9what else) food dye, and it's come out, well, interesting.
I might have to experiment more and see what I can come up with.
Playing with colors is addictive. Who knew?
I love looking at my puffs all sprawled out. The colors are all so pretty next to each other.
So let's finish up with some close-ups of the hand-dyeds.
Do you dye your own puff skeins? Do you have a color scheme?