Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Knitting while Japan

 Happy leap Day, everyone!
I've finally gotten my act together after travelling to Japan.
I had grandiose ideas of how much knitting time I would have.
You know. A one-hour flight, one hour layover, then a mammoth 10-hour overnight flight, followed by two 1 1/2 hour train rides just to get to Nagano... I was feeling ambitious.
I packed my lovely fuzzy yarns I intended to use for my Deep In The Forest mittens, and a set of bamboo circular needles, just in case flying with knitting needles was on the no-no list again.
Turns out I can't count to 70 though, so I got to do the cast-on again.
And that was pretty much all I got done, since I managed to sleep for a surprisingly large amount of the flight, and once on the train, i was too busy taking photos of everything.

in the end, I got one mitten done. in fact, i closed the thumb while everyone around me was hustling for our waiting taxi.
I had to run, but hey, I can't just stop in the middle of kitchenering!

That wasn't the only project I had with me though. I didn't know how tiring/complicated doing a colorwork mitten would be (turns out, quite), so I had an easier project, too. A mainly-garter shawl called Clockwork, by Stephen West.
great pattern, but onca again, I failed at directions, and a bus trip's worth of progress was ripped back because I forgot to do increases when I should have.

I took some little birdies with me to take action shots in the snow. I also had ideas of taking more pics of my knitting and me knitting in the snow. Didn't quite happen. I only have this one shot.
there sure was a lot of snow...

Of course, once we got to Tokyo, I was on a mission to buy yarn. not just any yarn. i wanted Noro, and I wanted it in the colorway 95 that I'd seen in a knitting book a while ago and was in love with.
After I finally got the chance to duck into Yuzawaya, I found my Noro, and two little Melody skeins.

What have I learned form this first big trip with knitting?
It's good to pack enough knitting, but don't be too ambitious.
Chart reading and following directions may be harder than it looks.
Always take a garter or plain stockinette project for long bus/train rides where you still want to see what's going on.
Have a yarn plan to make sure you get some crafty shopping done while travelling with non-crafty people.

And finally, Japan = awesome. But we knew that already.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Photography Friday - Knitting Tokyo Style

Is there anything more cosy than sitting at home under your heated blanket and knitting away while your scarf-toting friends are banging on your door?

Window display for a shop that sold neither yarn nor knitwear, in Tokyo.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Photography Friday - In Deep Snow

You wish you were here. Wearing a fabulous hand-knitted mask and enjoying knee-deep powder snow on a bluebird day.
Admit it. You do.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knitting in Action

 Remember the Ninja Mask I knit for snowboarding?
It's finally seeing some action.
It's working exactly as I hoped it would. It's warm, but lets me breathe, and my goggles don't fog up while wearing it.
It freezes at the mouth, but that's not a big deal at all.
I'm so glad I have it out here in the deep powder!
What can I say? Life is grand.
I might need to knit myself another one of these. Too awesome.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chubby Chirps

You know how it is. Or maybe you don't.
Some days it feels like all knitting is going your way, the next, stuffing is coming out of your head and you hardly know which way is up.
Well, chubby chirps, those tiny, squishy yarn birds that love to live deep in your stash of leftover no-longer-loved balls, feel that way every day.
To show some love to the squishies, I decided to take them on a trip.

They seemed excited to be taken along and were happy to pose in the airport, but then they became suddenly camera-shy.
I caught one quick snapshot of Electric Blue frolicking in the deep powder pockets of Nagano, but they've been shy ever since.
Will we see them some more on their holiday?
Or will they prefer the homely life?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy yellow gloves beribboned

Did I mention I love knitting gloves? I also love knitting complicated patterns on my accessories.
Enter Julia Mueller and her fabulous glove designs.
She's hosting a knitalong this month for her newly released glove pattern, Morgan. A beautiful glove held together by a ribbon. Gorgeous.

I still had the Decadently Divine yarn I'd won from Sock Knitters Anonymous, and I've been drawn to yellow-greens lately.
Time to cast on.

Well! This pattern flew by, and I managed to cable without a cable needle! So proud.
Okay, so there was some ripping out, and I didn't exactly feel too bright and shiny when I realised half way up the looooong cuff that I was twisting one cable in the wrong direction. Never mind. It's all good.

I ripped back the top of the hand several times as for some reasons, my stitches refused to be in the correct place at the correct time. I *think* it all worked out in the end...

They're nice gloves overall. Unfortunately, the yarn, already soft in the skein, softened up even more after a soak, making for a rather slouchy glove, even at the smallest size.
I suppose I'll gift them on.

Things I've learned from this project:

  • how to cable without a cable needle
  • make sure you read the cable twists in a chart carefully
  • certain yarns do better with certain projects
  • I need more occasions to wear full gloves

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Heartfelt Fail

 Sometimes, things knitted items look irresistably cute in the photo. So cute that you want to knit them, and knit them now.
Who cares if in the back of your mind, you know it's not really a brilliant idea? You *want* this latest thingamajig.

That's what it was like for me and the heartfelt rings. They're cute! They're small! They let me use up more of my feltable wool! You know, the one that I bought to make myself a felted bag.
These rings are quick to knit. Even though I had no idea what size I should be shooting for. So I made three, to see what would come out.
Then I tried felting them.
And felting them some more.
And boiling them, then dunking them in ice water.
Then tossing them in with the laundry.
I contemplated stomping on them, but let's face it, at the end of the day, they're still fat, squishy, kinda-felted tubes.
They sure look cute in photos though...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Photography: Daring Hexiblanket

Hexipuffs can pop up in the most unexpected places.
Being primarily of a yarnie persuasion, you would expect them to be highly afraid of running water.
not so! in fact, especially groups of hexipuffs sometimes crop up lichenlike on rocks and cliffs and riverbanks, perching precariously close to a soaking.

We should all be as open-minded and daring as those little hexipuffs.
So this week, try something you thought you aren't suited to, and see where it takes you.
As always, keep your camera ready and your eyes focused!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Points of Feeling Clever

Knitting on double-pointed needles makes me feel smart. It's a bit like juggling with toothpicks, but it's worth it.
Usually, when knitting in the round, I knit on one circular needle and magic loop* it.
When knitting hexipuffs, I use two shorter circulars because it goes a little bit quicker for me, and the cable of the needles I use (inherited from my maternal grandma, with love) are a bit stiff.

But for very small circular projects, like, say, the fingers of gloves, i find DPNs to be the best option.
I have a set of 5 bamboo DPNs in size 0 (2.00 mm) and they are slightly bent to my hands, making the knitting fly round and round and round.

*Fun fact, I was magic looping before I'd ever heard the term, and I felt incredibly clever for coming up with it. Then I started to read about knitting online and saw that I had just un-vented a thing that existed in book form. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nerd Wars Tournament 4

A new round of Nerd Wars is here!
A new chance to combine supreme geekdom with crafting excellence. Or, you know, crafting fail. Whichever comes first.

A lot of us hung out for the midnight reveal in the chat room to see what the challenges would be for this round.
Of course midnight Nerd Wars time is a balmy 4pm the next day for me...

Anyway, this time around, the challenges range from Your Specialty (a technique you are particularly fond or proud of) and single-skein projects to has for charity to something inspired by a mnemonic, inspired by technology and ingenuity to Twue Wove.

Of course, I already have plans. oh, how I have plans.
And those plans just happen to coincide with plane knitting and the crafting I will hypothetically be doing in Japan.
Or I'll be making some last-minute items when I come home, who knows?

I'm also taking on a dissertation (a three-month project) this time around, so there'll be a lot of crafting in my future.
Yay for nerdery and crafts!