24 January, 2009

Seriously, what am I doing with my life...

...that I have yet to do anything like this:

(by Kelp)

Holy handspun and knit up in the most fabulous pattern ever, Batman. I'm not worthy.

19 January, 2009

Two more DONE!

I am slamming out the finished accessories these days. Possibly because these days, the gym is closed and spring semester hasn't yet started at Prescott College so I apparently feel no real need to think about my thesis. I expect things to slow down soon.

In the meantime:
2 hats, 2 days
One for Chris M., one for Kenny. Each one took most of one day (Chris's on Sunday, Kenny's today). Together, they took almost one ball of Rowan Calmer and Noro Silk Garden (at first I wrote "slik garden"). The pattern is, of course, the impeccable Turn a Square by the illustrious Jared Flood.

File also under: why I love ComicLife; why I love screen shots.

File under: secretly awesome

I sort of love it all. Except the purse.

18 January, 2009

3 FOs so far this year...

...and also, the good/better eating habits are back on again. K and I both lost 6 pounds in the first two weeks of 2009. Now if only the gym would open again. We tried walking the "big loop" yesterday and almost froze. It's sad when three miles of speed walking isn't enough to keep the feeling in your toes.

So! On the 7th I should have blogged, since I finished this year's first pair of socks. Although technically I started them in December, so I don't know if they count.
1st 2009 FO!
(Apparently, this color combination is going around. Check out what I saw on Cheryl's blog today, and then this on Flickr). I used a jogless striping method for these, and I'm very pleased with the lack of an obvious join. I dislike, however, what the one-row stripes do when stretched. Don't they look much nicer around the toe, where they don't show the color blips from the rows above and below?

Then, last week, Kenny realized his head was really cold and requested (be still my heart!) his first handknit thing ever (from me, that is). I rushed out and bought--with the last of last year's gift certificate!--a skein of Dale of Norway Baby Ull, aka the yarn with bottomless yardage. Seriously, has anyone ever finished one of those things? [Speaking of, the socks above are an attempt to use up all the leftover Baby Ull from last year's Anemoi mittens. So now I have little leftover balls of 3 or 4 different colors of the same yarn. I smell potential.]
Here's what I made him:

The charcoal stripes are more of the same leftovers from the socks (and thusly, the mittens). I started from the top because I am either too lazy to swatch or I disbelieve it would have told me the truth anyway. Or both. So I just increased until it was roughly big enough to cover the top of his head (which I overestimated, hence the slight puckering on the sides), and then knit straight on down, adding 5 stripes along the way.

My next FO is my first completed woven object:
1st weaving project, completed!
Yayyy! I'm using it under my loom to stop the banging sound that beating makes. Stealthy weaver, that's what I aim to be. The second project is also done, but hasn't yet been washed or photographed. The third is sitting on my loom waiting for me to cut it loose--in a bad way. I messed up. We won't talk about that yet.

05 January, 2009

Help save handmade toys in the USA

From Handmade Toy Alliance

The issue:
In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

-A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
-A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes cloth diapers to sell online must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
-A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.

And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

Click on the link at the top to speak up about this.

04 January, 2009

2008 Knits in Review

Oh, blargh! Fdsflickrtoys is crapping out on me. I am finding it difficult to make the collage of images that belongs with this post. Will you take a list instead of images? I know, boring. Also, I realize this post is kinda late. You'll soon see why. I'll try again with the mosaic-making later.

Here is my COMPLETE LIST OF FINISHED KNITTED OBJECTS from 2008 in its entirety (and of course, you could look at the old Flickr to see them all as a set):

Fiesta Mittens by Lucy Neatby (01/08)
Frivol hat (01/08)
Cabled mitts (01/08)
Ribbed green hat (01/08)
Textured cotton hand towel (01/08)
2nd frivol hat (02/08)
Rainbow skinny scarf (02/08)
Baby socks (02/08)
Baby Surprise Jacket (02/08)
One-day Beret in blue (02/08)
One-day Beret in autumnal stripes (02/08)
Stripy socks (3/08)
Bonbon cable scarf (3/08)
Anemoi Mittens (3/08)
Diamond Modular Scarf (3/08)
Wedding dishcloth (3/08)
Top down striped sweater(3/08)
Ankle socks (4/08)
Cozy Cabled Socks (5/08)
Loopy Noro hat (5/08)
Loopy Manos hat (5/08)
Striped Noro scarf (7/08)
Green cabled socks (8/08)
Yoga socks (8/08)
N&S's Wedding Blanket (9/08)
Dad's alpaca scarf (9/08)
Chevron scarf (9/08)
Woodland Shawl (10/08)
Silky Wool cardigan (10/08)
Heelless socks (10/08)
Loopy Lamb's Pride hat (10/08)
Formal Boot Bag (11/08)
Alpaca beret (11/08)
Longways Noro scarf (11/08)
Buttery cowl (11/08)
Dumpling hat (11/08)
Phiaro scarf (12/08)
Cabled wool hat for Laurie (12/08)
Just enough Ruffles (12/08)

Um, 39 projects. And ten of them are actually pairs of things (mittens, socks). Holy freaking cow, right? I'm so glad I kept a list going. Otherwise I think I would have forgotten about more than half of these. I wonder if this is the high water mark? Is this the crux of my productivity? Is it all downhill from here?

We shall soon see. Because I just got...

a Looooooom!
1st day weaving
(Knitting needles? What knitting needles? Of course I'm kidding. What I think I meant to say was, 'Thesis? What thesis?')
I love, love, love my new rigid heddle loom. It's a Flip, by Schacht, 20 inches. I agree with the masses who say it's relatively beginner friendly, but to those who say they warped theirs in 20 minutes? Ha, I say, to that. Took me dang near half a day. But worth it. I'm being cautious and using cheapo kitchen cotton to learn how it all works. It's easier to see where I've screwed up when everything is worsted weight ecru. And so far, I've screwed up plenty, but not enough to dissuade me from keeping on. It's amazing how fast it goes, this whole weaving thing. The inches just fly by.

So what did I learn in 2008, in regards to knitting?
Hmm. I learned that I love making hats in a side to side fashion (Loopy hat, Frivol, Dumpling hat). I discovered the wonderous wonders of alpaca. I learned linen stitch, got better at my short row skills, knit two sweaters of my own unventing, and increased my knitting library tenfold (it's time for a new bookshelf, I think). I definitely honed my sale-yarn instincts. I traveled with my knitting and didn't get "caught" by TSA, not even once. My stash did not decrease, but it certainly bettered itself. I gained an appreciation for good tools: I now have blocking boards, a tub for handwashing, various organizational aids, and most recently (thanks, Dad!) a swift. My very own swift! I sort of fell in love with Noro this year, as well as Cascade's Venezia worsted. I started (and almost immediately stopped) learning to hand spin. Maybe that's one for oh-nine.

I'm looking forward to this year, and I hope you'll all continue to stop by here, whether you knit or not.

Chúc mừng năm mới! Happy New Year!

As it should be. Can you imagine someone eating durian on an airplane?

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr