Saturday, July 05, 2008

Whirlwind Tour

Hello. It's been awhile. Although the page still exists, I have been absent for some time. I intend to change all that. I promise soon I will be providing the "where's Christina" highlight reel. But for now, more pressing matters. I have decided to kick off my blogland reentry with the Tour de Fleece

So just like the tour I have divided my goals into the trek upward and downward. As I have only recently just started spinning I will be working through most of my "grinding practice" stash, first. My goal is to end up with 4 completed skeins by the end of the tour, one for each week of the tour.

First weeks goal.

8 oz grey top.

There it is on my messy floor.

Tommorrow I begin, wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This post is brought to you by.....

The Letter L and the number 1.

Today, we are going to talk about things that begin with L. The first thing, kids, is lost. When we lose something it means we don't remember where we put it. On Sunday, I lost the nonattached sleeve to my sweater. So when we lose something we also look (another L word).

L, also starts many other important words (love, lion, luggage, lamb). But most importantly the letter L is for Laundry, which is where I found my missing sleeve. See the sleeve sitting arrogantly among the sheets I took off the bed?

It turns out that after I had taken the second sleeve off the blocking board I placed it on the bed (I am not sure why I didn't put all the peices on the bed, but there you have it). I then took the sheets off the bed and remade the bed with new sheets encasing my non attached sleeve in my dirty sheets and tossing them downstairs to await their turn in the laundry. Luckily, Chad moved sheets and the sleeve came out or else I may have had garbled knitting and pink sheets.

So, now for the number 1. One finished sweater!

This sweater is a modified version of this pattern . I adjusted the sweater so that it falls to my natural waist rather than being cropped. I am not sure where the cropped movement came from, but I never really got on the bus and I think I am unlikely to start now. Secondly, I adjusted the sleeves so that they were not rolled up on my upper arms. I can't find a lot of women who list their upper arms as their favorite attribute, in fact, I like most women I know...... think our upper arms are too bulky. Therefore, I couldn't really support having a cuffed roll on a place I already don't like. Finally, I also cut the amount of ribbing on the bottom in half to make it looke more petite.

"Attempt the end and never stand to doubt;
Nothing's so hard, but search will find it out."

- Robert Herrick

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pride & Prejudice

Things never go well for me whenever I fall in love with a yarn and then try to construct a knitting project to fit it. I usually end up with something that isn't at all like I intend. I frog it and it lives a very pretty and long lasting life among the stash.

Therefore, when I found this yarn (#627 Flamingo) at my not so local Pearls the Yarn Studio (sorry no website atm). I was almost instantly seduced by it's lovely softness and vibrant colors. I'm serious about the softness...... for a cotton it is so wickedly soft. But, a moment of doubt lingered. I tend to be prejudiced against bulkier yarns (anything heavy worsted or bigger). I typically don't love them knit up, and I certainly don't like to wear them. So the likelihood that I would wear a garment knit in this is, well it's slim.

Then, searching through the store I found a pattern that I thought I could modify to make me happy and I decided to stow my prejudice and start knitting. The knitting went so incredibly smoothly. No frogging, my measurements were spot on, I had the right yardage with just a little ball left to seam. I cast off the last piece last week, blocked diligently, and decided to attack finishing this weekend.

I start seaming, it's going well. I take a break and start to put together my blog entry outlying this successful project, I can't remember feeling so proud. THEN tragedy befalls. I am missing a sleeve.

I know I knit two, I blocked two, I put two sleeves in my basket to seam later. Now, I have one. I tear apart my craft room, no sleeve. I move on to the bedroom, no sleeve (some yarn I forgot I have.... but that's another story).

I start to think to myself, maybe I really didn't knit two. Maybe there is just the one. So I see if I have enough yarn to make another (nope just the little ball). I call the yarn store, they are sold out. She calls the distributor, they are sold out of that dye lot. She calls some other yarn stores, no luck.

So I quit for the night, my house is trashed and I am not one sleeve richer. I am going to go to sleep and hope that the sleeve magically appears in the morning.

I close with a pictures of my sweater........ sans sleeve

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Who's got spirit? I guess I do

On the day we celebrate American spirit I finished a pair of socks in honor of an American tradition, futbol americana (also known as football). These socks make me think of fall, of watching football games, of tailgating. As such they are my rockin' hawk socks. They are so named because the color and choice of project was started as a (belated) father's day gift for DH so that he could wear them to keep his toes warm while he tailgates. Although our days in Iowa are limited, I am sure that he will continue to wear these on football Saturday's out of tradition. Happy father's day Chad, enjoy your Hawk socks!

The yarn choice was Lorna's laces Bee Stripe. Interestingly, none of the LYS carry this color. I found it this spring when I was in Pittsburgh at Dyed in the Wool , at first I was surprised (they had several different types of yellow and black yarn). I thought to myself, "Why all the Hawkeye love so far away?" I picked up my sock yarn and some other purchases and was making small talk with the owner and made a joke about how I had to fly to the East coast to find Hawkeye sock yarn. She laughed at my perplexed look and said, "That's Steelers yarn hon, but if you want to pretend it's Hawkeye yarn go ahead." Oh yeah, duh. The Hawkeye colors and uniforms were initially modeled (and still bear an uncanny resemblance to) the Steelers uniforms. So it is little surprise that I would find black and gold yarn in Pittsburgh.

The pattern is a chaotic sort of basketweave that was pretty fun, it is based on "Gentleman's Shooting Sock" from "Knitting Vintage Socks" on size one needles. They are also my first finished pair of socks for Summer of Socks!

Let's go Hawkeyes........... Let's Go!!!!!!

Here is a closer detail of the stitch pattern

"The word is "Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,
Let every loyal Iowan sing;
The word is "Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,"
Until the walls and rafters ring (Go Hawks!)
Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer, for IOWA
Come on and cheer until you hear the final gun.
The word is "Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,"
Until the game is won."

- The U of Iowa Fight song

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nobelian aspirations?

My friend Tammy recently celebrated a birthday. What do you get for a brilliant and lovely eco-friendly designer. Particularly one you are about to be separated from for only the second time in eleven years of friendship?

This had to be special, this had to be a gift worthy of remembrance. I settled on a meditation shawl. How does a meditation shawl differ from it's drab cousin, the ordinary shawl you ask? The ordinary shawl is meant to be worn as an accent or compliment to an outfit. Providing a mild amount of warmth and a pinch of glamour to an ensemble. The meditation shawl is meant to be worn during meditation or at meditation retreats, such as the ones the lovely Tammy tends to escape too. Also, I had decided that this meditation shawl would be infused with the good juju (read karma). I would knit this shawl only while I myself was meditating (lest some strict Buddhist become incredibly enraged by meditative knitting I mean mindful knitting). This meant that this garment could only be knit while focusing (mindfully) on the wool in my hands, the way the needles moved, and if all else failed, on my breathing while knitting. My intent was that upon creation of this shawl it would harness love, warmth, and lots of positive energy.

The pattern choice was perfect, the yarn a tranquil green color, I was set. I chose the fiber trends Peace Shawl . I loved the symbols and description which you can check out for yourself. However, to me this shawl just seemed to represent Tammy in a way that other lace did not (she is not so much the first person you would choose a lace project for). Furthermore, her presence in my life has always brought a sense of tranquility. She is earth that manages to contain my fire.

So I begin knitting. At first, I am mindful and chugging along. Then, as tends to happen, deadlines set in. I start taking the shawl out of the house (sure way to abandon mindfulness). Next thing I know I am knitting it at meetings, coffees, lunches, while driving, etc. This was not the mindful knitting I had intended. I felt sad that I could not create the mindfully knit item I had intended. Yet I pressed on, because I figured a non-mindfully knitted meditation shawl was a better birthday present than the idea of a mindfully knit one. At last it is finished

This is the full view of the shawl, it is much bigger than I had originally thought it would be. It is really funny what happens to lace when it is stretched!

Detailed picture of the stars and trees. I particularly liked this aspect of the shawl because my friendship with Tammy (like the trees) has always been something I could lean upon, one solid thing I could trust. Yet because she is my friend I have reached for more stars than I can count.

Detail of the men and women holding hands and the Peace banner.

Alfred Nobel managed to reconcile his invention of dynamite with his views on peace. This ability to balance two ideas so fundamentally opposed to one another led to the creation of a prize that honors only those that make extraordinary contributions which further those ideals (peace not massive fiery destruction). As I finished knitting this I began to believe that without a contrast our ideals are lost. I didn't complete the entire shawl mindfully, despite my best efforts. However, by trying, I became more mindful than I was before.

"Never discourage anyone who makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato

Friday, May 18, 2007

Option paralysis

I tend to overeat at the buffet of life. Just like it's eating metaphor, this sometimes leaves me with a quesy feeling knowing I have taken far to much on my plate and there seems to be no way to finish it. Today I hit one of those moments. I am going to spend a few moments on non-knitterly things just to process and breathe.

The NEVER ENDING story - We are moving, and to do that we need to sell our 1860's victorian we have been remodelling for 6 years. Our house will be listed next Wednesday which means they are coming to take photos on Tuesday. I still have what seems like 3 weeks worth of work to do. Not to mention getting the house clean enough to take pictures of.

The dissertation - 39 subjects left to go before September 4th. It's unlikely that I will actually do that, however, I just keep trying to believe it is possible.

The snag - this is still in the highly preliminary stages so shhhhh! The hubby has been (sort of) offered a very nice promotion with the company he works for. However, this has caused a lot of stress because we currently live in Iowa. I have to go to Minnesota for internship and the job is in Chicago. Therefore, it is possible we may live apart for a year. This has started to turn into a logistical nightmare, and I am not so big with the loving of those.

But, when life hands you lemons........... sometimes it also hands you lemonade! I was standing with a can of white paint (pictures of the completed house next week I promise) when there was a knock on the door. STASH ENHANCEMENTS via certified mail! I love it love it. So since then I have been neglected anything that resembles real work in favor of playing with my new yarn. Sometimes a girl just have to say "enough is enough."

First, my noncertified package. Earlier this week the hubby bought me some "try to relax" sock yarn. I think he feels I am ready to implode and is trying to tie me back together with string. This may be the most brilliant idea he ever had.
Fabulous new sock yarn (this isn't counting the big package I have coming later this week *grins evilly*)

Lorna's laces in "flame." I know many people love this yarn. I am only lukewarm on it, but we will see if that changes. Cherry tree hill (one of my personal favorites) in "spanish moss."

But onto the the certified package! From our neighbors across the pond I recieved, 10 balls of yorkshire tweed aran in the color "maize" (this baffles me, more in a second.......... first the pictures).

My pile of yorkshire tweed on my completely restored fireplace.

This fireplace has been the bane of my existence for a year. It used to be covered in very small (1' x 2') glass tiles............ and try as I might I could not get the mortor to come off of them. So I finally gave in (in the interest of selling our house) and retiled the fireplace in modern tiles found at our friendly Lowe's. It turned out to be very pretty and I think if you didn't know what you were missing you wouldn't notice.

Now why maize baffles me. Here is a picture of the yarn up close and personal.

I always associate the color maize with an almost corn brown. However, this is an incredibly brilliant green color. Am I wrong about my maize association? Have I lost my mind? It doesn't really matter I adore this color. So much so I had to take a picture outside to do it justice!

Now what am I going to do with my 10 skeins you ask? I am going to make a sweater of course, the lovely juno sweater. I saw this on Yarn Harlot's web page and I knew I had to have one (with the modifications of course). here is the original picture as features in Rowan's magazine. Here is a picture of a completed Juno modelled by the modification goddess, herself, Vanessa .

Friday, April 13, 2007

As much originality as a Xerox machine

I'm a sporadic blogger at best (hey the blogging really cuts into the knitting time). Also, I generally feel this overwhelming pressure to have something fun and witty to say when I blog (I promise to work hard to get past this creative pressure and just blog).

However, I know me and if there is a bandwagon, I'll jump on it. Run at full speed and leap really. So after cruising the web and realizing that Jamie had a new blog layout to try to coax spring to the frozen trundra that is Iowa lately I decided to add some springy verve and zest in order to urge me to keep up with my new desire to post regularly.

So, my reintroduction into the blogging world involves a new layout, which is far more Christina (in that it involves yellow and sunflowers two of my favorite things) than the previous one and several new bandwagons.

I just finished a pair of the ever popular jaywalker sock

These fabulous socks were knit on my way to and from Boston for a recent work conference, it seemed to fit since they were inspired by Boston, and I now understand why (let's just say there is a sub story where the scene of the Boston massacre almost became a Christina massacre). They were knit with trekking yarn (colorway 108). I used size one circular needes for the leg and size zero circular needles for the feet. The use of smaller needles for the heel and feet is the only modification I made to the pattern.

I have also joined sockapolooza 4
I thought to myself.......... "self, this is a knit along you can finish! You can do it because it involves real life people who wait for you to finish something and you don't let real people down." Also, it's socks people, I can knit a pair of socks by August. Although now that I said that I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that says "ruh roh raggy, what have you done now." Send finishing a knit-a-long vibes my way, I may need them.