Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween 2007


I'm not a very holiday-craft oriented person, but I love carving pumpkins!

I'm very picky though. Here is my pumpkin philosophy:
1. Pumpkin carving tool sets are a waste of money. All you need is a thin, sharp, serrated blade.
2. Never follow a pre-packaged pattern, design your own!
3. A pumpkin should be a face, and not a photo-realistic portrait of a face. Not to say I didn't look at Bush designs.

I decided on a scary design this year to scare the children. I also wanted it to look natural, as if a pumpkin grew a scary face. So I used the vertical groves in the design. They separate teeth, the eyes seem to drip down into a grove.

For the final product, I omitted the inquisitive eyebrows.

I should have been clothed for this task!

I went over the carvings with a butter knife to round and scuff the edges.

That's Lacy's pumpkin on the right (above).

This was taken in near darkness with a long exposure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sweater WIP 2

Here's the sweater. It's going pretty slow because, most days, I only find the time to knit one or two rows during a lunch break or whatever. I just hit my 2nd ball-o-yarn mark a second ago. Pretty exciting.
It's 12" tall, which means I have about 16" to go for this piece to be done.

Last weekend, Lacy and I enjoyed our 1 year anniversary. We wanted to travel a short distance away, but decided just to be lazy and stay at home, which worked out fine.

And we took lots of pictures of our cats.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sweater WIP

Lacy and I went to Sip and Knit about a week ago for, you know, yarn. I was interested in men's sweater patterns and Doni the proprietor suggested a few books. The book I ended up taking home was The Knitting Experience, Book 2: The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville. The one book with the cover on which the scary white chick thrice appears in the same knitted orange "suit dress." Scariness aside, it's a great series of books with great techniques and easy-to-follow patterns.

I decided to knit this:
Just a little beyond my skill set, but Doni is good about walking you through patterns, even over the phone, if you run into any trouble.

Here is how far I am:
That's the back panel.

Coincidentally, it's similar to the pattern I used for the most recent dishrag, but this is more intuitive. It's set up to where you just alternate 8 sts k and 8 sts p on one row, then k only on the next row, and it still achieves 3 different stitch patterns all the way up. I'm using GGH Tara yarn, 72% cotton and 28% nylon. It's very soft, boingy, and expensive.

Every Monday night, Lacy and I have class at the same time. Since mine gets out earlier, I knit in the hall outside Lacy's class while I wait. Since most of the classes for my major are in that building, I always run into people I know. This one guy in particular always give me a good humored hard time. He suggested that we should start a club called, "Sew What!?" Anyway, yesterday night, he says to me, "Where's your dignity? For every stitch, you need to swim across a river and chop down a tree to regain your manhood." Given the nature of the clothing industry, I can think of few things more dignified than than making your own textiles. Oh well, to each their own. He said bye and left. Then he came back for that awkward moment where you have to say hi again. He asked me what I wanted to do for a career. I told him that I wanted to be a writer.

Finished Objects

I like to think I'm getting pretty good at knitting, but there is still so much I have to learn. I don't know how to knit in the round, cable, increase, or do the math to figure out gauges, etc. Up until now, I've pretty much only made utility/dish rags out of cotton, afraid to venture out past the square shape. Well those two years of dishrags were great practice because there is a lot you can do within that square. Each rag turned out different as I liked to improvise the pattern as I went. I like gifting them and it's such a joy to hear about how much use my friends get out of them.

Of course, each new rag became more ambitions. For my last rag, I decided to add the "feather and fan" stitch to the middle. It's a bit larger than a normal dish rag at 13" x 12". The pattern should be pretty easy to decipher. I used size 7 needles and casted on 60. The border is 5 sts (knit stitch), and the blocks are 1o sts and 10 rows tall. The feather and fan is a multiple of 3 and it starts either 6 rows in a square going up or 6 sts in a square left or right.

The feather and fan stitch was surprisingly very easy, although cotton may not be the best thread for the stitch. I had to learn how to yarn over (YO) and all it is is YOs and knit 2 togethers (k2tog). I don't know what I want to do with it. I'd sell it if I had a buyer (it's expensive), and I didn't have anyone in mind for a gift while making it. My dad is having a house warming party soon, I thought about giving it to him.

It makes a good kitty blanket, though. Observe:
"I like it!"

My current project is definitely beyond my current skill set. My wife Lacy and I are knitting sweaters. I want to start knitting my own clothes. More on that later.