Thursday, August 28, 2008

Upside-Down Blue Monkey

That's the name of the new socks I just finished knitting this week:

That's Cookie A.'s Monkey worked toe-up with an eye of partridge heel. I did the foot on a half-size smaller needle than the pattern calls for, then switched to a larger needle after the ankle. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, colorway Tropical Storm. I'm pretty pleased with them, and they're a bit lighter than the other socks I've made so I can wear them in slightly warmer weather.

It's been a while since I mentioned my chile plants. Well, those that were eaten by beasts of the forest have recovered quite well. They are all flowering and they all have peppers growing. I had to pick 3 off one of the mystery plants because they have some spectacular blossom-end rot going on:

I've run into this once or twice before while growing peppers and tomatoes. It has something to do with the amount of moisture and calcium the plant is getting. Sad. Hopefully this won't be too big a problem. I'm really hoping to make some home-grown hot sauce this year.

PZS Rocks OK

Last weekend I went to the Portland Zine Symposium! On the Library's dime! They sent me! Isn't that rad? All those zines I made in high school are finally paying off. Just like I knew they would...

OOOH! Smell those radical politics:

What? People are still making zines?

Basically, the library system is in the process of adding zines to the collection. One of the large branches is trying them out and if it goes well there, then the other branches that want to will be able to have zine collections as well. Our main zine librarian couldn't make it to the symposium so she asked me if I wanted to go instead. Did I ever!

The PZS did a lot to renew my interest in zines. One of my friends volunteers at the Independent Press Resource Center in Portland and she's been asking if I'd like to do a zine with her. Well, now I certainly do! It would be a lot of fun if we could get it off the ground and have a table at the PZS next year.

Walking around and looking at all the tables was pretty awesome, but I really almost liked the workshops better. I didn't get to go to all the ones I wanted to because several of them were happening at the same time (curses!) but I did manage to attend: Multnomah County Library Tour, How To Do Everything, Queer Zine History, Zinester's Guide to the US Mail, and Bi-Weekly Madness. I also think it would be cool if next year all the zine librarians got together as a panel and did a workshop for all the zinesters who are interested in getting their zines into library collections. But eh, we'll see.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

First Sweater

Here it is:

This is the Wicked, finished, blocked and modeled. This is my first sweater, started in January and finished in August. Despite the pooling, I am very proud.

In one of my recent posts one of my friends commented that the trouble I had had with Wicked has convinced her to never start knitting. Whenever I hear someone say something like that I have two very strong gut reactions. One is, 'More yarn for me!'. The other is, 'How sad. You don't know what you're missing.'.

Yes, this sweater took forever and yes, I had to rip it back a lot and try things again. It was a straightforward pattern, but it wasn't easy for me. I struggled, it's true. But now look what I have: I have a garment made with my own hands to fit no one else but me. I have a sweater made from 100% wool, which is tougher and tougher to find these days. My sweater is warm and soft, thicker than anything store-bought, and it clings to me where I want it to. The sweater's boat-neck is nice and wide, and it sits on the edges of my shoulders just the way I hoped it would. The sleeves are comfy and over-long, which is my favorite way for sleeves to be and which I can almost never find in a store-bought sweater. Roll your eyes if you will, but wearing this sweater feels like wearing a warm hug. It feels just right.

And you know what? My next sweater will probably be a lot easier and will go a lot quicker. There is a learning curve for these sorts of things. Just look at my first pair of socks, for example: they took forever (May 2006-January 2007) and they came out weird and too big and at first I thought I would probably never knit another pair of socks again because they were such a pain. But now I knit socks all the time, they're not that hard and they don't take too long and THEY'RE AWESOME! And maybe it'll be like that with sweaters too: the first one takes a while but I learn, and it gets better.

So. I also wanted to share that last night another friend had a New Kitten Party to honor her new kitty. It was of course lots of fun and there was dancing and wine and snacks... and these:

These are Cat Poop Cupcakes. I made them firstly to honor the new little cat but also because I promised I would and because they crack me up. They were, you can imagine, a big hit. The original version is over here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wicked Finish

I'm done. Last night I bound off on the Wicked sweater and I am finally, finally satisfied enough to call it done, and to say that I knit the best first sweater I could. I will weave in the ends, block it, and post pictures once that's done. I may still overdye it with black in the future, but that's a different adventure. For right now, the sweater is done.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ghosts and Gurus

First, I must show you the very cute little ghost-in-a-tin that I received from the lovely Sara in the Monster Living in a Tin swap I was in. He's a bookworm ghost, and he's very cool.

Alright, so remember when I said that the Wicked is my guru? Well, the problem with gurus is that they test you. Observe:

Looks like the sweater's pretty much done, right? Just a few ends to weave in and then... But wait....
What's this?

It's the hem. It looks like it's...

Why, yes. It's rolling. It's goddamn rolling! The seed stitch hem called for in the pattern is all F'ed up. So I'm going to, say it with me, rip it back and knit it again. How many times have I ripped back on this sweater? I've lost count. When I reknit it I'm going to do it in the crossover ribbing of the neckline and cuffs on a size larger needle. This means that almost nothing of the written pattern has worked out for me. I have changed almost every detail on the pattern. But it still looks like a Wicked, doesn't it?

Also, look at that pooling! Geez! Why why why didn't I choose a solid color? Blech. So, should I leave it the color it is, or should I try to overdye it with something darker? Any thoughts? Vote now!