Monday, January 5, 2009

It's like Christmas in...January.

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of how fortunate one really is. It's both humbling and gratifying at the same time to receive a gift like what I found when I came home today. My friend Karin had told me to be on the lookout for something coming soon. A couple of months ago she grilled me on yarn. How can you tell if it's good quality? How much is enough to make something small? Bigger than a hat, but smaller than a sweater. What's a reasonable price? It can be hard to explain these things to a novitiate of the Yarney Arts, moreso when the interviewer is a yarn muggle on a different continent! I was not at all ready to for the size of the box I found on my porch, nor was I expecting to open it to find this:

For scale: the box is approx. 10"x10"x14". That's a LOTTA yarn!!! It seems to be sport/fingering weight and I'm estimating each of the larger balls has no fewer than eleventy-pi yards. Karin included a note in the box that explained I had just received four balls of merino wool from the Milanese Farmer's Market and a skein of handspun yarn from alpacas that live in the Swiss Alps (she touched them!). Navy, Slate Blue, Chocolate, and Papaya! I'm reeling with project ideas and potential color combinations. Shawls? Lightweight sweaters? Scarves? Gloves? Oy! Thankfully I have plenty to keep me busy in the way of other projects while these ideas simmer.

But wait--there's more!!! Karin also included miscellaneous artsy craftsy finds:

A cute little heart magnet with what could be a name-tag, an order, or a statement:

Some gastronomical treats from Italy: Karin's favorite ring crackers, an Italian version of a smore's candy bar, and some Italian Espresso coffee.

I like this little guy. I'm not sure yet where he'll land, but I have a few ideas (and coordinating thread).

This sticker is the sum of the parts, really. It says so much while saying very, very little. :o)

In all, the few pictures in this post are really a testament to how excited I was to receive this care package-cum-gift. The light in my room is crap, and I didn't want to wait for another sunny day in PDX. Though I keep telling myself to build a lighting box in which to photograph stuff, I have yet to do it. Also, I have nothing that I'd say constitutes a suitable background. I was determined to make this post tonight, though, and I had a good time working with what I had available to set up the shots you see here.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Knitting Gets Harcore.

Way back in August 2008 I started a Lace Ribbon Scarf designed by Veronik Avery. (Here's a link to my Ravely Project Page, for those Rav Members amongst us, though most of the project info is in this blog post.) I was using some effing DELICIOUS yarn--Dream In Color Smooshy in the Cocoa Kiss colorway. I was also delighted to use Brittany needles in size US3. Not only are these needles sustainably harvested and packaged in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, they're just plain pretty.

When I started this pattern I was committed to using only one skein of yarn. I originally cast-on 44 stitches for a scarf with four "ribbons" (the pattern calls for 53 sts to create a scarf w/five "ribbons"). While knitting, I noticed that the yarn tended to stain the lovely birch needles.

It was more of an observation than anything, I mean, knit happens, right? =oP The picture above shows a stained needle next to a brand-new one, to illustrate the extent of the color transfer from the yarn. This was after knitting about 4' of scarf, at which point I realised that the remaining yarn from this skein would only allow a scarf of approximately 5.5' in length. I really wanted a longer, narrower scarf, though, so I frogged the entire creation and started over, this time casting on 35 sts for a scarf with 3 "ribbons".

Sometime during the knitting of the newer, narrower scarf, one of my pretty Brittany needles snapped. :o(

Now, this pic shows a needle that is snapped in two places, and I'll tell you about the 2nd snap in just a moment. The first break happened near the end with the lovely finial, and was actually the result of the needle snagging on a friend's couch as I picked up my knitting bag. A broken needle didn't stop me, though; I called the good folks at Brittany and told of my mishap and they sent a replacement needle post-haste, tout-de-suite, and free gratis [sic].

(As a quasi-aside: the pic above also shows a brass safety pin in my knitting. I used this to keep track of which row I was on in the lace ribbon pattern. As the pattern repeats over 23 sts, I'd place the safety pin in the stitches on the first row and count from there when I needed to check my progress in the pattern.)

In the meantime, I wrapped a rubber band around the broken end in order to stop my work from sliding off the broken end, and I kept on knitting! This was my first lace work and the pattern was so easy to memorize, quick to knit, and yeilded such lovely results, that it was all I worked on from the time I cast on those original 44 stitches.

Unfortunately, while waiting for the replacement needle that Brittany had been so good to send, I sat on my knitting (there may or may not have been beer involved on the night in question. My Log may or may not have seen something that night)! Ergo, two breaks in one needle. Fortunately, however, the replacement arrived the very next day, so I was able to transfer my work to it and keep on knitting.

The scarf is now finished and has been for quite some time. Its unblocked measurements are approx. 5.5"x82". It needs to be blocked to square it out, though, and I've had a hard time locating a spot in this house with wood flooring which would be suitable for pinning down such a scarf. Also, Dream in Color has a tendency to bloom a fair bit, so I expect it to gain some size once it's been washed and soaked (mmmmmm, kookaburra!!!).

More photos of this to come, but in the meantime, I think this last photo give a fair representation of the pattern and general look of the scarf.

Who Are These Guys? What is This? What's Going On Here?

You're here and you're curious and you want to know why this blog is here and why you should care. I get it, I do; it's the same thing I wonder in situations like these. Two boys in love with yarn created this blog to chronicle our joys and triumphs (hopefully) and also our madnesses (hopefully not so much) when it comes to things yarney and knitterly.

These Boys In Love With Yarn are David (aka Davitron) and Homero (aka TricotChico [rhymes w/'Romero' but the H is silent--ed.]), who each started knitting for similar reasons, though indipendently of each-other. In both cases, the soon-to-be knitter wanted a scarf that couldn’t be found at a retail shop, so we each took up needles and sallied forth into the world of yarn, knitting sticks, knits, and purls.

Once these projects were complete (or nearly so), we each started to think of other garments and accessories that we wanted and launched our own pattern searches. Though our tastes and goals differed slightly, the crux was the same: neither of us could find readily-available hand-knitting patterns for menswear and accessories that were quite what we wanted. We’d find a pattern and make mental notes of changes we’d make, which generally resulted in a whole new creation. So, here we are: we’ve designed much of what we’ve knit and find that the next reasonable step is to share these designs with others who have shown interest. With our powers combined, we are Splendor (<= Ravelry link).

Our tastes and aesthetics differ from each-other's slightly, but mostly exist at the intersection of punk/hip/electro/and classic. In making patterns for hand-knitting, though our ultimate goal is the same: to make stuff we(/he)’ll actually wear.

The process of getting going has proved a little longer than we originally expected, but stay tuned! We’re not going anywhere, and patterns are coming soon!