Thursday, June 28, 2007

OK to be a geek.....

I am a geek. I admit it freely. It used to bother me because I thought that it meant that I was uncool, awkward, and hopelessly mired firmly in nerd-dom. But a gradual realization over the past 9 months has led me to embrace my geek-ness and understand that it is ok – its part of who I am.

First, let me define what I mean by "geek." A geek is someone who has a lot of seemingly minute or useless knowledge about a subject AND the (maddening) continued desire to learn more. They don't mind sharing information. Many are so excited about the subject (and want to make you excited about the subject) that they possess the ability to overload a listener almost into a comatose state with the amount of information/experience/anecdotes that they have on it.

Given that, I think that everyone has some type of geek in them. The technology-loving geek and the science geek are typically what comes to mind because that's what we see in the movies and on television. That leaves a lot of us out. Ever watch the Outdoors channel? Hunting geeks and fishing geeks with their own shows. Take a walk over to the pet store and you will meet at least one dog geek. How about the grocery store? Foodie geeks, hanging out by the seafood counter and looking for whole squid. Home improvement store? Hammer geeks, garden geeks, and the interior design geeks are all over the aisles.

I am a knit geek. I am a sewing geek. I am a paper geek. Or you could just lump all of that together into "craft geek." It's ok. But if you have a few minutes, let me tell you about this fabulous pumpkin orange, angora and wool yarn I just picked up..... :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Get your knit on...

It is time for knit night again and I am beginning to fret. My project does not have the progress I was hoping for since the last meeting. Never mind that I was just working on a gauge swatch then and now I am working on the actual project. It is not "enough" to satisfy my somewhat competitive nature. It is not an excuse that I didn't bother to pick up the needles over the weekend because I was on vacation. So, after the trip to the grocery store and the kennel, it will be knit like mad until time to go. Just so it looks like the two weeks between meetings have been somewhat productive.
I am also stumped with a little problem on an original design for a hat. Now that I have drawn in the circumference of the band (so the little bugger won't cover one's eyes and be more ski-mask-like), I am not sure how many rows to knit to make the top "flop" properly. Maybe this is a job for the circle to ponder tonight.
Vacation was productive in another way. The blues and greens of the patient ocean at dusk keep playing through my memory. I have the perfect yarn in my stash. Now I just have to find a great "wave-ey" type pattern to put in it for a wrap. And then there is the orange ball of fire rising from the waters at dawn. Some yarn from a San Antonio excursion (Noro, naturally....don't you love his colorways?) is destined to do that one. Maybe a freeform piece to make the sun...and then pick up the sea's purple and blue.....I see that on the back of a kimono-type jacket .....mmmmmm....inspiration.....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What to knit next?

So I admit, most of the knitters I know don't really have problem finding the next project. It is more of a "Which of the next possible five projects should I work on next?" kind of question. When inspiration hits, sometimes it is in a tidal wave.

This is the only way I know to explain the concept of the "stash" to the uninitiated. Sometimes, you find a yarn in the right color, the right amount, the right fiber blend and (!!!) at the perfect price. You can see yourself creating a sweater/scarf/shawl/socks/tea cozy that will be so (a) beautiful that you will be the envy of all your girlfriends, (b) perfect as a gift for that hard to buy for person, and/or (c) cool in technique/color combination that your knitting group will clamor for pattern and the location of the yarn shop. At this time, it doesn't matter that you have a complicated cable pattern sweater on the needles and that it is likely to take the better part of the year (or lifetime) to complete it. It also doesn't matter that you already have a bag/closet/room full of yarns for projects yet begun. You have hit the trifecta and have this new yarn you will.

Stash expansion is something more than sheer avarice and acquisition. Over the past few weeks, I have been going through the closets in the house. This includes the one housing my stash. As I look at the yarns there, I see the possibilities of what these random little balls will become. I get excited about working on what is to come. Some of them will not be how I first envisioned them. That's okay, because dreams change. I also get a "second wind" for those things that are lagging on the needles. It helps me to see them with new eyes. My stash is a source of inspiration.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Numerical needlework.....

The internet contains all sorts of things you never would have thought there was a need for (and a few that make you wonder how much spare time people have on their hands...) One thing I stumbled upon a few days ago is the inspiration for this post. A few crafty crochet-ers decided to create (and I am not making this up -- REALLY) a in the coral variety. It is totally made out of yarn and the shapes are pretty close to some growing out in the Caribbean right now. Turns out, this was also a mathmatical experiment of sorts. The wavy, fluted edges of the corals were mimicked in crochet by strategic increases in stitches. Really cool!

Also, there are a number of patterns based on the Fibonacci sequence (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,etc...). I found a scarf pattern that was pretty interesting. You pick a variety of colors for your scarf and then begin knitting. As long as the number of rows per color equals a number in the Fibonacci sequence, the overall color combination is pleasing and balanced. Very interesting, as this allows the artist to create several different looks from the same group of colors. It is also a great stash reducer -- very important as you can only hide so much yarn under the bed after your husband begins to notice the random skeins running about the place...but I digress....

Another nifty numerical pattern was featured on a few issues ago. (Go visit them here!) "Numbers" is a bag that can be knitted in whatever gauge you feel like and felted (or not). It incorporates a given number (that you choose) as a multiple that you use to increase and decrease the shape of the bag. The size of the needles, the number you choose and the number of rows you choose to knit all affect the end result. As you can see from the pictures, you can get some really interesting accessories! The neatest thing about this is that the designer made a conscious decision to play with the pattern's math with stylish results.

It gives you a lot to think about. For me, these are the first patterns in the "pending project" basket that use this concept. I look forward to trying them, if for no other reason than to see what comes out.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Apple Jack Tank

THIS is what my sister, TF, is getting for her belated birthday present. She seems to like the apple green and the light cotton/silk blend of this yarn is more wearable in her neck of the woods. As you can tell from the photo, this is not a smooth yarn. Its texture should only get softer with each wash -- sort of like a favorite pair of jeans.

The construction of the tank is loose and ends just at the waist. I finished the edges with a reverse single crochet that looks a little like a rope. All in all, I think this is a success. It is the first time I have modified a pattern's neckline and I am pretty happy with the results.

It also brings to mind that these pictures would be more interesting if they were not "flat on the towel" shots. Maybe I can find a mannequin...