Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Knitting Theory

Knitting is simultaneously the simplest and the most complicated thing in my life.

It's only one motion.  Pull a loop through another loop.  (This requires yarn, but not needles.)  Held in your lap with your hands over his, a toddler can do it.  Sitting beside you, a six-year-old can do it herself with enough practice.  A sixteen-year-old can learn it in five minutes.  Right-handed people can teach it to left-handed people without trying to accommodate their different strengths.  It's just a single motion.

But it's such a rich subject.

  • You can go into how to tension the yarn: English, Continental, Portuguese, probably others I've never heard of.  
  • You can talk about the orientation of the stitches: Western, Eastern, and Combined; leading and receding legs, front and back loops.  
  • You can explore different types of knitting: colorwork, cables, lace; in the round or back and forth.  
  • You can talk about the needles: straight, circular, and double-pointed.
  • You can go into the yarn: weight, texture, fiber content, twist (you can get so far into this subject you end up in spinning theory).  
  • You can learn about changing shapes: increases and decreases of all types.  
  • You can research expert tricks: reading your knitting, dropping stitches to repair errors, lifelines, frogging and picking up live stitches.
This isn't even all of it.  There's so much more, and this is just what I could come up with off the top of my head.  The best thing about this list?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Resolutions: Happy Birthday!

Yes indeed, yesterday was my birthday! I am now nineteen years old. (Now three-fourths of you thinks I'm really young and the last fourth thinks I'm really old!) I have also survived my first semester as a college student and signed on for another one. Aren't I so smart.

I've also volunteered to start and captain a team for Ravellenic Games 2014, and hopefully I'll be doing another post on that later.  Preparation for the Olympic Games in February starts in December for us yarnworkers, believe it or not!

Astonishingly, things have actually gotten done in these last two weeks. An entire list of things. Not the whole list, unfortunately, but a list. Curious? Then take a look!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Earth Science Hat: And I Took A Lot Of Pictures

It has all paid off.

Sketching on a whiteboard, drawing little arrows to visualize plate motion and erasing in frustration designs that didn't work.  Lists of things to include that got longer as the semester continued.  Purchasing yarn, and the adventure that is dyeing with food coloring.  Going out the day before Halloween in search of black food dye (yeah, not going to find any!) and coming home with a sampler box of twelve dyes (including black but not orange?).  Experimenting with cast-ons, realizing I hadn't built one into my yarn requirements (oops).  Starting at least four times (too many stitches, twisted cast-on, etc).  Ripping out my first efforts at colorwork again, and again, and again.  Finally figuring out some half-assed intarsia-in-the-round thing that left a few ends but looked pretty good.  Frantically altering the design as we progressed through the class.  Learning to relegate some details to duplicate stitch; learning to do duplicate stitch.

And finally, wrestling a finished hat onto a balloon (you would not believe how many balloons end up in our house...) to take pictures of it.  And I took a lot of pictures.

I think this is my favorite shot of the bunch:

In fact, it's the first one on my Ravelry project page.  I like it because it's off-center, and you can see the mostly-concentric circles my gradient yarn produced.  The tiny twinkling stars out in space are pretty darn awesome as well.

So now let's go on a tour of the rest of the hat, shall we?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Spinning In Public

I take my spindle pretty much everywhere.  Anywhere I'll be standing or sitting in a position convenient for spinning, either Jara or Akitla has an invitation to accompany me.  I'm especially partial to places where there will be a balcony and enough time to get a good make or two over the edge, such as one of the college campuses I attend for classes regularly.

It's always fun to see the reactions I get.  A lot of people just stare out of the corners of their eyes.  Some people ask me what on earth I'm doing (at college, sometimes with stronger language!), while others ask more intelligent, informed questions.  Here are some of my favorite stories:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Earth Science Hat: Finally Off My Needles!

Yes!  Finally, this insane project is no longer occupying my needles!

Now, this doesn't mean it's done.  Oh, no.  For one thing, the back is a mess of ends hanging off from myriad different corners (notably, the subduction zone and ocean edge above it).  For another thing, there are a number of structures and details that need to be duplicate-stitched or embroidered in.  Here's what I can come up with off the top of my head:

  • Stars
  • Clouds
  • Rain
  • The details on the mid-ocean ridge
  • The magma/lava on the volcano
  • The stick-figure geologist
  • The outline of the mountain range
  • The converging crustal plates of the mountain range
  • The below-ground portion of the rift zone
  • The outline of the subduction zone
But at least it's a hat now!  Ready to see?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Resolutions for December: And We're Back!

Hello!  The particularly astute among you will have noticed that there were no Resolutions for November this year, and that is because I was too busy and distracted to make any until about the 20th, and by then I didn't even want to bother.  I did accomplish some stuff in November, including finishing that cupcake that was on my resolutions for I think two or three months!

Now it's the last month of the year.  Christmas decorations are going up everywhere I look, which reminds me I need to clean my room so it's not a fire hazard so I can get some candles going in here.  The Texas weather is going haywire, as usual. Expected high tomorrow is 75°F (24°C), while Thursday we're looking at 37°F (3°C).  That's quite a difference!  I have a pile of blankets on my bed keeping me nice and cozy, and I've been wearing a purple-and-grey plaid jacket every time I leave the house these last few days.  Definitely feels like December.

So let's get this ball rolling again and set some resolutions for December, shall we?  As always, Ravelry users are welcome to join us in the Resolutions Monthly group, anyone with a blog can link back to this post if they desire, and everyone else should feel free to post their resolutions in the comments.

I have a lot of resolutions this month, but I think most of them are fairly attainable.  Some are probably wishful thinking, but I'll do my best.