i might be a fan of your insolence

I really have been knitting, I promise you. I just can't show you what I've knitted....yet. So that's a great excuse to start new, ill-advised projects.

So: I have some 12 skeins of R2 Rag to use up. A few years ago, the Rowan yarn company decided to publish and manufacture a line of alternative books and yarns...aimed at young, wild knitters who wanted stylish projects to finish quickly. I guess that was me, because I'm one of the few people that bought both the books. It just intrigued me...sort of an American Apparel vibe to the modeling, and the garments were super-weird. Unfortunately, the clientele at yarn stores were just not ready for this and it didn't sell well. If you'd like to see what some of the projects are like: look on Ravelry.

I got a bunch of it at super-closeout price at Needlework Unlimited in Minneapolis and have been hoarding it ever since. It's weird, because I'm relatively sure that I'm one of maybe 3 people in the world who would consider this a treasure! I'm trying to think of things to make with it...it's pretty bulky and I have enough to make a pretty substantial garment. I was initially thinking of a scarf- knit lengthwise with fringe on the long side. (Like this.) Now I'm not sure, and I could knit a vest or a funky cardigan sort of thing...but I'm afraid that, with its bulk, that would look really lumpy. Suggestions?


are you ready, boots?

Nature provides us such pretty things.

Alright, so I ended up stabbing them with needles...but it was for a good cause. If you live in Michigan you know it's been quite hot lately, which has kick-started my lemonade cravings. It also means drinks sweat ALL the time, and for the first time in my life I have a piece of furniture that I don't want water stains on. The best solution to any problem is one that involves yarn, sharp objects, and wool. Right? (For maybe the first time ever, no knitting was done for this post.)

So here's what you do to make your own coasters at home:

1. Take an old all-wool sweater and wash it- hottest water, longest agitation, lots of sudsy laundry detergent. Normally you would never do this on purpose, but if you've done it accidentally and have a sweater that would now fit a child, here's a useful way to make yourself feel slightly better about shrinking it. (Destruction with scissors is pretty cathartic too.)
2. Use a bowl and chalk to outline circles on the sweater, then cut. You can actually do any shape you want- felted wool won't unravel.
3. Put whatever object you want to outline down on the circle/square/whatever shape. If you can, secure it down somehow so you don't get a weird wiggly outline as you go around. If you're a better artist than I, freehand something.
4. Get your needle felting needles. This is where you could really, really hurt yourself. My needle is in the above picture at the top right, and it is sharp. VERY SHARP. Look at it compared to the blunt darning needle! I sort of laughed at the dire warnings on the package, but after using them once, my fear is real.
4. Needle felting needles are very cool (and dangerous! even cooler!). Basically, they're barbed (and sharp!) needles that agitate the wool layers together when you stab them. So you lay out the yarn and stab it repeatedly until the yarn totally sticks. The cool thing is that you can very loosely stab your design at first, then adjust or pull it out if you don't like it. Once you settle on a final design, just stab the hell out of it.
6. You're done! That's it. Really. It's so easy. I'll probably make a few more at some point and do something more complicated- but for now I can have my iced coffee AND protect my furniture. Mmm.

Kitty is, as usual, unhelpful. Bob doesn't care for knitting in the least (and was probably napping), but catnip or no, Kitty's there.

Finished! The variegated yarn actually suited the leaf coloring perfectly. It's usually easier to needle felt with roving (unspun wool) instead of yarn...but you can also unravel and fluff up your yarn for an easier time of things. Per usual, I was winging it.

Geranium and maple leaves.


if i'll ever be whole again

Kitty tried to assist with this project...it was distinctly unhelpful.

If you've ever wanted to knit something even your cat will appreciate, though, this is how! Gather these things: a small square of cloth, a half-knit mouse body, catnip (mine is from a set of toys I bought that were already filled), and a little extra stuffing (which I didn't need).

Put the catnip in the cloth square and tie the top securely.

Stuff it in the mouse body!

Here he is! I was going to offer the pattern here, but the way I knit this particular mouse was pretty silly and I'm still trying to think of a good (read: coherent) way to describe this mouse's creation. I started with an i-cord tail and then increased to 24 stitches for the body, then decreased every other round for the nose. His ears are crocheted on afterwards, and the eyes are needle felted on. Try to improvise your own- it really doesn't have to be totally perfect, especially since this mouse's fate is to be licked to death by a blissed-out cat.

This mouse was sent off to a new home over the weekend, where he is being ripped apart by Otis the cat. : ( Poor mouse!


darling where's your soul

This scarf was finished last summer, I just never got around to taking a picture of it...or should I say, never got around to pressing friends and relations into my service. It's just because they're really good at what they do- my brother puts my modest photography to shame.

The scarf is knit out of Berroco Mica, a yarn I raved and raved about last summer. It's a silk blend (so it smells kind of funny, but if you're a yarn geek like me you'll like it), and when knitted it has a nice shine and texture. This scarf is massive- it used 10 skeins! The crochet edging is my favorite...if you look closely at the bottom right you can see the little baubles (?) crocheted around. It was quite an obstacle to teach myself how to do that since crochet is NOT my forte, but a couple hours of NPR podcasts later I had my edging done.

The scarf itself is absolutely gorgeous. Norah Gaughan at Berroco (their head designer, artistic director, whatever, the word escapes me) is a genius. The only problem with this is that the yarn is SO heavy it kind of feels like you're choking when you wear it...this makes me really sad and also irrationally crabby at the same time. Does that happen to you when your clothes aren't fitting the right way? Anyway. Someday I might re-knit this scarf in a wool-silk blend so it wouldn't be so heavy, would still have a nice shine, and I could wear it in the winter. The pattern was fun to knit so it wouldn't be awful to do again, and like I said before, the edging is just adorable. Someday.