Saturday, August 27, 2011

Abysmally behind schedule

A small aside before I begin with the fun stuff: 
I know we've been hearing a lot about Hurricane Irene and its predicted destructive journey through New England. I have lots of family there and I'm really worried about them. I hope the hurricane doesn't hit them hard, but in the thoughts are with you guys. Love you all. 

An ad for the Cheetah Girls is playing as I write, so forgive me if this is a little incomprehensible. My brain is getting more scrambled than eggs.
I have fallen prey to something Yarn Harlot (she knows me not, but I hold her books in the highest regard for being both hilarious and about my favorite crafty subject....knitting) deems this phenomenon "IT". "IT" usually happens around Christmastime, but in this case it is birthday of a dear friend (you may remember her cupcakes) that has sent me into a knitting frenzy.
As her birthday appeared on the horizon I began to have the happy notion of "hmm, what shall I make her?" (my new tradition is for all of my gifts to be handmade if possible). I puttered around New Hampshire, pondering, but restricted computer access made it impossible to scoot around the Great Wide Internet looking for ideas and much as I love my knitting books they do not display the types of things said friend would actually wear. 
This friend is very hard to knit for. She is the opposite of preppy and therefore will not take cabled sweaters or otherwise offensively preppy items. She is not a fussy dresser and if you can find a speck of lace in her room I'll knit you a shawl. Socks are rendered moot by the irrational sock rules of my school (and she has rainbow socks already). Hats are questionable and must be discussed in great depth, which would probably ruin the surprise of the thing, and scarves require similar talks. 
So what was left? 
And then it dawned on me in a brilliant stroke of genius (unfortunately, her birthday was five days away). 
Now here I am, begging parents to take me to a yarn store--but not for my own personal gain*--with an idea that was supposed to be a birthday present by yesterday. When I see you on Monday, my sincere apologies in advance for receiving a skein of yarn for your birthday. You'll like it when it's finished. In a couple months. 
<3 Maggie

P.S. I've noticed that there has been a sad lack of pictures on this blog. Sorry about that. Finished things coming soon.

*Oh my god. I take that back. Joann's is having a 30% off sale on all their yarns. ALL of it. I'm serious. This opportunity is too good to miss. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

back and better than ever

Hey guys! I'm BAAAAACK! What's making me so chipper today, you ask? A combination of piles of yarn, semi working internet, and the joys of being home again:

1. Woke up super early, cursed time difference and jet lag, went back to sleep.
2. Woke up again, decided not to fight, fetched laptop and IMed friends until felt jet lagged again and unceremoniously went back to sleep.
3. Woke up yet again, muttered at it still being before 9 am, fetched sock in progress and knit for a while. Happily and peacefully.
4. Cat wandered in, disrupted happy peace by gazing at my ball of sock yarn in a hungry way and complaining at me for going on vacation. That simply won't do as this is a fancy sock yarn that can't take cat attacks the way acrylic yarn can.
5. Sock? Sock yarn? Did I not tell you I was making socks? Well I am. I am making socks and they are addictive. They're my first pair and make me feel really clever even though they're plain socks and thousands of people have done them before. I think it has something to do with using double-pointed needles.
6. While we're on this knitting track, I can exclusively reveal that the East Coast has some excellent yarn shops (shocker, right?) and I managed to somehow acquire....
-5 balls of silky bamboo yarn purchased at local Joann's Fabrics to make a gorgeous LBD found in a book of vintage knitting patterns, recklessly abandoned by me halfway through for socks. It is now languishing in my suitcase atop a pile of clothes I need to wash (TMI?)
-1 single, glorious skein of handspun alpaca purchased at local farmer's market. The little tag has a picture of the alpaca it came from. It is gorgeous.
-3 skeins of emerald green DK weight merino blend, purchased from a booth at town celebration, also gorgeous.
-8 skeins of durable acrylic yarn purchased from local flea market for a whopping $4 total (four skeins of which we shall not speak; I re-gifted them to someone who appreciates them better)
-1 perfect, amazing hank of yarn made from the hair of a baby llama (don't laugh, it's softer than a baby's tender buttocks) in the most glorious shade of blue you can imagine.
-1 alpaca/merino/nylon blend sock yarn currently on needles. I was gloating all the way up to the cash register about getting such a big skein for a mere $12....until the yarn shop lady rung it up and I realized it was $21
7. Went into freshly painted yarn room (supposedly the place where I do my homework.....really the place where I keep my craft supplies) oohed and ahhed at beautiful color and excellent organizing job on various possessions my mother did--she really does spoil me--to put away said yarns and pet the rest of stash.
8. A HORRIBLE REALIZATION OCCURRED. I have unknowingly received, on the duration of my vacation, an extensive yarn education. This is mostly a good thing as before this trip I thought alpaca was a character in Dr. Seuss and merino was a brand they sold at target. However, before I knew the joys of luxury yarn I was perfectly happy getting (let's be honest here) acrylic yarn of shall we say lesser quality from Joann's. I reached out to pet the happy softness I already owned and realized it wasn't really so soft after all, it kinda sucked really and exfoliated the tender skin of my palms. Am I turning into a fiber snob or is this just the result of being in the presence of hand-dyed hanks of cashmere?
9. Could not answer these questions so went downstairs to make tea. After an extended period of time took a bath and got up properly. Then did the same things I did when my hair was greasy and I was in pjs. Finished a book I needed to read for school, switched to some blogs I hadn't read for a while, which reminded me to post on this one.
It's nice to be back. I missed you guys.
<3 Maggie
P.S. Sock pictures soon. Really all it is are 3 emotionally demoralizing inches of ribbing on needles. I've knit and knit and knit and still it's only 3 inches long. WHERE DID MY 4TH INCH GO?
P.P.S. In case you haven't noticed, (and I probably mentioned this before) I'm sort of cultivating a full-blown obsession with knitting. :D

Friday, August 5, 2011

double trouble

Hi there everyone! This blog post is brought to you by the local library, who was kind enough to let me huddle in a corner with MY LAPTOP typing away for an hour. That's right, I said MY LAPTOP for I have been dancing around in dizzy circles for two weeks now throwing handfuls of rainbow confetti in the air* because I GOT A LAPTOP!!!!!!!!

Ok, deep breaths, moving on. The real reason I'm huddled in a corner is not to reveal my confetti-throwing habits, but because I've been knitting like crazy even though its freaking hot degrees outside and finished two scarves! My dad thinks I'm cuckoo and after amassing 8 balls of colorful yarn from a flea market and 4 more balls of yarn from Joann's for an upcoming project he has declared a ban on buying more yarn. This has caused me extreme pain and a side effect of  retreating to my room stroking the yarn like a pet chinchilla. Maybe I'm going a little crazy with this knitting stuff. Oh phooey, I've always been crazy.

Well. Allow me to distract you with pictures of the finished products.

This is my dad wearing the cowl scarf I made for him. I used Knit1Slip1's January Cowl pattern and it turned out super warm and cozy. A bit too warm and cozy for August, but he's going to forget about it until Christmas. 
Then I used a Maggie Pattern to make a similar version for my mom. Basically knit a scarf using stockinette stitch (which rolls like crazy!) until I could wrap it twice around my neck and join the ends, then I sewed it up, then I modeled it.
Allow me to say something in my defense. Some people have the magical gift of being photogenic. I am not one of those people. Try to take a picture of me and nine times out of ten I look ridiculous, grouchy, or like I'm on drugs. Exhibit A:
Outtake #1: I Didn't Touch The Brownies, I Swear

Outtake #2: "I Am The Walrus". But look how pretty the scarf is!

Outtake #3: Attempted the blogger head-down pose that so many fashion bloggers look adorable doing, and look constipated instead. 
Sigh. I can't win.

Gotta go, I've stretched the library goodwill to its breaking point. For all you non-knitters out there, I highly recommend trying it. It's easier than you think with the help of a good book or person and is the perfect plane distraction.

<3 Maggie

*this is how I express extreme happiness