Saturday, April 26, 2008

Season appropriate accesories need not apply

Only 4 days later, not half bad.

I have finished that sodding project report, I'm now procrastinating when I should be writing my essay. Plus, its a bright sunshiney day, so obviously the perfect time for me to take photos of myself in knitwear. Hmm.

I finished off my chocolate chip mittens. Actually I finished these in Kentucky, and they have been getting much wear, but I only sewed the buttons on two days ago. I like the buttons, they stop the tops flapping about like...annoying flappy things. Not feeling at my wittiest today.

I also just wove in my ends for Quant, made from a surprise single skein of handspun that my Mum posted along with the usual package of things I forgot and left at home when I went back to uni. I'm not entirely convinced about this one. Not sure headbands suit me. Mind you, I need a haircut and I'm toying with the idea of a fringe, maybe it'll look better with less forehead on show.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dapper gentlemen, drunk Americans and the best golf course ever

Apologies for the entire lack of Kentucky update, I have been mildly frantic for the past fortnight getting ready for this fitting.

Yes, all the boys in the Arts Institute are this skinny. Have to say, I love Victorian trousers. You can't see beneath the waistcoat, but they practically come up to his nipples. It's so funny to see guys who are used to baggy hipsters coming out of the fitting room with the waistband where they think it should be and the crotch around their knees. Of course,doing a WHITE SUIT! AGAIN! doesn't make for very exciting photos. Dang.

So, Kentucky. Hmm. I have to submit a 2500 word report on my experiences there in a week and I'm kinda struggling to write it. Yes, I made loads of friends, and yes I bought lots of yarn, and yes, I slaughtered everyone at poker (the first time at least,they got their own back for my beginner's luck after that), but I don't think that really makes degree worthy writing. As for what I meant to be doing, it sort of dissolved as soon as I arrived. The play I was supposedly woking on was contmporary and the applique adjustments I was supposedly going to making on the bought clothes ended up being professionally printed instead. Nuts. I spent most of my time learning beading and embroidery (no help whatsoever to Kentucky, just to me) and taking up hems for people.

I'm not complaining, I had an awesome time. I actually had more of a social life in the last 3 weeks there than I have in a whole year here (if only because i don't have enough free time in Bournemouth). I learnt the quaint tradition of beer pong, got addicted to Rock Band on the Xbox and went to Keeneland racetrack on my last day, where I didn't win anything, but one of my friends won $780 and spent the rest of the day in a bit of a daze. I met some of the best people in the world there and I wouldn't change it for anything, but it does make the follow-up written work a little tricky.
I've been doing a fair bit of knitting (read: procrastinating) recently - mostly on 50 million different projects, but I have a couple more FOs once I've woven ends in and sewn on buttons. Of course, I should have realised by now that promising photos in the next post means the next post won't appear for about a month. So, you may see my gloves in early June. Lucky, lucky blog.

P.S. Went out for pub golf for my housemates' birthday last week. Baked them the best cake in the world. Ah, I am the Sultan of Smug.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

An epic guide to Lexington yarn shops.

I've been back 3 days now, and I have only just finished unpacking. My bedroom is a mess and my yarn box is now beyond overflowing, to the point where I have to give up trying to stuff things in and just resign myself to storing it in plastic bags on the floor. And in three months time I will be moving to a house with a smaller bedroom. Hmm. I get my own ensuite though, so maybe I should just give up washing and store my yarn in the shower?

Lexington, Kentucky has 3 yarn shops listed in the Yellow Pages and I visited them all. It was magnificent.

By far my favourite was Rebelle. The yarn is organised by brand and to a lesser extent by fibre content. It's only a little store but it's jampacked with stuff I'd never even seen online before. I played it safe this time though and only got what I came for - rainbow and black yarns for a stripy raglan in nice, basic Cascade.

Magpie yarns was an accident. I couldn't find it on the map when I was looking in the phone book, so I'd given up on visiting it, but then I stumbled across it when I was out buying embroidery thread. It's very spacious and the owner was lovely, but the yarn was organised by colour which I didn't really like. I did buy the Knitting Beyond The Edge book though, just because I couldn't bear to leave empty-handed.

The Stitch Niche (which they annoyingly insisted on calling The Stitch Nitch) was the furthest away - I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to walk there. It took me about an hour and a half. Bah. It was pretty big and well stocked though. About half the stock is synthetic and novelty yarns, but the other half is lovely, squishy, natural stuff. No price tags on anything though, very irritating. This is where I bought 8 balls of Berocco Suede. I know I told myself I would never knit 100% synthetic again, but I don't think I'd be able to find anything similar to this, and besides, it's for a skirt, and you don't want to go messing around with unsuitable fabrics for something hanging off your arse. I got 4 balls each of the light and medium blue for Norah Gaughan's Snapping Turtle skirt and had to bring it home in my hand luggage because my suitcase was stuffed with Cascade. Oops.

But I didn't stop there. Oh no. I went back to Rebelle for a couple of Interweave Knits (which I love, but can't get for a decent price in England), and found the 25th anniversary Vogue Knitting magazine in the clearance sale for $4. Over 60 patterns for £2! Bargain! I promised the cashier when I was leaving that I wouldn't be back because I had just broken into my last traveller's cheque and I knew my suitcase was already threatening to self destruct. The cashier just looked at me like she had heard that one a million times before. I assured her again that I wouldn't come back.

I came back.

This one needs back story. My first day on this trip was not a good start. Along with a scary hour long interrogation with the nice fellows at Immigration (I eventually managed to persuade them that I wasn't looking for a husband), and a cancelled flight that left me stranded in Minneapolis overnight, I lost my scarf somewhere in Gatwick airport. Yes, the stripy scarf, the grey and white one I can wear with everything, the first thing I knitted myself that I actually wore, is gone. I like to think that it was found and appreciated and is now keeping someone else's neck warm, but at the same time I have nightmares that someone thought it was a bomb and performed a controlled explosion. So, I need a new scarf (obviously all the other scarves I have won't do to replace it). And I've had the My So-Called Scarf pattern in my to-do list for years. And that green malabrigo I saw the day before was haunting me. It was so soft and squooshy! There's a reason this yarn has fan clubs. And dude! Green! I love green! I bought two skeins the next day, very sheepishly. I think it was worth it.

I went to America with $750 dollars. After all that yarn, 7 new tshirts, 2 pairs of shoes, birthday presents and the everyday essentials of food and vodka, I came back with 83 cents. I do not regret a bit of it.
Tune in next time to discover what I was actually doing in Kentucky (no, I didn't go purely to buy yarn).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hannah actually has some knitted stuff!

So, I've finally returned from Kentucky, land of yummy yarn shops and crappy internet connection, and yes, I had an amazing time, and no, I did not meet Colonel Sanders. (He's dead. Go figure.) I took off from Cincinnati airport in brilliant sunshine and landed at Heathrow in snow. Ah, welcome back to England, where Spring has a different meaning from the rest of the world. Mind you, it wasn't just in the UK; my layover in Minnesota, 'Land of 10,000 Lakes', was actually a layover in Minnesota, 'Land of 10,000 Ice rinks'.

I have loads to say, mostly about my 5 LYS trips and the $220 I spent there, but since I am hugely behind on my blogging I shall save that for tomorrow. For now, I have the 'PLURAL FO'S' that I seemed so excited about in February but never got around to blogging about for some reason.

These all seem pretty old now.

First off, the gifts I sent for the Monthly Adventurers Tops and Pots swap - in case you missed it when I was showing off my goodies in my last post (you know, the one so long ago you can't remember it), the idea was to send a knitted hat - in red, pink or white, since we started around Valentine's Day - and a recipe for a one-pot main meal.

My hat to Paula aka TwinsMama, is the Sunflower Tam from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature, a gorgeous, gorgeous book I bought myself for my birthday. I liked this pattern when I flicked through the book but knew I would never wear it (berets and tams look ridiculous on me) so I was quite excited to make it for someone else. The yarn is Cascade 220 from Get Knitted.

I also did some stash busting extra presents - a cute flower brooch and a couple of beanies for her boys (she is TwinsMama after all).

She sent me a fabby picure of them modelling for me, and waving my Jambalaya recipe that I made such a mess of the kitchen creating.

This one's an even older FO, I finished this at the end of January, just in time for a 'knit-your-chrismas-yarn' knitalong that I won a runner up prize for! Woo!

This is the Anthropologie Inspired Capelet, rewritten to work in the aran-ish yarn my Mum span me for Christmas. It's supposed to be reverse stocking stitch, but it's reversible and I prefer the inside. It's also technically round neck but my brooch is too heavy for it. Eh, I still like it.

By some bizarre coincidence, I just received my prize for this knitalong today. I would have got it sooner, may have given our lovely group moderator the wrong address by mistake.

Anyhoo, I got some lovely soaps, a mini book on knitting and some cartoony post-its.


You can't tell in the picure above, but I'm wearing the capelet with my black skinny jeans and the 'be-nice-to-me-or-I-will-flatten-you' boots. According to Lucy I look like 'a dominatrix. But the sweet and fluffy kind.' I was previously unaware that there was a sweet and fluffy kind of dominatrix. How sheltered my life must have been.