Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zero Knitting Content:

It's true, today's post has zippy knitting stuff.

Instead, I want to share a blog that I find absolutely knee-slapping funny.

It's called Bee's Musings and I highly recommend it to help lighten bad times and dark moods.

Just so's ya know though, it is chock full of off-color humor - my favorite kind!

She posted a music video of that song "Baby it's cold outside" that had me in stitches.

Click here if you dare!

I'm telling you though, you may never hear the song the same way again :grin:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Outside My Wheelhouse:

Mike's great friend John has been dating a woman for quite some time (for him!) now. I've met her a few times and Mike has visited with her several more and REALLY likes her - in that he thinks she's a great addition to John's life. John can be a handful, but even I see that he's settled down and seems the most content I've ever known him, because of having her in his life.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer not too long ago, and has undergone surgery to get rid of the lump(s). Now she's in the chemotherapy stage of her treatment. When we visited them a few days before Christmas, she told us that she had just shaved her head because the hair-loss was getting too noticeable.

She was sporting a Santa cap, in the holiday spirit, and I didn't give her statement much thought, because hair - mine or other people's - really doesn't factor in my thoughts.

That evening, as I was taking a shower and lamenting the absolute ridiculousness of the length of my own locks, it hit me.

She doesn't get to shampoo her hair right now. Not brush it out or contemplate blow-drying it. She doesn't have the option of wearing it up or down. Nothing. All choice is gone for her at the moment.

Even though *I* think the hang-ups about a woman's hair are pretty dang dumb, it hit me that other people may still give part of their worth over to their hair, and the loss of it might affect them.

So I knit her a hat. I wanted her head to be warm, sporting anything more stylish and fit than a dumb Santa cap, and to minimize the discomfort she may have while living a hair-free live.

Lemme tell ya though, it was very hard deciding on a pattern. Not only do I have my own hat/head/hair hang-ups and ideas, there was much second-guessing of what another person would want to sport - even just in the privacy of their own home!

Plain beanie? Hello. PLAIN. Very Un-girlygirl.

Lacy Beret? Do they want peeks of their bald skull showing through? Am I projecting my own concerns?

Newsboy Cap/Baseball Cap replica? Some are very chic, but does the average banking professional want that?

Itchy Scratchy Wool/Alpaca blend - on a sensitive noggin? Not too sure on that one either.

Are you starting to see the self-doubt and gifting concern I was up against!?!?

It was very hard to pick something that I thought would not only keep her head warm (my original objective) but also wouldn't turn her off to hand-knits for all eternity.

Yet again, ravelry to the rescue. I won't bore you with the details of all the ways I cross-referenced my yarns to suitable patterns, but trust that I did that and more.

I eventually kept circling (and finally landed on) the Ring of Cables hat from Knit Picks. It's pretty similar to Knitty's Coronet and once I researched the yarns used, there was no doubt that my stashed burgundy Pastaza was a good fit. A little birdy named John let it be known that burgundy and black were the colors of choice for the recipient, so there ya go!

(it's less purple in real life, I promise)

M got her hat today and called to thank me profusely. She's nice like that :grin:

We got to talking, and I took the opportunity to ask her about particulars that I wasn't sure she'd be okay talking about . . . like . . .

Lacy pattern showing a bald head? Ayup. She loves the lacy.

Wearing in private only or for public outings? Both.

Another color she'd love to wear? M started out saying "red" which I got her to narrow down to "tomato red" versus "brick red" but then she changed it up and said what she'd really like is "Breast Cancer Survivor" pink. Her only concern in telling me her particular tastes was that she didn't want me to go out and buy a yarn "just because" I was knitting her something.

Oh, I would SO totally go buy it, but as luck would have it, I SO totally already own it!

Now, it's back to the pattern drawing-board.

Any suggestions?

The knitting options are:

Not too much forehead covering
Not too much "extra" at the crown
A brim, although not a large one

Friday, December 26, 2008

What I Knit for Christmas:

Now that the Holiday of Doom (tm) is over, I can divulge my knitting activities (although I'm not 100% done, but more on that later).

Unfortunately, my camera is MIA so pics will be up as soon as I locate the dang thing!

2 pairs of felted slippers for the in-laws

3 intarsia skull beanies for 2 BILs and a niece

1 matching beanie & scarf (done in horrid Moda Dea yarn) for wee-young niece

1 two-tone Coronet with a matching (in fiber and one of the colors of the hat) Falling Water scarf

6 soap socks to accompany handmade (by someone else) soaps

1 pair of Fuzzy Feet for my sis

2 "already knit and sitting in my F.O. stash pile" scarves

1 slouchy beret for my BFF. That her on-screen presence is "Queen of Curls" should explain why I went with "slouchy" and "beret" on her. She also got a neck-warmer thingymajig . . .

of which if knit . . .

7 neck-warmer thingymajigs and I only gifted one (see above).

Hands down, my absolute LOVE LOVE LOVE of the things I knit-gifted this year are my MIL's red felted clogs. They are So. Stink'n. Cute. and if they were for anyone else but her, I'm not sure I would have given them up.

My FIL's felted clogs were pretty good looking too, as were the skull hats I did.

Sheila's slouchy beret turned out really well also, thanks to Jollyewe's input and tips. I hope the coral/salmon color looks as good on her as I imagine. Her neckwarmer came from my never-ending skein of Lisa Souza's beautiful blue/green/purple alpaca blend. Sheila AND her sister saw me knitting with it and declared the colorway "Sheila's colors" . . . so what was I supposed to do? LOL.

Wee-young niece's hat & scarf were made in yarn that I knew she would love - Eden in the dark blue and light blue (grey?). It feels like (synthetic) rabbit fur. So very soft! Mike told me she kept petting the scarf and saying "soooooo soooooffft". More on her hat later.

My sis's Fuzzy Feet were bound off, felted and dried today. I dunno about this pattern though. From everything I read, they are supposed to be gargantuan socks felted down to a human foot size and I accomplished the 'gargantuan sock' part. Upon felting, they appear to be more like felted "bubbles" encasing the feet. There was no identifiable *shape* to them before felting. Pictures of the "before" just didn't look like my "before" and thus my "after" doesn't look like other people's "after" as well.

They are certainly functional enough that I would wear and enjoy them myself, but? You guys know what I mean. Are they what I want to represent my knitting acumen? That, I'm not so sure of. Where did I miss the shaping that should have been there, since my technical knitting was spot-on?

Which leads me to wee-young niece's hat (that matches her scarf). It didn't fit. At. All. Mike said it sat atop her head like a yarmulke (not that Mike's Bush-Okie family has ever seen one in living color, but I knew what he meant).

Mike's mom, my MIL, stated the obvious and said Wee-Young Niece is a McL and "hog-headed". No lie, hand-to-heart, that's what she said. Hog Headed. It's how those Bush-Okies talk.

Two other things:

The soap socks and corresponding handmade soaps didn't garner one mention from any recipient this year. Interesting.

Those other 6 neck-warmers I cranked out? I dunno. It just didn't feel right to give them as gifts. I definitely loved knitting them, and I've worn one or two myself and loved them alot, but . . . they felt like "those things". Items that are enjoyable from a knitter's perspective but wouldn't really be understood from a non-knitter-recipient's perspective. Much like legwarmers or the Clapotis or a lace project.

This year's knitted gifts - some amazing, some pretty damn good, some not-quites and all learning experiences.

Still left to knit:

MY BIL (on *my* family's side) want's a pair of felted slippers, and he deserves them.

A woman dear to Mike is being treated for breast cancer and has recently shaved her head, so I'm working on a worthy hat. I don't think she knows any other knitters and isn't sporting any "worthy" hats, so . . . now's my chance to represent us fiber fiends, lol!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chart Knitting Rocks:

This holiday knitting season has been the catalyst to get me into knitting from a chart, and now that I've done it I LOVE it.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the charted knitting patterns!

Look what I can do:

One BIL hat almost finished in one day! Details will get up on ravelry later.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ravelry: love (1 squillion)

Something I *just* figured out on ravelry and I must must must share with y'all!

Free charts.

Not impressed? You should be!

This latest "lightbulb moment" happened when I was perusing the pattern pages for something appropriately goth/rock/macabre/bizarro in knitted form for my rocker BIL, The Elder.

Skulls were my first pattern search, and naturally the We Call Them Pirates pattern jumped right out at me (it helps that I remember when CJ posted her FO of one). Then my eyes caught the Skull Hat pattern, which interested me even more.

From there, I thought to myself "Self, I wonder if there is just a chart for something skull-like" and whoo boy did I hit the jackpot. I did a pattern search for "skull chart" and found The Lady Wyvern's awesome knitting charts! How freak'n adorable is her "winking skull" ??? Then, I happened upon the Domiknitrix's stunning (and large) full-scale skull chart. I don't even like skull stuff but from a knitting standpoint, these are rather cool!

That's when my lightbulb went off. I began wondering if these awesome (and free) knitting charts might just be the tip of the iceberg . . . and people? They are!

Feast your eyes upon all the free knit charts.

My queue has just exploded and I cannot WAIT until Christmas knitting for 2008 is done, so I can cast on for 2009. Funny how 4 hours ago I was dreaming of all the "ME ME ME" knitting to look forward to on December 25th and now I'm more excited about gift knitting than I've ever been :grin:

I hope you all find something inspiring to knit too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Couldn't Tell You:

This holiday season, I have been bit extremely hard by the Crafting bug.

If I'm not knitting, then I'm hand-sewing. If I'm not hand-sewing, then I'm rubber-stamping.

Seriously, people.

Five years ago, if you had told me that I would want to knit more than I would want to read? I'da laughed so hard that tears would have rained down on the book I had in my lap at the time.

Two years ago, if you'da told me that I'd be hoarding yarn and pattern books/magazines like chocolate? I would wonder about your mental health.

A year ago, if you'da told me that I'd be breaking out a sewing machine soon? Well, I certainly would have thought you were off your rocker, as it were!

Things here at KBW are in full Crafty mode and while it surprises me a LOT, I couldn't be happier.

Once things get managed, from an organization standpoint, I will start cataloging all my crafty F.O.s, and believeyoume, there are a metric fiber ton of F.O.s.

I couldn't tell you where it has come from, but it's here and I LOVE it! Love, love, love!