Thursday, June 25, 2009

A spot of travel

The Limey has to be in Munich for work next week, and since we've only seen each other for a total of two days in the last month, I'm gonna tag along. The only place in Germany I've ever been is Berlin, which I loved, so I'm excited about wandering around Munich. We'll be there for five days. I think I may have to hang around with The Limey and his work people in the evenings, but I will have the days to myself.

Anybody been to Munich? Or live there? What should I see? I will get a guidebook, but it's always nice to hear people's experiences. Oooh, and restaurant recommendations, please. All I do nowadays when I travel is look for yarn shops and restaurants!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I wouldn't need to be paid to knit if I were paid to frog

I'm working on another design for Fyberspates. It's actually a version of a sweater that I had been knitting for myself. But one that other people could also knit without, you know, reading my mind.

This picture was taken during its second frogging session. Both times, I'd knit around 10 inches. The first time, I realized the lace pattern wasn't matching up exactly symmetrically across the side "seams". If this were just for me, I probably would have just carried on, but it's the sample, so I figured it should actually, you know, look good. So, frogged back to the ribbing.

The second time, I realized that, if I were to write up the way I was going about this sweater, it was going to result in a pattern involving numerous instances of the phrase "at the same time," as well as some pretty heinous simultaneous lace shaping instructions. (I love figuring out lace shaping, myself, but I realize it's not some other people's idea of a party.) So, frogged back to the ribbing.

Finally, I figured out a way to do this without future knitters tearing their hair out, and I'm merrily knitting along, la la la, past the waist shaping...when it dawns on me that I've been knitting this as if it were for me, i.e., to my measurements. The width isn't a problem, because luckily I'd figured out that bit of the sizing already. The length, however...since I'm short, I've pretty much memorized where I like my clothing to hit on my hip, my length measurements, etc., and I was just unconsciously knitting this to my preferences, rather than a standard sample size.

Third time's the charm, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I want to knit a dress

I know, I've already knit a dress, but now I want a summer one. Yes, by the time I finish, it won't be summer anymore, but since I've got a couple of projects that have to be done before I even start on anything else, I'm hoping to just sneak it in to next summer.

I've been mulling over a summer dress in my head for a while now, and I have some things figured out:

  • it will be knee-length or just above
  • it will be knit in linen or some other summer-appropriate, non-stretchy yarn (boo to cotton, silk or bamboo)
  • it will have short or no sleeves
  • it will be mostly stockinette
  • the skirt will be fuller than A-line
The only problem? I have no idea how the top half of this dress is going to look. I want it to be flattering on me, obviously (no waist, little Buddha belly). It will need some sort of waist and boob treatment so I don't just look like a stuffed sausage.

I'm trying to figure out what kind of shape/detailing would look good. The problem is I haven't been around the shops in ages, so am drawing a blank on the different styles. Any suggestions? Any suggestions on yarn that won't cost a fortune? I need to buy a whole dress' worth!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My God...I think I have a tan!

Continuing visitor season, my good friend K was here for a few days last week. (I love visitors.) I hadn't seen her in ages, so it was good to catch up. It was also good because she was up for a lot of walking around, and since I was only starting to familiarize myself with Oxford, we explored together.

We did spend some time wandering around the town, but the best was when we, unintentionally, took the Thames Canal path all the way to Wolvercote, at which point we figured there was no reason not to stop at The Trout Inn. Mmmm....Pimm's by the water in the sunshine. Then we came all the way back down to Oxford via the Thames Path. I think I'll be making that journey many more times.

We did a bunch of stuff that you're "supposed" to do. We peeked at some of the colleges, looked at all the great buildings, went to The Turf. But, honestly, the best afternoon we had was when we ducked into a random pub to get out of a sudden rain and found that it was populated only by the Kiwi bartender and two of his regulars, a Welshman and an Englishmen. (I feel like I should start a joke here: Two Americans walk into a pub...) They started by disapproving our beer choices, tried to convince us that cricket and rugby were the only proper sports, talked about where they/we had travelled, recommended a restaurant, and then pushed drink at us, including a Jagermeister/Red Bull concoction...which was weird. Anyway, by the time we left, my cheeks were aching from laughing, and then the bartender refused to take payment for our drinks.

It's really nice when you get a good afternoon like that in, especially with visitors.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Hera Jacket

We don't have our own internet yet, using the neighbour's, which is patchy, so I'll do all my blogging at once while I've got any signal.

I delivered the Scrumptious design project to Jeni on UK Ravelry Day. The pattern's being tech edited, and so will be available soon. Meanwhile, it was in the fashion show at Ravelry Day, and I can show you pictures. Unfortunately, not on the lovely model for the show- I had no time for pictures then!

Here it is:

Hera, a cozy wrappy jacket knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious Chunky, in a fantastic woven-like pattern. It was great working with the scrumptious yarn, and it works perfectly for the stitch pattern- it really makes the texture stand out. And the wool/silk mix gives a heavy, cozy jacket that just feels really good when you put it on. It almost makes me long for chillier weather. Almost.

Folded collar, hemmed edges, great little detailing that highlights the two characteristics I was going for: texture and shape.

Too bad the sample's gone back to Jeni! It was so cozy to wrap myself up in during the evenings, especially since the weather has turned the last few days.

You wouldn't believe how many pictures it took to get a few that looked good- there are more and I'll show them when the pattern's available. But it's really hard to take pictures of yourself! I didn't want to do it outside, 'cause I feel like an eejit posing. Getting a good background with good light indoors meant moving furniture around. I think this pretty much sums it up:

I'm really happy with how this jacket turned out. I'm always slightly surprised when stuff happens the way you plan it- but I got the shape, feel and everything about this jacket right.

UK Ravelry Day report

I had so much fun at UK Ravelry Day. Oh, it was brilliant. I met and talked to so many people. This is special for me because in situations like that, I usually find I have nothing to say, even to people with whom I supposedly have something in common, so I clamp up and sort of just spend my time mooching around the stalls, get bored, and find that I still have hours to kill before my train/plane/bus/whatever. Not this time! So in this 'Report from Ravelry Day' post, I shall simply tell you about the interactions I had with all those lovely people.

First, the lady from the Knitting and Crochet Guild who offered an expenses-paid cab ride for random Ravelry Day attendees at the train station: Thanks!

Then I got to meet Jeni of Fyberspates. She is lovely and tall and was wearing cool boots.

She got to see the Scrumptious design in person and loved it, which was a great relief to me. She let me pick out yarn for the third and last design of this batch of ideas I'd sent her. Best of all, we had a good chat about further collaboration and ways to get the designs into shops as well as selling on the innernetz.

And then I spent the whole morning helping Angie set up the fashion show. Let me tell you: I have never had so much fun whilst in the midst of so much chaos. Oh man. Angie and I, along with Pat, Pam and Tom (I believe that's his name) ran around like headless chickens for a while, before Tom sat Angie down with pen and paper and got things started on the road to organization. Oh, it was glorious fun. With five minutes to spare before the show began, we managed to put together a master list of garments and models in the order of presentation. I was convinced we would send people out in the wrong order or there would be huge gaps in the show while we got people changed, but in the end, I believe it went off pretty credibly. I was backstage frantically throwing clothes at people and moving them physically into correct order, so didn't get to see any of it! But I had an unbeatable time.

I got cake and spent some of the early afternoon working the door and checking tickets with a volunteer in a Ravelry t-shirt whose name I totally did not get. We had a grand time. When the number of people died down, Jo, the day's organizer, threw a Meg Swansen ticket at me and told me in no uncertain terms to enjoy myself at the talk.

I ran into Liz while getting more cake after the talk, and spent a relaxing half hour chatting with her. We'd only met a few days before, when I went to my first knitting meeting of the Oxford Bluestockings group. Always nice to get a chance to pick a local's brains when you're a new resident.

As I was sitting, knitting and waiting for one of the workshops to let out, Pam or Pat (I'm sorry! I got them mixed up in the fashion show madness, and now will forever be confused) stopped by and, again, I spent a great half hour chatting with her. She goes to a bunch of the knitterly gatherings in the UK, and says that Tom happily accompanies her to them as well. I look forward to running into them again.

Finally, to cap off a great day, I met up with the Irish contingent and -what else?- went to the pub. It was great to see Isobel and Sinead again, and to meet Averil and some of the representatives from Cork.

It turned out a bunch of other Ravelry Day people, including the organizers and some guests, congregated at the same pub. We took over a whole half of the first floor, I think. God only knows what the rest of the pub thought. We thanked Jo, although she refused to make a speech. It was a brilliant evening, and, thanks to two very weak mojitos (was there even booze in those?), I even managed to find my way to the train station sans taxi.

And then! At the train station, I met Rene, another Californian scientist Raveler. She'd only just moved to the UK a couple of months ago. We were on the same train for most of the way and spent the journey discussing expat things, science, and the way British people use whingeing about the weather as a social lubricant.

Great day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Minor miracles

One of the things I love about knitting is how a few little finishing tasks turn some random, tattered-looking pieces of fabric into a beautiful, finished, professional-looking garment. Weave in ends, polish up the edges and -voila!- a piece of actual clothing! That you can wear!

It's done.

This is the sample for a pattern I've designed for Fyberspates' Scrumptious yarn. I took my time finishing this because it was clear that I wouldn't have enough time to knit a sample for another pattern, anyway. I was a bit nervous about how the whole thing would look (a problem when you pitch designs based solely on a sketch and swatch) but as soon as I knit the collar and attached the all came together and it actually looks like what I'd intended it to look like.

I wanted to get some modeled pictures before delivering it to Jen at UK Ravelry day, but my photographer is out of town, and I don't know anyone in Oxford to model for me yet.