Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Problems and Solutions

Problem: Need to discourage the cat from getting too fresh with the Christmas tree.


Solution: Discover "Cat Entertainment" videos on YouTube. Here Bucky is watching a 9-minute video of birds and squirrels for the third time in a row. He's about as bad as my little sister at the age of seven and Disney's The Little Mermaid. Bonus: For the first time in nearly two years, I am able to spin on my spinning wheel uninterrupted for more than 45 seconds.


Problem: The thought of all the social activities of the season, and the end-of-the-year responsibilities of our jobs is causing the spouse and I to break out into hives.

Pinnacles Nat'l Monument

Pinnacles Nat'l Monument

Solution: Take three days off right before Thanksgiving to drive to Santa Barbara and go hiking and wine tasting. I didn't question his need to take so many photographs of rocks, and he didn't question my need to visit this one particular yarn shop for this one particular yarn.

Faded Quilt Shelter

No, this isn't all that I bought.

Problem: I decide that all my gift knitting is boring. Too many hats and all.

Solution #1: I cast on for a shawl. Yes, it's for me. No, I don't think it's selfish. What?

Tart Stripe Study Shawl

I then realize that I still have deadlines on many of those holiday gifts, and come up with Solution #2: Decide that maybe I should knit something besides hats for gifts. Wait, isn't there a handy scarf-in-progress? Yeah, let's knit that instead.

Floating Down Scarf and Mitts

I realize that scarves are still pretty boring, and move on to mittens.

Denizens Convertible Mittens

Still bored. Think some more, and come up with Solution #3: I decide that maybe I could sew some gifts instead of knitting them. Yes, this will save time! Resolve to go purchase fabric for said sewing projects.

Pillow Fabric

Realize that spending money on supplies for future handmade gifts is dangerous, as it leads to spending money.

Japanese Cat Fabric

Problem: I don't have enough time to finish all my holiday gift knits.

Solution: Clearly, now is the time to photograph stash and projects, edit and upload photos, update Ravelry, and write a new blog post. Happy procrastination season, everybody!

Friday, December 2, 2011

More Adventures at Verb

Even though I'd successfully finished Angostura, when I saw that Ysolda was returning to the Bay Area to teach a class specifically about her book, I couldn't resist. In fact, I sorta talked two of my knitting friends into taking the class as well (although unfortunately we took it at different times).

Ysolda @ Verb

The rest of the store was packed, because it was also the one-year anniversary of Verb's grand opening. Graceful tall white curtains separated us from most of the madness. I'd brought a bunch of different size needles and a tape measure (just in case), along with my copy of Little Red in the City. I found my seat and set up my stuff.

Ysolda Class @ Verb

The class was mostly about information in the "introductory" portion of the book, and although I'd read through some of it, having a class was definitely helpful! Being able to ask for clarification about what was written in the book, hearing from the author herself about the most important parts (and having her tell you what the most important parts were!), and taking notes the whole time really solidified the information in my brain. I'm also very grateful to have the condensed-version handout that Ysolda made for us.

I'll admit to being a bit of a keener. When Ysolda asked for a volunteer, I immediately raised my hand Hermoine Granger-fashion, before I even knew what she wanted us to volunteer for. Turns out she wanted to do a measuring demonstration about how some of us ladies are a little *ahem* more 3-dimensional in the front than in the back.

I also got a good mental kick in the pants, because I did this thing that my own students do all the time which really bugs me. I haven't really done successful short-row shaping for the bust of a fitted sweater, and I wanted to know the best way to perform the wrap-and-turn. Ysolda gently pointed out that the book outlined three different methods that all effectively produce the same result, with very explicit tutorial-style instructions. Guess I should have read the book a little more carefully before asking my question! I wasn't put off at all, and now I think I need to just knit a wrap-and-turn swatch to get the hang of it. Overall, the class was very good and it was (in my opinion) dead cheap. I would have paid more for this class, and I would have really shelled out for a full-day workshop where we could measure ourselves and actually swatch. I left the class with new sweaters dancing in my head, but also with the knowledge that the holidays were right around the corner.

The only thing that could possibly have distracted me from crazily attempting to knit a sweater while simultaneously embarking on holiday gift knitting is this:

My new sewing machine!

My new sewing machine.

I bought more fabric than yarn during the anniversary sale after the class was over. More adventures to come.