Saturday, March 30, 2013

TARDIS sock progress + Blue Alpaca Cabled Earflap Hat Redux

TARDIS sock progress

Dear Doctor and Clara: I love you. Sincerely, Mikhaela. (P.S. But I still miss Amy and Rory).

I know I said my next knitting project would be colorwork gloves, but then I remembered Doctor Who was coming back tonight and I went for colorwork TARDIS socks instead... More details later when I am farther along. (Two other women in the Brooklyn Burdastyle Sewing Club are knitting them too—they'll probably both finish before I do at my snail's pace.)

The whole stranded aka fair isle colorwork knitting thing isn't quite as hard as I anticipated. The only tricky part for me was just teaching myself to knit English-style with one hand and continental with the other — like jumping up and down and patting your head and stomach and singing at the same time, but doable. The lettering looks a little fuzzy so far so I will touch it up with duplicate stitch as suggested.

And here's the hat I finished while lying in bed after my surgery:

Blue Alpaca Sunrise Hat Redux w/ Earflaps

The pattern is 18 Seconds to Sunrise by Tiffany Gallagher and the yarn is Misti Alpaca Chunky Baby Alpaca in Marine.(Full Ravelry details here.) I had already knit this hat before but had to unravel it and add an extra pattern repeat because it was just too tight no matter how I blocked it. This time I added the earflaps and i-cord (aka "idiot cord") tassels and am much happier all round. I feel like without earflaps I either have to knit a hat so big it covers my eyes, or I just constantly tug at the sides to keep my ears warm. I-cord was also new to me and was much simpler than colorwork!

Blue Alpaca Sunrise Hat Redux w/ Earflaps

Blue Alpaca Sunrise Hat Redux w/ Earflaps

I realize the photos are a bit odd because I am wearing it with a lace camisole tank top thing instead of a coat, but it's nearly 60 degrees in Brooklyn today and I'm still too sick/weak to go out much.

Oh, and little Z wanted her turn to wear both the hat and matching cowl too:

Little Z in my cabled alpaca hat and cowl...

Are you a Doctor Who fan? If so, what do you think of Clara so far? Would you ever do a geeky craft project or are you a bit too sophisticated for that?

P.S. Thank you all so much for your good wishes before and after my surgery! It means a lot to me! I'm still not at 100% (more like 60%) but I am getting better every day and finally was able to return to work.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Name that flirty Hummingbird! (presale + a post-surgery update)

Hi all! I'm still recovering from my surgery, which has been SOOOO much harder than I expected! (General anesthesia and I are NOT friends, and for days afterwards I could do nothing but sleep, cry, eat gelatin and take pain-killers.)

... but I wanted to make sure you were all aware of the Hummingbird Presale for Cake Patterns, which runs through April 7!

Also, StephC and I had so much fun working on the girls for the cover (she modeled, I drew), but while you may have met Maya on the cover of Pavlova, our background girl still needs a name. Ideas, please? (Of the suggestions so far, I love Ingrid, Clea and Izzy...). As before, my cartoonist husband Masheka was the designer.

Here's the back image... Oh I just love peplums and flounces! Also, I love green and pink together. And bright colors... you know me!

More details on Hummingbird and the presale over at 3 Hours Past.

As for the surgery... I was on strict bed-rest for a week, and have to take it easy for another week, but I'm now breathing through my nose and free of a sinus infection for the first time in MONTHS. I was actually able to smell my delicious spicy lunch food today. AMAZING. I cannot WAIT to be well enough to SEW, I tell you what! Thank you all for your super sweet well wishes.

Here's a drawing my 2-year-old daughter Z did of her taking care of me during my surgery recovery... she drew a bandage on her face as well (she's the tiny one) to make me feel better. "Mommy is happy because the doctor fixed her hurt nose":

P.S. Not much knitting while lying in bed, but I did weave in the ends on my cardigan and reknit a too-tight hat (scroll down) I had to frog because it was giving me headaches ... pictures when I can! And I wound the balls of yarn for a pair of TARDIS socks (the dear Doctor is back in just a few days after all).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Glove Inspiration: Making My Knitting Life More Colorful (and Difficult!)

Inspiration for my next knitting: maralenenok's "Worth Two in the Bush" colorwork gloves on Ravelry

At long last, I have finished knitting my chartreuse Georgina cardigan, and although I still have to sew in the ends, find some buttons and block the lovely soft thing, I'm super happy—it fits perfectly (that is, very snug and not all baggy and droopy like the last cardigan I made for myself) and is just soft as an organic merino wool cloud.

Which means I can look forward to my next project, something I've always wanted to tackle—gloves with real fingers! I know knitters love making mittens, but I am just not a mitten wearer. Fingerless mitts are also more popular and easier than gloves, and I've made two pairs... a Malabrigo "Fetching":

Mikhaela's Two-Tone Purple Malabrigo Fetching Mitts

... which I wear all the time when my office is chilly, but which are not so useful outside in the actual freezing winter cold. And a pair of "Dashing" man mitts for my husband...

... which I'm afraid never actually get worn, since his home office is never actually cold.

But I want gloves. Real gloves. Difficult gloves with tricky little fingers. And COLORWORK, which I've never actually done. So I'm going to follow in the footsteps of all the enterprising Ravelers who have made gloved versions of Eunny Jang's lovely free colorwork pattern, the Endpaper Mitts:

This is not exactly a new plan, since I bought the yarn for this project back in 2008. It's Koigu Premium Merino in two of my favorite colors—chartreuse (naturally) and teal:

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Hurrah for stash-busting?

By the way... It took me a good deal longer to finish the Georgina than the one and a half weeks suggested by the pattern, but who's counting? As I've probably mentioned a gazillion times, things have been quite rough over here for me and my little girl, healthwise. In January, we ended up taking little Z to an amazing two-week intensive hospital program for kids with severe eczema, asthma and food allergies at National Jewish Health in Denver. It was life-changing: little Z is no longer covered in horrible itchy rashes and she SLEEPS every night through the night from about 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. (No more crying and itching herself awake until 1 a.m. and needing to be held all night long).

But alas, a few blissful weeks of sleep have not alleviated my own health problems. I've now had EIGHT serious sinus infections in the last six months with fever, chills and aches, four of which required antibiotics and oral steroids. Basically, I get really, really sick, am bedridden for 2-4 days, slowly start to recover over the next three weeks... and then after maybe two or three days of feeling OK, I get sick again (There's nothing wrong with my immune system, either.). A CAT scan revealed a severely deviated septum and other anatomical issues, and I'm scheduled for sinus surgery in a little over a week. I'm really looking forward to it—to having energy, to not being snuffly and exhausted and feverish and in pain all the time... to having more fun with my little girl... and to sewing again, of course!

So, two questions. For the knitters:

  • Have you ever knit gloves?
  • What's your stand on gloves vs. mittens vs. fingerless mitts?
  • Do you do colorwork?

And for all of you: do you ever get that urge to tackle a project that is going to be really tricky and make you swear a lot? And how does that work for you?