Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yarn Diet, or How Many Weight Watchers Points is in a Ball of Koigu?

After successful forays to Ireland and the Yarn Lady bag sale, I think Wendy Knits has the right idea.

Wendy is encouraging personalization of the rules for Knit from Your Stash 2007 in order to make it easier for each knitter to stick to her/his own special needs. Here are the rules I have come up with for Hipp Crafts:

1. Hipp Knit from Your Stash 2007 will start January 1, 2007 and run through December 31, 2007 -- a period of twelve months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

* If someone asks for a specific handknit gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift.

* If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.

* If I am traveling in an area with locally produced or otherwise geographically special yarn, I may purchase some of that yarn as a souvenir.

* I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn and/or gift certificates for yarn. (Pay attention, Mr. Hipp!)

4. Necessary knitting supplies (needles, stitch markers, etc.) are exempt.

I have tons of gorgeous, beautiful, yarn just waiting for me to use it. I was excited when I bought it and get re-excited when I see it in my stash baskets, so why not be excited about knitting it?

Will you be participating in Knit (or Craft) from Your Stash 2007? What are your rules?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

If You Can't Afford It, Make It Yourself

While waiting from Mr. Hipp to arrive for $20 rush seats to a night out with Molly Ringwald, I took a window-shopping stroll into the fancy shops at South Coast Plaza and unabashedly fondled things that I cannot afford.

I stumbled upon a sweet little handknit tote bag with a surprisingly tart price tag -- like enough for Mr. Hipp and me to have four nights out with Molly Ringwald, plus a meal at In n Out. The only picture of it that I could find online is here -- it is the fourth picture that scrolls by in the "Pure Holiday" montage.

The rustic, handmade look charmed me. I made some quick mental notes on the construction and sent a silent thank you to The Designer (or her unnamed designee) for the idea. Luckily, I had just the right yarn in my stash already: Patons Up Country in an icy blue. It is 100% wool, barely spun, with the occasional bit of dried grass or twig embedded in it.

I made a rectangle for the bottom, then picked up stitches on all four edges and started knitting in the round for the body. Single purl stitches in the corners create right angles within the plain stockinette body and help maintain the rectangular shape. The inspiration piece has an interior zippered pocket which was also knit but at a much smaller gauge. I think instead I will give it a fabric lining to protect things from poking through the stitches -- it must still be functional in the end!

The thought that this project might be a last-minute holiday gift briefly crossed my mind, but reality quickly set in. So now I will just enjoy it for what it is and hope it comes out nice enough to give to someone, someday, maybe.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blog Shout Out!

Ahhhh! I am so excited. Hipp Crafts has been mentioned on another blog - the fabulous Nubian Craftster. Just a few weeks after adoring her Sunrise Circle Jacket in my first blog entry, I ran into her at the Yarn Lade bag sale. (75% off...drooooool.) Shrinking violet that I am, I interrupted her yarn shopping with an embarrassingly loud, "Are you the Nubian Craftster?" You would have thought I had just seen Brangelina with all three kids in tow.

Go check out her blog -- there are some breathtaking photos of her recent trip to Indiana.

I wish I had had my camera with me during the bag sale (had to keep my hands free for grabbing the yarn) because she was wearing the Sunrise Circle Jacket and it was even better in person. The yarn she used looks a lot thicker than what I got in Ireland. I might have to double it to get the right gauge. Do you think I have enough yarn to do that?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pebbled Mirror

Knitting is a wonderful, challenging, and fascinating craft. But in my impatient hands, even small projects can just be too darn slow. There are times when I need a little filler, something quick and satisfying and brainless. Enter the Pebbled Mirror.

The pebbles are from Crate and Barrel, the mirror from Ikea (home of all things great and cheap). I think the pebbles are intended for use as decoration in vases and around candles, but each one had a nice flat surface - perfect for this project.

The 15% of me that is anal-retentive decided to sort the pebbles by color, then lay them out on the mirror without glue to see if I had enough pebbles. Sure enough, I needed to add a few green glass marble-things to finish off the edges. Unlike the Ugliest Hat in America, this last minute addition of something green actually seems to work.

The Pebbled Mirror is a bit small to be truly functional as a mirror, but I am happy with how its mellow colors contrast with a beautiful and brightly painted box from Peru -- a gift from one of my mother's global mountain-climbing adventures -- on top of a cheerful blue bureau.

I don't know if it was the soothing joy of arranging pretty pebbles or the fumes from the industrial-strength glue, but working on this project realigned my crafting stars...the knitting mojo is back. If only every frustration in life could be solved so simply.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

The Fringe Benefits of Crafting

Mr. Hipp and I went to Disneyland today and took a ride on the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters - easily the best ride ever. You get to shoot targets as you go through a battle against the Evil Emperor Zurg and your shooting scores are tallied along the way. The ride snaps your picture in the throes of battle and makes a composite image with your scores and some images from outer space.

I beat Mr. Hipp by 9,400 points. Perhaps all this crafting, especially knitting, has given me superior forearm strength and finger dexterity. Or maybe I'm just way better at this game than him!