Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Changed My Mind - Being Sick DOES Stink

I know, I know, I was all optimistic and perky in a recent post about how being sick is good way to catch up on your knitting. Well that was then, and this is now. When I wrote that last post, I was on the upswing out of a head cold. Now I am at the nadir of a chest cold and I am one unhappy crafter. I feel so lousy that even starting a fun new project (and I have loads in my Ravelry queue) doesn't sound appealing. That, my friends, is when you know a crafter has hit rock bottom.

At least Mr. Hipp's Cobblestone Sweater got finished before things got too bad. And just in time for dear Mr. Hipp's 30th birthday yesterday.

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I'm happy with how it came out. The collar makes a nice little lip at the top of all that garter stitch.

Mr. Hipp tried it on and likes it! He thinks it looks like chainmail and he feels like Gimli in "Lord of the Rings" in it (first a hobbit, now a dwarf!). The sleeves and body are a smidgen too short, but I'm hoping that a good wet blocking will fix that. Lolly made a sweater out of the same yarn for her hubby and gave me some lovely advice about using moisturizing conditioner when I wash it so that this rough wool softens up a bit. Thanks, Lolly!

A proper wrap up of this project and photos of Mr. Hipp wearing it are forthcoming; hopefully we can take some nice pictures at his Superbowl birthday party this weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Purl, Peacock Chic, and Panera

Have you ever eyed a pretty woven scarf and thought "Hmmm, maybe I should learn how to weave. A loom only costs a few thousand dollars..."

Have you ever put down a $5 super sale sweater and thought "Why should I buy this when I can totally knit it instead?" Then promptly plunked down $60 for a sweater's worth of yarn?

Have you ever had a hard time finding shoes that fit and thought "I ought to cobble my own!"

Have you ever met up with a blog buddy and thought "If she were hit by a car right now, would it be weird to take a picture and blog about it later?"


Well, maybe one day you too will reach these crazy craft blog depths. I know there are at least two crafters who are already there: one is me, and the other is my lovely blog buddy at Peacock Chic. I met her a while ago at a Yarn Lady bag sale and we've been egging each other along in blogland ever since. When I found out she had been to the infamous Purl warehouse, and was willing to take me along with her, I said, "Um, yes please!". We got together this Monday and wallowed in craft heaven.

Purl Visit 001
Can you tell we were having fun?

Good thing I had a buddy with me, because I don't know that I would have ever been able to find the Purl warehouse on my own. It's hidden in an industrial park, no sign no nothing. The only hint from the outside was piece of cardboard stuck on the door with a handwritten NO SOLICITING and a tiny Purl logo sticker.

The inside was as nondescript as the outside except it is totally full of great stuff. Yarn up to here, fabric up to there!

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I was very proud of myself for exercising considerable self-restraint. I was lucky to have Peacock Chic there to set an example (she was very good and bought just a bit of fabric to finish a WIP). I came away with some beautiful fabrics to make a tote bag and one skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton (Ravelry link) to line stranded hat for Mr. Hipp.

Purl Visit 003

After Purl, we went to Panera and enjoyed soup, sandwiches, and a whole lot of laughter. The people at tables nearby must have thought we were crazy, but whatever. She is super fun and bubbly and it was neat to see that someone else thinks some of the same weird crafting thoughts as me. Good thing she didn't get hit by a car after all.

Thanks for a great time, Peacock Chic!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Being Sick Stinks, or How To Make Progress on Your Knitting

There are two sides to every coin. You can call a respiratory infection a way to spend a miserable week, or you can call it a chance to catch up on your knitting. I choose the latter.

I'm up the yoke on Mr. Hipp's Cobblestone sweater. Hooray! All thanks to DVDs of "The Office", DayQuil, snot up to my ears, and some unplanned annual leave accruals.

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Now that I'm in the home stretch, I can't put this project down. I'm starting to get how some knitters can be one-project-at-a-time. Maybe that should be a new resolution for the year?

My nose and sinuses are on the mend, but poor Mr. Hipp is now down with the same bug. One of our cats (Gracie) has become very polite and says a sympathetic "meow" every time Mr. Hipp sneezes, like a little kitty "bless you!". We can't figure out if it's just coincidence or if she is really responding to the sneezes. Either way, it makes for some much needed smiles in Sickville.

Hope your week has been less infectious. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Even Hobbits Get Cold Feet

Mr. Hipp's feet are rather hobbit-like: often bare, impervious to the cold, and fuzzy.

He doesn't own a pair of house slippers. He doesn't need them. When his feet get cold (which is rarely), he wears thin cotton anklets.

So when I was fiddling around with a felt slipper project for myself this weekend*, I was surprised to hear that he wouldn't mind if I made a pair for him some day.

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Lucky man, the ones I made ended up too big for me. So I popped them onto the hobbit feet and they fit perfectly...and he likes them! He's been wearing them all week. He's even wearing them right now -- with shorts, so he doesn't get too hot. :)

If you want to see the step-by-step process of how I made these slippers, start at this photo on my Flickr site and click on the next photo in the set until you reach the photo above. These slippers were super easy to make and you don't even need a pattern.

* My feet are always cold and therefore always covered. I already own two pairs of nice house slippers, but I have TONS of felt and got the urge to use some of it up already.

Monday, January 7, 2008

2001 Revived and Holiday Crafting Wrap Up

The Christmas handmade crafts are (finally) over. Thanks goodness. It was a lot of fun to commit to handmade for the holidays, but boy oh boy, it was a lot of work. I didn't get to everything on my list, but I am very happy with the things I did get finished.

After all that, I don't have any photos of the recipients with their gifts. Bleh, always a day late and a dollar short in this house.

Dear family - please snap a photo of you and your hand made gift and send the pics to me. Pretty please? I'll crop your face out if you don't want it to be on the blog. Thanks!

I can at least share a run down of what I worked on:
* Foliage for my brother, made with DELICIOUS Malabrigo merino worsted in Azul Profundo (my Ravelry page on this project)
* Thuja socks for my dad, made with Colinette Cadenza (a new find and I love it!)
* My So Called Scarf for my step-mom, made with recycled yarn from a sweater she gave me that never quite fit (her or me) right
* Embroidered felt ornaments for my mother-in-law and father-in-law, made from some of this felt

I did get a quick photo of Mr. Hipp wearing my brother's Foliage before it was gifted. He liked it so much, he asked for a Koolhaas out of the same yarn, but we'll see what happens with that. Mr. Hipp is a patient man. He can be patient a little longer.

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I knew I couldn't hand make something for everyone on my list, so I turned to Etsy. This amazing motorcycle passport holder went to one (future) sister-in-law and this cute owl tote went to the other sister-in-law. Etsy is freaking great. I am so going to use it again next Christmas.

My poor mom is still waiting on her Guilt Socks and some newly requested fingerless mitts (perhaps a solid color version of these?). She even bought me the Cascade 200 over Thanksgiving for the mitts. *Sigh* I just couldn't get the mojo going for these projects. She ended up with not one hand made gift this Christmas. Bad Mrs. Hipp. Mom - your birthday is coming up so don't despair!

In the meantime, I have been distracting myself from my responsibilities (knitterly and otherwise) with a different project for Mr. Hipp.

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A bulky version of Cobblestone (Ravelry link) by brooklyntweed (aka Jared Flood). Does this yarn look familiar? It's the Reynolds Lopi I bought seven years ago to make a sweater for Mr. Hipp. That sad thing was frogged earlier this year and is now bring revived into a Cobblestone. Let's hope its second incarnation is a happier one.

Happy 2008 everyone!