Friday Finds: Avengers Assemble!

Super special Friday Finds this week! Some of you may have noticed that I kind of love The Avengers. If you haven’t, you clearly need to be following me on Twitter. (Or not, if that’s not you’re kind of thing, but COME ON.) In honor of the DVD and Blu-ray release of Avengers, I bring you an super-sized Avengers-themed Friday Finds! And don’t forget, you can always go crazy and replicate the Loki scarf!

Side note: There is a sad, sad lack of Hawkeye and Black Widow–related patterns (and I thought some of you would hurt me if I posted photos of knitted or crocheted spiders). Please, my nerdy designer friends, fix that.

All photos are from Ravelry pattern pages unless otherwise noted.

Stitch App for Windows Phone 7: A First Look

Hi, I’m behind the times, this should not be news if you’ve been following along. About three weeks ago, Casey of Ravelry (that’s his medieval name, you know) posted about some of the mobile apps that had been developed for Ravelry users on various mobile platforms. I finally joined the smart phone users about a year and a half ago… with a Windows Phone. There are various reasons why I ended up with the type of phone that seems least supported by apps and functionalities that I want (I’m looking at you, Instagram, and the ability to screencap), but it’s been a good phone to me while we’ve been together (I am considering getting an iPhone at the end of the year, but that’s mostly because my iPod is geriatric and I’m looking to consolidate bits of technology I’m carrying around).

I was delighted to see a Ravelry app, called Stitch, for Windows Phone included in Casey’s blog post, so I scurried off to download it and while I haven’t really played with it too much yet, here’s my initial review of this program.

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Did I mention that I’m disappointed with the inability to screencap from one’s phone? (That’s a Windows Phone function and has nothing to do with Stitch, in case that’s confusing.)

The design of Stitch is really well integrated with the general Windows Phone design, making it intuitive and simple to use. The main menu is simple—choose from your projects or your queue.

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The projects and queue screens also blend into the main design of the Windows Phone, and pull the main project photo from your projects page (and shows a box for projects when you’ve failed to actually take a photo and upload one), or the main photo from the pattern page if you’re looking at the queue view.

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You can pull up your full queue, or all of your projects, and see an itemized list like the image above. Super handy when you get stuck in a yarn store and are trying to only buy yarn for planned projects (which we all do, right?).

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From the projects page, you can select a project and get the full information that’s listed on your Ravelry projects page. In addition, the main photo of your project is displayed behind the text (similar to what the Windows Phone music app does, though that displays photos of the band that’s playing).

I am never changing the main photo of that scarf.

Anyway.

Stitch’s projects page displays the yarn and needle information for the project, allows you to update your notes field, and can upload photos directly from your phone to Ravelry. You see that I took a crappy in-progress photo of the scarf to test it out.

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Overall this app is a fantastic start. A couple of drawbacks in it’s current edition—you can’t create new projects or cast on directly from your queue (like you can when visiting Ravelry from a computer), and right now it doesn’t access your stash information. I don’t know how much of this may be in the works or how much can’t be integrated because of Ravelry’s coding, but I would really like to be able to see my stash, for those moments when I stumble into a yarn store and think “I may have some of this yarn at home, do I? Do I need more for a project? Am I just trying to rationalize buying yarn?”

Don’t lie. You do that too.

For kicks, here’s a better progress photo of Loki’s scarf, with cat for reference (and cuteness). It’s come a long way… and has a long way to go yet.

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Are you using any of the mobile apps for Ravelry? What do you think of yours?

Month in Review: November

For most of November, there wasn’t necessarily a great amount of projects finished—only one so far, actually—but there was a lot of progress made!

I did finish this month’s pair of socks…

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…and knit the back and then the front of a sweater, and then re-knit the separate fronts (I did manage to rip and re-knit the second front in a bit of Criminal Minds marathoning).

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In between finishing the socks and waiting for sweater pieces to dry, I cast on for a couple of small baby photos. One is another Due North that has no photographic evidence yet, and the other is a Little Star Afghan that is enticing my cat like no other project ever has.

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And then there was too much yarn, and I won’t talk more about that, but I will share this (which isn’t all of the yarn, as some of it hasn’t arrived and some hasn’t been photographed).

Too many yarns

That was my November! For December’s socks, I think I’m going to revisit January’s debacle and knit the Wishbone Socks, as my friend was able to whip the yarn into shape and it is now ready for use. Of course, I also want to finish the two baby items I started and try to add in at least one baby cardigan so I can hand them to a friend in person at the end of the month, so we’ll see what ends up happening.

Month in Review: September

Two posts in one day! It’s not often that the last day of the month is also a Friday, but I didn’t want to combine the Friday Finds and the Month in Review into one post; the first is all about the awesomeness that other people are putting into the world, the second is all about what I’ve managed to accomplish (or not accomplish) in a month.

This month is full of accomplishments, because I discovered the joys of knitting on big needles. First on the size 15s was a pair of French Press Felted Slippers, which I have felted—I just haven’t had a chance to photograph the felted versions. Or stick the little tab part and sew on buttons. I’ve just been wearing them around the house. They are a little big, but I’m afraid of felting them to the point they’re too small, so I may just add some elastic in at the heel.

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And then there was my Mustard Scarf on the size 15s, with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted.

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I also finished my Amy’s Scarf, and then sent it off to Ashley, who reports that she was having difficulties taking it off. I love knitting things for knitters. My family appreciates hand-knit goods, but they rarely ever wear them (though my mom does occasionally wear the scarf I knit her for Christmas one year, so that’s the one exception).

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Then I switched my attention to wee little knits, and whipped up a “cut” for Lisa’s son, based on the TV show Sons of Anarchy, which both Lisa and I enjoy watching.

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And I knit another Elefante by Susan B. Anderson! This was a secret project, and I didn’t want to write about it until I knew Lisa had received the gifts, so I can talk about it now. I knit this with half a skein of Sheep Shop Yarn Company Sheep Feet, which is now discontinued, in the “Royalty” colorway. I’d bought the yarn about 2 and a half years ago, on my wedding/interview trip to Colorado, and couldn’t really figure out anything to do with it. It’s a DK weight yarn, and I could have knit a pair of socks, but I just didn’t have a pattern in mind, ever. So I took a chance on the DK yarn in this pattern, and it’s so cute! I’ve knit an Elefante before, and I highly recommend it as a way to use up scrap yarn or churn out a last-minute baby gift.

Elephant!

And yes, they always look just a little drunk.

I also made some more progress on my sweaterdress, and then saw all that progress go down the tubes. Still bitter. And then I started on another secret project that I can’t tell you about FOR WEEKS (it’s for a swap partner). Though there may be some teaser photos and whatnot along the way.

As to looking ahead, I’ve got a variety of projects on my list that I want to finish in the month of October. Apparently my circle of friends have collectively reached that reproductive cycle of life, so there are lots of little baby knits on deck. Most aren’t “due” soon, but they’re baby projects, and those are fast, and I’m all about cheap personal thrills. I am going to try my hand at socks again next month. I said “to heck” with the random number generator and just decided to knit a pair of Snickets.

On the stashing front… well.
IMG_2577This is Black Bunny Fibers, sent to me by Jacinta, in exchange for the Malabrigo Sock I sent her—she’d never had any Malabrigo before! I felt that needed to change.

Knot for KnothingThen there was “Purple People Eater” dyed by Lizz, who was selling yarn in preparation for her move down to the Denver area (and she’d better come back and visit!). It’s purple. I was helping a friend! It needed to come home with me.

Sweet GeorgiaMy biggest stumble and fall of the month were these five skeins of Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in the Berry Tart colorway, but they’re going to be knit into a Chambourcin by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud one of these days. I feel like it’s “better” if I at least buy yarn with a project in mind.

This is about 280 yards of handdyed, handspun yarn sent to me from Carrie, who was also involved in the “How Can You Have Never Had Malabrigo In Your Life?” swap. I just love the blues and greens in this skein, which I couldn’t photograph well with my phone.

IMG_2793I traded this yarn (Politically Incorrect’s MCN 375 in the Phantom Disagreer colorway) with a friend who needed a skein of yarn that I had for a particular project. The beauty of this is that I can use this skein for the project I’d originally intended to use with that first skein, and yes, this is for that aforementioned secret project, and look, you’re already getting teaser images.

Neighborhood Fiber Co Then there’s this Neighborhood Fiber Co Studio Sport that I received in a nail polish trade. I’d picked up an extra color of usually on the expensive side nail polish (butterLONDON, if you’re curious) during a crazy sale at Ulta. I didn’t want this color for myself, but I knew a bunch of my friends did, and one of them traded yarn for nail polish. I like this barter system.

So I really only purchased (for myself) the destash from Lizz and the Sweet Georgia with a project in mind; that’s not too bad! I did buy another skein, but again, that’s going to my swap partner, so it’s not added to my stash.

Knitting and the Television

Remember when you first started knitting and it was something to do while you sat around, watched TV, did other things? A means of being productive while doing something else?

I realized yesterday that the roles of knitting and other distractions in my life have completely reversed. In an attempt to unwind from real life stressors, I spent a lot of time watching TV and knitting this week, especially yesterday. When I first started learning to knit, almost five years ago, my projects were mostly scarves (because that was what I did at the time) and very simple stitches. I could knit while watching anything—except for maybe stuff with subtitles.

Now, I’m picking my TV around what I want to knit. I don’t have TV service at my house, so when I say “TV,” I mean TV (or movies) on DVD. When I wanted to knit on my Rock Island shawl? I put on True Blood, because I’ve seen seasons 1 and 2 enough that I don’t have to pay attention to them, and could instead tune into the chart portion of the shawl (I’ve got about 10 more rows to go on the chart; it’s awesome to see how much knitting this is picking up as the rows get shorter and shorter).

Rock Island Shawl

When I wanted to work on my Elemental Boatneck, I put on Torchwood season 1. I’m getting the discs from Netflix, and since I’m a total newcomer to the show, I knew that knitting linen stitch in the round (forever) would be a better choice, because I don’t have to pay attention to the knitting.

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The good news is that I’ve finally separated for the front and back on this pullover. I just started working the lace pattern this morning. Yay progress! Though I did find a bit of errata for the two largest sizes of the sweater. As written, armhole shaping is supposed to end with 98 (102) sts. However, these numbers don’t work with the lace repeat, a multiple of 4 sts plus 4 sts; 98 – 4 = 94, which is not evenly divisible by 4 and 102 – 4 = 98, also not evenly divisible. If you’re knitting either of those sizes, either work another row of decreases or stop a row short (so you’ll have either 96 or 100 sts for the 46” size, or 100 or 104 sts for the 50”). Sorry if that was a bit too much math for your day off, if you’re observing Memorial Day.

Month in Review: April

April was a really busy month! Work was busy, and when I wasn’t at work, I was searching (successfully!) for a new place to live, come August. Doesn’t it seem strange to look in April for a place to live in August? Apparently, that’s just what you do here, what with all the college kids, I guess. But it’s all sorted, and in the midst of being crazy busy, I managed to get some knitting accomplished!

First off the needles this month was, well, half a pair of socks. I knit the first of my April socks in a weekend, the very first weekend of April. The second sock flew off the needles almost as quickly, but there was a good three-week gap in between the first and second socks. Once I realized that Marigold was a very portable, easy to memorize pattern and that I could knit one of them in about three days, I took a break from sock knitting to concentrate on some other projects. Miss that post? Marigold socks and zombie shoes, oh my!

Marigold Socks

I made up a shawl from scratch, using a gifted skein of yarn and apparently a limited ability to do algebra and knit at the same time.

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I’ve also picked up my Elemental Boatneck and I’m about halfway through the body. Fourteen inches in linen stitch is still fairly mindless, but also not. And I got distracted by shawls and socks; this pattern could be moving much faster than it currently is. This weekend, I’m hoping to knock out the rest of the linen stitch and maybe make a good amount of headway on the lace neckline. With any luck, I can knock out the body before I leave on Wednesday and bang out a nice chunk of sleeve on an airplane.

I haven’t really blogged about this yet, but after my Made-Up Shawl, I felt the need to cast on for another shawl, one that would be much more mindless. Having seen some amazing Multnomah‘s on Ravelry, I cast on for that with a skein of Fresh from the Cauldron Silver Sock in the “Auld Lang Syne” colorway. That will probably be finished fairly soon.

Continuing with my goals:
The Random Number Generator has spoken, and May’s socks are going to be The Scent of Lavendar in Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet sock yarn, “Awakening Earth” colorway.

And I did not procure any yarn at all in the month of April! No gifts, no random acts of kindness, no yarn of any kind came into my house to add to my stash, which means everything off the needles or currently in progress this month is TOTAL YARN LOSS. Awesome.

That said, I leave on Wednesday to head to Maryland Sheep and Wool (!!!) and as I said back in December, I’m allowed a free pass for that weekend. Well, “free pass” so long as it’s within my budget and whatnot. I don’t plan on going totally overboard, and I hope to have sometime to prioritize a “shopping list” before I leave.

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post photos of whatever I buy. Have to be held accountable somehow!

I’m a Level 85 Alpha Knitter

On one of my Ravelry boards, someone threw out the phrase “alpha knitter,” and I henceforth declared that I wished to be known as threadpanda, alpha knitter. Sometimes a panda needs to be a little presumptuous.

Today’s topic from the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week world tour:

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet? (an you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

I’ve been knitting for about four and a half years now, and crocheting less frequently for a year and a half. Over the last year, I learned how to knit two handed, and in the process, brushed up on my Continental knitting skills (Continental purling is still a pain in my tush). This skill came in handy with my Slanted Peerie mittens and my Bandelier Socks.

My big goal for last year was to knit garments for myself, so I learned a lot about garment construction and seaming. I still need to learn a little bit more about customizing shaping, specifically placing and working darts and short-rows, but there’s still time for that.