Friday, August 14, 2015

Atticus Finch Strikes Again

This summer, I read To Kill A Mockingbird over again. Rereading (within reason) is great, because every time a book is read again, new details pop out. It's like seeing friends after a whole summer goes by– you notice the exact shape of their nose, or that funny thing their hair does, and you never really saw it before. Anyways, I got to that quote the teachers always stress at school, the one about how you never really know a man until you step into his shoes and walk around in them. Even though it is 100% teacher-endorsed, I still really like that quote. I read it, and nodded, and smiled, and considered underlining it, and then I turned the page. 
 Later, I realized that I hadn't written a blog entry since July. Where did the time go? How did so much happen during this free, lazy summer that I didn't sit down and poke a screen about my knitting? It crossed my mind a few times, but I was always like, "Eh. Don't wanna. Time to read/knit/play piano now," and the days just slipped away. That didn't bother me so much. Summer is for chilling, at least when you're a teenager. However, then I thought about the Yarn Harlot's blog, and all the times I had checked TWO WHOLE DAYS IN A ROW and wailed in dismay when there were no new posts. I realized that I had stepped into Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's shoes (except no one was wailing in dismay over my blog, so that was good), and I wasn't walking around so well. (Actually, if these were literal shoes we're talking about, I wouldn't be walking around so well, either. I think my feet are too big.) Now, instead of being dismayed, I am in awe that she can live her life and write a blog almost every day. Since I can't really do that, I'm just running in to type and then go bake an apple cinnamon cake. Also, I am going to show off some of my knitting, because why not? 
 AHAHAHA THIS IS WHAT I DO ALL SUMMER not really. I started a blanket this past school year, when my mom recieved two bags of yarn from a coworker's friend who couldn't knit anymore. In the bags were about seven little skeins of lovely '70s-color-yarn, in turquoise and salmon and purple. I wanted to knit something out of the yarn without having to actually wear it. So, without any specific pattern or plan in mind, I knit a white cotton rectangle to use as a base and picked up stitches from there. While the blanket was small, I took it to school. Once a guy in English class offered me five bucks for it. I took that as a compliment (five dollars is a lot at the snack machines).
After a while, I ran out of '70s yarn and had to fall back on my mom's "I don't want to knit this yarn but I'll keep it on hand just in case" stash. There was alpaca from Baltimore, wool from an American Girl doll sweater, Cascade 220 from a Pokeball hat, cashmerino from baby wear, acrylic from an afghan on our couch, and much more. The blanket grew and grew. It spread off my lap down to the floor and around my desk. Eventually, I decided to leave it at home and only knit on it during movies. That blanket and I saw Tomorrowland, Big Hero 6 (all five-plus times), The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, Pride and Prejudice (the six-hour BBC version with Jennifer Ehle), and Inside Out. The movie theater bag-checker made me take the blanket ALL the way out of the bag before I saw Inside Out, just in case. It kept coming out– and out– and out. He couldn't quite believe it. 
(^note the artsy lying-down shot in imitation of the Yarn Harlot. It's very gratifying to see all one's hard work stretching out before them like a vast, wooly plain.)
For the final border, I used leftover yarn from my first handknit cardigan. As I looked at the bare needles that had borne so much, I felt a strange emptiness. Now that my faithful companion of many, many months was sprawled on my bed, what would I knit during movie night?
 Well, I DO have a lot of leftover sock yarn...

Thursday, July 9, 2015


 I love Big Hero 6. It's like Kidzbop, only instead of being sung by kids for kids, it's made by nerds, about nerds, for nerds. (It's also much less annoying than Kidzbop.) Sadly, I seem to be rather alone in this. Hiro and Baymax cannot compete with Elsa and Anna for the hearts of the Disney fanbase. This means that while the average knitting Disney fan was spoiled by the sheer amount of patterns for Anna and Elsa dolls, Kristoff dolls, Olaf dolls, Kristoff hats, Hans dolls, Anna sweaters, Elsa sweaters, and Sven stuffies, they were terribly disappointed by the sad lack of patterns for anything related to Big Hero 6. Since I am the average knitting Disney fan, this was a hard thing to swallow. So I did what I love/hate to do: I designed a pattern!
 When one is the senior knitter of Nerd Club, one ends up knitting all sorts of stuff for one's friends that no designer in their right mind would write a pattern for. This includes, but is not limited to....

A blue-chicken Pokemon

Gauntlets in the style of Garnet from Steven Universe

and a Magikarp hat.

Engineering such projects is fun, but it can also be extremely frustrating and draining, especially when the dumb blue chicken's bum is so fluffy you can't see your stitches, or when the gauntlets are too tight and have to be ripped out, or when the little pink things on the knuckles look so wrong you don't know how you'll ever fix them. After each project, I promised to never do that again... at least for a while. And since it had been "a while," I studied Baymax's armor and drew up a sock that I thought resembled it, at least a little. (Knitting a stuffed Baymax would have been supremely annoying, because he is round and his head is not pointy, plus I wanted something more subtle that I could wear every day.)

Now that I had designed a sock that I liked, the only thing remaining was to knit it. Easy, right? *laughs maniacally* I even had the perfect yarn: Regia "Hand-Dye Effect" Design Line Kaffe Fassett. That yarn was a gift, believe it or not, from my mom's and my friend Mrs. Betsy in New York. She found a whole bunch of amazing sock yarn, packed it into a Ziploc bag, and sent it to me, It was like Christmas during school!
 Anyways, the sock-knitting process was a long haul. The first sock was ripped out about four times and languished for months after the single-ply yarn decided to test my sanity by forming an enormous knot involving what seemed like a quarter of the skein. The second sock was cast on and knit to the leg before I realized it was short about twenty stitches. Since I don't have a leg with the circumference of a remote control, I ripped it out and cast on again.
 But these setbacks made us stronger, and yesterday I stitched shut the second sock!

The heel is Frolicking Feet in the Indigo Purple colorway.

Here Goes Nothing

Well, I was planning this whole introduction thing about me and my life and such, but I realized that the only people who might read this thing are the people who already know me, so that's a wash. Still, there is always a chance that a galaxy hitchiker might stumble upon this page. In light of that, here's a bit of explanation.
 I'm CoffeeKitty13 on People have been saying that I should start a blog. Until now, my project pages have been my blog, but I do realize that sometimes knitters in a dire emergency need to scan those pages for any lifelines that may save them (i.e. "Instructions for row 42 gave me fits; I just increased on the sides and it turned out fine"), and having to sift through my rambling for nuggets of wisdom is enough to make anyone jump out the window. Now, since I have a blog, I shall try to rhapsodize about projects here and keep their pages on Ravelry short and to-the-point. (Note that I said "try;" I make no promises...)