Little by Little

I sort of lost my love of knitting during my last year of grad school. I made a few things that I liked, but I also made a lot of things that are currently sitting in a pile to be unraveled. Fortunately I recently knit two gifts that made me learn to love knitting again. For now, here is just one of those gifts:

This is called the Eyjafjallajökull shawl, but I knit it in sock yarn as a light summer baby blanket. I used Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Luster. Madelinetosh yarns are so perfect. Definitely a go-to for future shawls. This may seem a bit fussy for a baby blanket, but it’s for my cousin’s first baby, and because she is one of my oldest and dearest friends, I just felt like I should just go for it on this. I’m glad I did; other people can give practical gifts.

Above, it’s pictured with the Girasole I knit for my mom a few years ago for Christmas. Back in a time when I could actually imagine knitting large Christmas gifts. Maybe those days will come again now that school is finally over.

I have little else to say about this. The pattern is really easy, really beautiful. A lot of people said the crocheted border took a long time, but I didn’t feel that it took any longer than binding off a circular object would in any knit stitch or conventional knit bind-off. Maybe that’s also because I crocheted before I knit and the motion still feels very natural and easy to me. And it’s fun to do something different.

I haven’t really photographed the second project, because trying on a mohair garment in 90 degrees of oppressive humidity is extremely unappealing to me. But because I’m biking it down to Bristol tomorrow morning, I will probably have to do so today. For now, here’s a very tiny  glimpse:

 

Pittsburgh

While doing a little research for a class project on the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection (worth checking out), I came across this picture of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning (the world’s second-tallest educational building, if you wondered), taken by Cushman in 1941, and now I think I will let a dull feeling of homesickness wash over me today. I took a few things for granted when I lived in Pittsburgh, and this view was certainly one of them.

Aidez – Finally!

I knit Aidez back in August – maybe even earlier! But I only recently blocked and took pictures of it. In my defense, this was not a New England summer (or even fall) in which wearing a heavy wool sweater would have been pleasant or bearable, even for the short time it takes to photograph it. And I am certainly not a fancy photographer.

See what I mean? (Unrelated – look at my beautiful floors. I also completed those this summer. Tore up two layers of weird linoleum and tile flooring, sanded and painted. Not to brag.)

I’ve been wanting to knit this ever since I saw Cirilia’s, like a year and a half ago. I covetously watched it being photographed at the shoot, anxiously awaited the publication of the pattern…then finally knit my own version exactly one year later. So it often goes with knitting. Especially when you’re in grad school.

The downside of waiting so long to block, photograph and report on this sweater after knitting it is that I can’t remember exactly the details of my knitting process. Fortunately, there’s little to report, because I loved the pattern exactly as it was. I used the recommended yarn, Berroco Peruvia Quick, which I’d never knit with before. I have to say, I’m glad I did. A lot of people substituted Cascade Eco Wool, which I do love and have used for many projects in the past. But Peruvia Quick has an extra soft, dense feeling that I think will make me appreciate this sweater even more as the weather gets colder. And seriously weather, that can happen any time now. I don’t need 65 degree days in November.

The kind of amazing thing I have to admit is that I don’t remember whether I knit the size 32 or 36. I’m inclined to say I knit the 36? But I could be wrong. I’ll have to measure it. I do know that I used 9 skeins of the Peruvia Quick. I barely made a dent in the 9th skein though. For whatever that’s worth.

In any case, I couldn’t love this sweater more. The color is great, the fit is great. It lends itself perfectly to my “librarian wardrobe.” I’m really happy that it’s finally cooling off and I can wear this little treat.

Commuter Knitting

Most of my knitting these days is done on the commuter rail between Providence and Boston. (Occasionally I sneak some in during long lectures because I’m one of those people who can’t sit still and pay attention to something at the same time.) Back in September, I knit these little mitts out of a skein of Noro Kureyon that Cirilia gave to me when she moved away. It’s really nice to knit with yarn from a friend. It’s a tiny detail that makes the project much more personal.

These are from a pattern, the Camp Out Fingerless Mitts, available for free on Ravelry. I didn’t make any serious mods, but I did knit mine a little smaller than directed. Skinny wrists and skinny hands over here. I like a snug mitt.  These are really well-suited to Noro’s color changes, and they knit up in no time at all.

Oh, and happy Halloween, from the bottom of my heart and inside of my brain.

Now back to subject analysis homework…

 

A Venn Diagram of “Knitting” and “Small Beings You Have to Care For”

I’m feeling a bit defeated by school this month, so let’s turn our attention to some small points of triumph for a moment. Therefore: pictures of knitting and pictures of cats. And pictures of knitting pictures of dogs.

This is “Baby Sophisticate” by Linden Brown. Sometimes also referred to, delightfully, as “Pretentious Baby.”

I have decided to stop pandering to “baby sensibilities,” and am heretofore only knitting items for babies that I would consider knitting for adults. Knit with Cascade Eco Wool on size 8 needles, this certainly flies by. There is something very satisfying about constructing those tiny arms and working the neck shaping in such a small span of time. You can absolutely knit this in a day. Especially if you spend many hours of your day sitting on a train.

This sweater is for the first baby of a very old friend of mine from back home. Said baby is due approximately right…now. So this sweater is on its way to northwestern Pennsylvania as we speak. Godspeed.

I am not generally an intarsia knitter, so I’m feeling very self-conscious about this piece. It’s a square for a quilt that is being made for a family friend of another of my dear old friends, who is currently ill. I was really honored to get to make a square for such a special and thoughtful project. I can think of few things more comforting than a handknit quilt.

I used Cascade 220 Superwash (the light blue) and Berroco Vintage (green and brown), thinking it best to err on the side of washability.  I have had the pleasure of knitting with Vintage before, and I really can’t recommend it enough. The Cascade Superwash was a new yarn for me, although I use the regular 220 pretty frequently. These would also make great yarns for baby projects, if you wanted to be more considerate than I was and make your projects machine washable. I had a lot of fun making the dachshund grid and seeing the little buddy appear before my eyes. My biggest complaint here is that I wish I had used a smaller needle (I used a 7). A tighter fabric would have been preferable I think, and probably also would have prevented the color changes from looking so prominent. Fortunately, the recipients are not as obsessive as I am.

This is not really of any importance or relevance. It is simply a picture of my dear Felane. She may be middle aged now, but she is still ready to party. This is a good reminder for my “significant other,” who recently awoke at three in the morning to the thought that someday he would have to live with Felane. All I can say is, there are probably weirder cats out there. Somewhere.

 

More of That Silence

Once again, little to no time for writing about all the things that are running through my brain. I am done with homework early tonight, but I will be relaxing with tea and watching indulgent mystery programs, because I am slightly sick.  So no in-depth writing here tonight.

I have been frantically knitting away on projects for other people (and lazily knitting on projects for myself) and soon will get around to photographing said things. There’s even some intarsia in the mix.

For now, consider this:

One of my favorite signs (I favor the serious cloaked in the light-hearted) from Occupy Wall Street, where I spent my Columbus Day off, learning about another kind of pop-up outdoor library. More on this later.

America’s Littlest Library

As a lover of small, portable and/or unorthodox libraries and library-like structures, I am obviously very smitten with Clinton Community Library’s “Littlest Library” Book Booth.

(Photo courtesy of the Book Booth’s Facebook page.)

Everything about this project appeals to me, from the community involvement (especially the housing of the cookbooks in a nearby local restaurant), to the upcycling of the booth, to the distinction between “smallest” and “littlest” libraries, to the general idea of the pint-sized library. You can read more about the project over at Library Journal. I’m personally looking forward to seeing how the branch fares over time. Such an interesting and inspiring form of outreach. I would love to see book booths catch on in more cities.

The Uni Project

If I’ve been a bit silent here, it’s because I’ve flung myself full-force back into the school year. A year into my education, with just one left to go, I’ve been able to really begin to form a more clear picture of the professional issues I care about most, and what I want to be doing in terms of work a year from now. What I really care about is access (archival and otherwise).  I’ve always enjoyed reference work, ever since my wee-librarian days at the Carnegie Library microfilm desk. But I am especially excited to be involved in a project that I feel takes the elements of reference that I love and pushes them several steps further.

The Uni Project, that “portable reading room for public space” I have been incessantly telling my friends about for the past nine months, launched last Sunday, September 11 at the New Amsterdam Market in Manhattan.

 

And yesterday, Sunday, September 18, we set up in conjunction with the Brooklyn Public Library at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

It was really incredible to see the Uni in action after months of brainstorming and anticipation. I loved seeing it take on different configurations and adapt to two different settings with such success, and I can’t wait to see where it will go next.

Although not a “library,” by any strict definition, the Uni is a perfect embodiment of why I went back to school to get my MLIS.  Regardless with the nature of the resources I end up working with in the future, this project has been such a valuable reminder that we preserve, catalog, digitize and maintain our materials in order to enrich the lives of the people who access them.

I highly recommend taking some time to browse the Uni website (and perhaps to donate some of your books as well…)