Sunday, May 17, 2009

Catch-up 2009

I find it amusing that I decided to write a new blog post the day after I attended TKGA in Portland, only to find that my last blog post was right after TKGA Portland the year before! It's not quite been a year, since last year's conference was in August and it's May this time. But still... I have been full of blog-neglect this year.

But there has been knitting and yarn acquisition!

But let's catch up with the last post, shall I?

I frogged the Mystery Stole. I just wasn't feeling the love and it was early enough on that I knew I would just give up on it anyway and would rather give up on it sooner rather than later. So, the beads are back in the tube & the yarn is wound up in a ball and I feel fine about it. After seeing the finished product (it is no longer a mystery and can be found via Ravelry here.) it doesn't have huge appeal to me. I have a whole passle of beaded shawls in my queue that sing their siren song to me & leave me gasping for breath... and I will tell you about them in a mo'.

Here is the cashmere kerchief scarf, all finished. I was planning to give it to my daughter's teacher for Christmas, but it turned out that we were no longer attending that school at Christmastime so I didn't give it to her then. Later, she sidled up to me and asked me if she could pay me to knit a pair of socks for her. So, naturally I knit a pair of socks for her and gave those to her instead. Which meant I got to keep this scarf. Which was fine with me. It's deliciously creamy-soft as cashmere is. I still might dye it... but probably will never get around to it.

I knit a lot of gifts for Christmas. I knit mitts for my husband's sisters - 3 pairs. Merletto, Spirogyra, and Eden. I knit Angel Pearls beaded scarf for my brother's wife and dyed it a dark purple. I liked how it came out, but it does tend to curl up into a lengthwise tube, which is disappointing. Next time I think I would add some more garter onto the edges. I knit a market bag for my mother-in-law and filled it with fancy gourmet treats.

Am aware that I knit no presents for men this year. Hmmm... Next year. That will have to be the focus for next year. But I find men just as hard to knit for as they are to shop for, do you?

I wrapped them all up in some i-cord ribbons & bows and mailed them off.

After that, I worked on a mermaid doll that I had bought the pattern for awhile back. This was a crochet pattern, not knitting - and I was making it out of dishcloth cotton, not my favorite fiber. So I crocheted the tail and the head and the body and the arms and then... kind of... got obsessed with Christmas knitting and laid her aside. But I picked her up again for a craft night I was going to because I had nothing else to bring. I figured sewing her together & stuffing her was pretty mindless. And a few days later... she was finished! Just in time for Rosaline to take to share-and-tell. She loves loves loves her and carries her around all the time. VERY gratifying! She has flaws (I should have stuffed her more firmly, she's getting limp,) but overall I think she's kind of cool! Pattern is here.

There! I'm all caught up, yay! I've been doing much more yarn-acquisition than I should -- will post about that later. Stitches West, TKGA - my recent overwhelming passion for beaded shawl patterns... much to talk about!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

TKGA Yarn P@RN & MS4

TKGA Show and Mystery Stole 4

I spent a day at the TKGA show in Portland and had a great time. I was feeling a bit under the weather, but I stocked up on caffeinated beverages and made the journey anyway. I was determined to find some laceweight for the Mystery Stole 4-along that I wanted to join. And I had this idea that I wanted to use Red Fish Dyeworks 20/2 Silk. I'm not quite sure how I got that idea in my head, but it was so firmly in there that the first booth I visited was Red Fish Dyeworks and I snapped up 3 skeins of the silk for my Mystery Stole 4.

I bought some orange beads to go with it (very cheap - 99 cents per bag, I believe, and I got 2 bags,) but I didn't end up liking the look of the beads with the yarn and used the brown beads I bought at the neighborhood bead store last month.

I have been diligently working on the stole every night trying to catch up. I am now 2/3 of the way through Clue 2 and Clue 3 comes out on Friday.

Unfortunately... I am discovering how much I dislike working with silk. It has no elasticity and it doesn't bloom at all. This means that any unevenness in stitches shows up and doesn't block out. And the yarn is thin for this stole, which has quite a bit of stockinette. I went down a needle size (and I'm a tight knitter anyway,) but it's still looser than I like. And I am not enjoying the process very much. I have learned to use the beads in this way (which is different than my other beaded stole,) and that's good -- but I fear that I won't want to do the second side of the stole. And what good is a one-sided stole?

Will I push on, or will I frog and quit? I am undecided.

Oh, right, we were talking about the TKGA show! What else did I come away with? Well, I must confess that feeling ill destroyed my self-restraint. I fell madly in love with all of the gorgeous natural yarns at Toots Le Blanc. These yarns are amazing! Many dyers can boast of natural-dyed yarns, but at Toots Le Blanc all the yarns are naturally colored by the animal's fur. They blend different breeds of sheep/alpaca, etc. to get blends of color that are naturally heathered and dreamy-soft. I went all swoony and bought enough laceweight to make a shawl...

And enough fingering/laceweight to make another shawl. These yarns aere truly gorgeous - I think it's the most beautiful fiber I've ever laid my mitts on.

After I finished my naughty impulse purchases (which I used gift money from my Dad to purchase,) I dutifully went searching for yarn to knit a hat for my husband. His parents had just visited and gave him a lovely REI raincoat with a detachable hood. It's in 3 shades of green - really a nice rugged coat. And I wanted to knit him a hat to match it. I finally found the perfect fingering weight at our own local Knit/Purl booth in their wonderful ShiBui sock. Color: Seaweed. Isn't the match great?

I'm thinking of this cabled hat. What do you think?

By then I was exhausted and so I left the building for some more coffee and a bit of food and ended up using my new Garmin Nuvi (named "Zwelly" by my daughter,) to check out thrift stores in the area. Snagged some gorgeous cashmere sweaters for myself and a couple to recycle. And found 6 skeins of this really cool tweedy yarn. By Tahki it's called Homespun Donegal Tweed. Felted bag?

That's it! And whew -- I think I have enough yarn to last a lifetime. Except, of course, I'll probably find myself needing something I don't have. Isn't that always the way with stash?

Project Update

So, I know I've been talking up the Sockapalooza knitalong... I was excited about it, but when it came time to actually start the September sock, I fizzled 2 rows after casting on. I realized then that I had knit 3 pairs of socks in a row since we began our move to Portland, (5 if you count the two pair I knit for my daughter,) and I didn't have any interest in knitting more socks right now.

So, I pulled the sock off the needles and jumped into Mystery Stole 4. But it quickly became clear to me that I needed to also have something on the needles that was more mindless. MS4 requires some concentration, as does the aran shawl I've been working on sporadically. So...

I pulled out the lovely 100% cashmere I used to knit my Cardigan for Merry and cast on for the Lacy Kerchief Scarf. This is from the Summer 2005 issue of Interweave Knits. It can also be found in IK's Holiday 2006 issue or downloaded directly from their website here. It's working up quickly and the cashmere is so lovely to work with. I've not decided if I will dye it or not... I rather like the natural fawn color, but it doesn't always work with my skin. But then again, I may give this as a gift - I'm undecided.

So that's what's going on with me. And now, I really must clean my house!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

FO - Cotton Candy Jaywalkers

There's been a tiny bit of knitting going on around here. It's been pretty crazy with the unpacking and nesting and getting the little one going in her new cooperative school... but I have managed to knit a wee bit here and there.

I started these on a whim for my best friend who claimed she liked pink but couldn't wear it. I figure you can wear anything you bloomin' well want to on your tootsies, so I grabbed this pinkness from my stash and started a pair of Jaywalkers for her.

I think the past few weeks have been stressful... because although I knit the first sock quickly and efficiently, the second one suffered. I forgot to slip the side stitches on the foot and had to rip back to the beginning of the gusset to fix it. Then I realized I only decreased the sole to 38 instead of 36 stitches and was faced with ripping it back again. Which I finally didn't do -- I decided it didn't make a huge difference in terms of fit and that I was ready to move on to other things.

But I think they're cute!! It was my first time using Lion Brand Sock-Ease and it's quite nice. I'll be interested to see if it softens up a bit in the wash, but it reminds me a lot of Opal. It has a good feel to it - I hope they come out with more colorways soon. A semi-solid would be particularly welcome.

Pattern: Grumperina's Jaywalker socks
Needles: Knit Picks Options fixed circulars. I used a size 2 for the leg until about 1.5" before the heel and then switched to size 1.5 for the rest of the sock (I knit very tightly). I made the 84 stitch sock.
Modifications: Other than mistakes, none.
Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease in colorway "Cotton Candy".

Next, I am participating in the Sock Knitters Anonymous sockalong (as I mentioned in my last post,) and I am still trying to choose JUST the right yarn to knit Cookie A's Thelonious pattern.

I am also signed up for the Mystery Stole 4, though I don't have my yarn or beads chosen yet. I signed up kind of late - most have already finished Clue 1. But that's okay by me, 'cause I like seeing what others have done before I dive in.

I am going to the TKGA show in Portland this weekend, so I am hoping to pick up some laceweight there that I can use. Most of the laceweight I have isn't appropriate to this shawl, according to the guidelines. Either that or I don't have enough of it. Ain't it always the way with stash?

Speaking of stash... my darling husband surprised me on our anniversary with a little ceramic pumpkin (the 9th anniversary is the crockery anniversary, so I'm told,) filled with sock yarn! Isn't he a keeper? And he chose well, too -- some lovely Lorna's Laces and some TOFUtsies, which I've been keen to try! I love unexpected stash enhancement.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FO & finished move!

Well, we did it. Our family has moved to Oregon. We are loving it here, so far. Folk are super friendly and I am seeing greenery that makes me blossom.

But this is a knitting blog. So...

I kept my knitting simple and have been knitting nothing but socks for a month or so now. I knit a couple of rows on the aran shawl I'm working on, but not too many. I just couldn't get involved, if you know what I mean. Required thought and so I stopped.

I finished the 2nd pair of socks for my dear friend who helped me move. I only have one sock in the picture 'cause I forgot to take a picture of both of them together before I mailed them off to her. So, one sock is all you get to see. Maybe the next time I see her I can get her to put them on for me and I'll try to get a decent shot of them. But then again, maybe not.


Pattern: Rockin' Strat Men's Socks
Needles: Size 1, 2 circs
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Bamboo Color
Modifications: Not sure. I copped the stitch pattern, but did my usual heel flap and toe.

I have now cast on for a pair of Jaywalkers for her in a pink self-striping yarn. The Jaywalker pattern was originally offered on the online knitting magazine "MagKnits" which has since closed down. So, the link is to the Ravelry page for the pattern, where you can download it for free. This is my 2nd time with this pattern. I like it, it's fun.

Things are so crazy around here, I am thinking of sticking with socks for awhile. I need to make Rosaline's cardigan for fall and I've unpacked the yarn & pattern books so I can locate everything I need to get started on it. But for now, I'm still just thinking "socks" when I think knitting -- 'cause what I really need to do right now is unpack, organize, and explore.

But... since I AM planning to knit a lot of socks...

One of the groups I belong to on Ravelry, Sock Knitters Anonymous, is doing something they're calling "Sockdown: ravelry!" and I am hoping to join in. They're giving a few choices each month for a sock to knit. You can knit the "mystery sock" pattern (which will become available when the month arrives,) or you can knit a sock of your choice from some set of criteria. So, you are somewhat limited each month as to the pair of socks you will knit, but you have choice as well. I think it's pretty interesting and I'm into it. Here is the schedule for the next round, which starts in September (still time to join in!)
  • 09/08: Orange Socks or any socks designed by Cookie A or Mystery Sock, designed by SKA member Jeannie Fanihi (mystery socks must be knit in Orange yarn to qualify for Sockdown.)
  • 10/08: Holiday Stocking or Steffi Linden
  • 11/08: Slip Stitch/Mosaic Knitting or Wendy Johnson or Mystery Sock, designed by FluffyKnitterDeb
  • 12/08: Socks made with leftovers or Almost Socks or Yarnissima
  • 01/09: Beaded Socks or Socks from a pattern from an online magazine or Mystery Sock, designed by SKA mod Emmie
  • 02/09: Socks for a Cause or Gigi Silva or Entrelac
  • 03/09: Lace Socks or Cat Bordhi or Mystery Sock designed by Kristi Schueler
  • 04/09: Knee Socks or Under-appreciated patterns
  • 05/09: Cables/Twisted Stitches or Anne Hanson or Mystery Sock designed by Yarnissima
  • 06/09: Design Your Own Socks or Nancy Bush
  • 07/09: Fairisle/Colorwork/Intarsia or Homegrown Designers (including DYO from 08) or Mystery sock designed by Sara Morris
  • 08/09: SKA VACATION!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FO - Shaker by Kim Hargreaves

I realized that I never posted about my finished Orange Shaker! I was waiting 'cause I wanted to sew the ribbon into the button bands. And then, I just started wearing it... and wearing it... and wearing it... and I finally realized that I was happy with the sweater the way it was and that I wasn't choosing to put the ribbon in because I no longer wanted to. I loved the idea of the blue ribbon - I think it would look great - but it would make the sweater less wearable for me. And I am really enjoying wearing this cardigan. I wear it a LOT. This is, without question, the most wearable sweater I've made for myself (which is not saying too much - after all, I've only made 2 other long sleeve sweater-like items for myself.) So... it's finished!


Pattern: "Shaker" by Kim Hargreaves, from Rowan magazine issue #25
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Catania - orange
Needles: size 2.5 Knit Picks Harmony. Size 1 for the garter edging & bands.
Modifications: None, really. I subtracted some rows in the shoulder cap to make up for my row gauge being off.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

FO and great contest!

Great contest from Knit Witch! FABULOUS prizes, and check out her gorgeous knitting bowls while you're visiting.

Finished Object: Mockery Socks for my friend A. Complaining that the Inside Out socks in a heart stoppingly beautiful Socks that Rock colourway "Lemongrass" were "too pretty to shove in tennis shoes", A. requested some plain and simple pairs that she wouldn't worry about damaging.

Loathe to knit plain stockinette socks (because it's boring,) I grabbed some yarn that would hide stitch patterns well and proceeded to knit something simple but with enough to keep my interest going. Mockery socks were great! I really liked them, in fact, and I'm interested to try twisting the yarnovers in a couple of other lace patterns to see if they'll do something similar. I'm going to have to make another pair for myself soon. It's really hard to see the pattern in this photo -- but that was the point, if you know what I mean.


Pattern: Mockery Socks
Needles: Size 1

Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Bamboo Color
Modifications: I used the stitch pattern, but that's it -- otherwise I did my regular top-down sock with eye of partridge heel.

Next up... Rockin' Strat Men's Socks. But knit to a much smaller gauge to fit my pal's size 9.5 feet. Also using Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Bamboo Color

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Russian Bind off

Fascinating bind-off -- particularly for toe-up socks, so I'm told. I can't wait to try it!

Had to share - have stuff to post, but no time. Moving day is less than a month away!