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.

Stats:

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!



Specs

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.

Stats:

Pattern: Mockery Socks
Needles: Size 1
Yarn:

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!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FO - Melon Shawl - Margo learns that color can be changed!

BEFORE and AFTER



I finished this shawl in April. Since then it's just been wadded up carelessly in my knitting basket waiting to be dyed and blocked. And because I didn't think it was terribly pretty, I wasn't in a hurry. But I was blinded -- BLINDED -- by the color I wasn't in love with.

When I started the shawl, I wanted a simple lace project and I wanted to use yarn in my stash. I had 3 skeins of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Iris Heather sitting around and it was dreamily soft and I thought the subtle color would do, and I cast on. I quickly became aware that I was not loving the color. But I kept going because I figured I could always dye it and because I really wanted to use up the yarn (I still have 1 skein left.)

When it was finished, I wove in the ends and shoved it in said basket.



But last week I bought two pretty purple tops and was suddenly motivated to use the purple dye I had bought for the purpose of dying this shawl and DO it so that I might wear the shawl as a summer evening shoulder-cover.

Yesterday I dyed 3 swatches and chose the one I wanted. Then I heated up the large soup pot I had bought for this purpose at a thrift store a month ago and went to it with the shawl. I pinned it out with my blocking wires just before supper and let it dry overnight.

And this morning -- it is really and truly finished. And I closed out my project on Ravelry (finally!) and I absolutely am giddy with love for it. It's amazing what a little color can do to capture our affection! I want to giggle with delight! It's so soft and beautiful. *swoon*

Stats:

Pattern: Melon Shawl with Border from Victorian Lace Today (book given to me at Christmas year before last by my fab SiL, Jenny.)
Needles: Size 7 Knit Picks Harmony circulars.
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in color "Iris" Dyed a richer purple!
Modifications: None.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finishing, finishing, finishing... bleah

I confess, I am not a good finisher. Well, that's vague. Let's say... I get impatient with finishing as I get near the end and often am not as slow and careful as I could be. I am trying very hard to take it slow with Shaker 'cause I am really hoping for a wearable sweater. So far, she is fitting better than I expected. The shoulders fit exactly right. The sleeve length is perfect. I sewed in the sleeves (which was nerve-wracking,) tonight, sewed in all the ends I could that were near seams, and have steamed the length of the body before I prepare to seam up the sides and down the sleeves. I have, however, pinned the pigeonfeathers out of it, so it's try-on-able. My only concern is that the underarm will hit me too low -- which I thought I did the calculations to avoid, but if it was a problem with the way the original pattern fits my unique measurements then I will not blame myself.

I do think that I didn't stretch the button band enough before I sewed it on, and it gaps more than I'd like. On the other hand, I see lots of hand-knits that gap, so maybe it's only my particular sensibilities that mind that. I visited the lovely and inspiring Stone Mountain and Daughter once again and they came through for me -- I aquired some lovely blue ribbon with orange paisley accents that I am LOVING with Shaker. I will be sewing it on the inside of the button and buttonhole bands, so you won't see the ribbon when it's buttoned. I am excited about this, but it is a hand-sewing project which makes me nervous. I'm going to have to sew around the buttonholes because my sewing machine's buttonholer has never worked. I'm going to have to learn... what?... buttonhole stitch?

Everything is in the finishing stage... which when I don't rush, I procrastinate. Finding myself with no projects that actually needed KNITTING to progress, I cast on for something else to occupy me. I used to call this shawl "Dream Shawl." It was from a pattern booklet that was one of the very first I ever purchased and I knew I was out of my depth to knit it. But I LOVED it. And I bought all the yarn in the colorway pictured, (which I have never done before or since,) and put it all together in a bag and it sat. I did cast it on at some point and knit about 4" but ripped it out because I didn't understand the chart well enough.

I found the bag of yarn and thought that this would be a lovely shawl for me to finish just in time to settle in for the rainy weather in Portland when we move. It could be my "coming home" gift to myself and it feels so right to finally cast it on and knit away with total confidence in my ability to complete it well. It's like getting a letter from my past self and being able to answer it, knowing that I heard myself and was able to give the answer that was always wanted. I'm not that far on it, and it's quite chart-intensive (read: not portable.) but every completed row is comforting and feels like Hope.

And when I knit on it, I am able to totally forget the Rainbow Cardigan, and the Mermaid Tail, and the knee-highs, (which I did pick up again and put back on the needles today during the La Leche League meeting park day,) for Rosaline that are waiting for their turn to be knit, and the Zaftig and the Shaker that are eagerly waiting for their final sewing, and the Melon which is holding its breath waiting to be dyed and blocked. They all disappear into the Avalonian mist that is Dream Shawl.

Bobbles are so freaky, aren't they? I do want to someday design an aran something-or-other that has a mad mixture of buttons in place of the bobbles. Whee!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Shaker & misc...

Just a quick update: Shaker is ALMOST done. The sleeve caps are re-knit (turns out I only had to eliminate 2 rows, which I did. But I could have fudged it. Grf. Oh well, I can always claim to be a perfectionist. I'm not one, but I can claim to be one now!) and the shoulder seams are sewn (which I ended up doing twice because I didn't like the way it came out the first time. I'd never done back-stitch on knitting before.) (Are my excessively long parentheticals bugging you yet?) I knit the button band about 4 times. I kept ripping it out. Turns out the first way I did it was the most pleasing and so I did it that way again. (rolleyes). Now the left button band is knit and mattress-stitched on and the 2nd button band with the buttonholes is about 2/3 of the way finished now. Then it's do the neck band and sew the sleeves in and sew on the buttons.

I'm planning to wear it when I go to Portland 6/19. I think I will make it! I even am going to make it with the original yarn I had. I bought 2 more skeins on eBay (different dye lot, but they're pretty close,) 'cause I was getting afraid. But so far I've only used one of the new skeins for seaming (why waste the original yarn?) and it is now clear that I will finish with what I have left. Which is NOT much, I tell ya!

I chose buttons from my "recycled button" stash. I am pleased with them. Can you tell I'm excited to have this finished?

No progress on the Melon Shawl other than the weaving in of the ends. Still need to dye it.

No pictures this post. Next time I promise!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shaker, and other wips


I am still plugging away on my Shaker from Rowan 25. I've knit the back and one sleeve complete. The other sleeve is knit up to the beginning of the armhole shaping. The left front is knit up to the neckline shaping and the right front is almost to that point as well.

Then, I need to figure out how to re-do the shoulder shaping or the armscythe is going to be too big and I will not like the cardigan. I think the width is actually okay, as I don't want it to have to stretch at all to fit me.

I am going to have to master the math. I can do this. I can. I think. Eep.

Meanwhile, I also have a few other wips to talk about.

Shawl with Melon Pattern from Victorian Lace Today: This is finished. I have a few ends to weave in yet, but otherwise it is waiting to be dyed. I have knit 3 swatches and I ordered "purple" and "burgundy" jacquard dyes from KnitPicks. I got a large pot from the thrift store that I can use for dying and now I just need to dye my test swatches and see which color I want to use for the finished shawl.

Zaftig from Knitty.com: All the knitting & crocheteting around the edges is finished. The holdup here is that the pattern requires 2" wide elastic. It's really hard to find 2" wide elastic, and the elastic that you DO find is heavy, thick elastic designed for use in waistbands and NOT for use under delicate breast tissue. Ouch. I did buy some, but the thought of it made me cringe.

Finally, I went to Stone Mountain and Daughter and couldn't find any there either. But I did find some lovely, delicate black mesh 1" elastic that I was pleased with. So I bought double the amount and have been stitching the two pieces together to make the 2" wide I need. Now that's finished and I just need to sew it in place on the brassiere. I keep looking for pretty ribbon I like as well - I like how that's done on the pattern. But I can't find a nice narrow ribbon that looks good with the purple yarn I chose. But that's just window dressing. (Headlight dressing?)

I have been very naughty and bought myself a giftie. I have an earring weakness, and when these flashed by me on Ravelry I clicked on them and had to buy them. I wore them today and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Aren't they great?? There are a couple of pairs left, check Sassafracreations out!!



I also have been a little naughty stash-enhancement wise, I found this really ugly sleeveless XXL full length dress at the thrift. Hand knit, clearly (the knitter even threw a couple cables down the front and knotted all her yarn joins.) And it's in a heavy worsted weight itchy wool yarn. What was she thinking? It looked to have never been worn. And it never will be now. 'Cause now it's all frogged and washed and dried and ready to be wound into lovely little balls of fabulously tweedy yarn. What do you think? Felted bag? Slippers? Both?



Well, time for me to toddle off to bed. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow replacing a bathroom sink and caulking a bunch of bathroom tile. And it's been BLOODY HOT here. I do not handle heat well, and all I want to do is lie on the bed with an ice pack on my forehead and the fan going full blast. But, no dice. Gotta work! Have a great weekend, all.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly



First, the good!! Recognize that amazing gal in the middle?

We went to the Maker Faire on Saturday. We went last year and LOVED it and we had always planned to attend this year as well. Come to find out that the Yarn Harlot was appearing there in the morning! It seems to have been a last-minute addition because the Harlot did not mention that she was attending in her blog until a few scant days before the event. And traffic getting into the event was AWFUL. Since she spoke at 11AM and the event opened at 10AM, her talk was pretty poorly attended, IMO, for a Harlot Event. We planned to get there in plenty of time and I ended up missing 1/2 of her talk. But what I heard was great!!

She came back to the craft area to knit with people and talk, so I got her to sign my book. And I got to ask her a question that resulted in her giving a detailed explanation of how she knits, which was fascinating. Someone got behind her with a camera, so I'll be checking YouTube for that footage.



The bad: I bought yarn. It's so much more breathtaking than this photograph. Colinette Jitterbug. I'm in love. Move over, Socks that Rock.



The ugly: I've been knitting furiously on a Kim Hargreaves pattern, "Shaker", from an old Rowan magazine (Number 25.) I had stitch gauge perfectly. Well, I knit the largest size 'cause I am a 38" bust. Turns out, it's much bigger than I wanted. I wanted a loose fit, but not a baggy fit and that's what was designed, apparently (though that's NOT how it looks in the photo. Grf. And besides that, my row gauge is off. AGAIN.



This seems to be my curse. My row gauge is always off. By a LOT. It is not possible for me to get remotely near row gauge. I always have far too few rows per inch. For example, the gauge for this sweater is 25 sts x 38 rows in 10cm. I am getting 25 sts and 32 rows. There's no way I can go down enough needle sizes to fix that without killing stitch gauge. It's not a problem in the body or sleeve length 'cause I can always measure that, but it destroys armhole shaping.

This problem nearly made me crazy while knitting my Elizabeth I but I took out some rows whenever I could and hoped for the best. It turned out okay, but the armscythe is still larger than I would like.

I see why people turn to designing, I really do. What joy to just use the gauge you HAVE and make a pattern to fit YOU. Sadly, I am terrified of the math and not confident enough.

But faced with the knowledge that I have knit the entire back and 2 sleeves of this cardigan and now have to rip it all out... I am going to have to get there. I do want this cardigan. I do. But I'm beginning to think it's too much heartbreak to follow patterns that really need to FIT.

I'm going to have to Find The Way.

And frog. *sob*

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

FO - Wavy Scarf & Elizabeth I!!

First of all... here she is!! I'm so very proud of her. My first Alice Starmore. My first adult size sweater, really. (I did make Klaralund and I guess that counts, but it had no shaping and was on size 8 needles. This has lots of shaping and was on size 3 needles.)

It took me almost (but NOT quite,) a year. Mostly because I kept putting her aside. I had gauge issues: I got stitch gauge perfectly but my row gauge was way too big. So I subtracted as many rows as I could in the body and hoped for the best. Turns out, it was okay! It fits me really well and I love it! I've even worn it once already!

Introducing... Elizabeth I



Pattern: Elizabeth I from the book Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore
Yarn: 100% merino, recycled from a Banana Republic ribbed pullover. I have enough left to make a matching cap and some gloves.
Needles: size 3
Modifications: I just left out some rows in the lower body to make up for my row gauge being off.

Once I was at the point where Elizabeth needed to be sewn together and the stitches at the neck picked up, she was no longer portable. So, I needed a mindless project. I didn't want to cast on for a pair of socks 'cause I thought I'd be knitting my sample pair for Cookie A. in April (turns out I'm not going to knit until May,) so I cast on a simple scarf.



I bought the yarn a year ago at The Knitting Basket in Montclair in Oakland. Just to make this scarf. So, I feel good that I finally did it! I started it on Easter and blocked it out a few days ago. I like it! The colors striped in a funny diagonal wide stripe, which is not what I expected. It's so hard to see what Koigu is going to do by looking at the skeins.

Yarn: Koigu KPPM
Pattern: Wave Scarf
Needles: Size 8
Modifications: None

Now, I have 2 projects I'm working on.

I'm still plugging away on the Melon Shawl. The body of it is finished and I have started the edging. (I linked to Grumperina's Melon Shawl, 'cause it's so pretty.) I will absolutely be dying it a richer purple. I love the soft alpaca, though!

I have picked up my ancient, dusty Zaftig from Knitty.com. I crocheted all the trim around the edges the other night and went to Beverly's today to pick up the elastic I needed. Now I just need to sew in the elastic and I'll be done! I haven't been able to find a pretty ribbon to lace into it -- I like that and I want to to do it. But I have to hunt about more. I think a trip to Stone Mountain and Daughter is in order!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ravelry Insanity!

I have been sick. Bleah.

And so I have been going nutzo on Ravelry -- I entered all my back issues of Knitter's, Interweave Knits, and Vogue Knitting into Ravelry. Then I went through each issue page-by-page and entered everything I thought I wanted to knit from them into my Ravelry queue.

Several patterns weren't entered yet so I had to enter them. And then I ended up "adopting" several older Vogue magazines that had no editors.

And then I started catching up a bit on some of my neglected volunteer editing...

It was fun! I now have 200 books/magazines in my Ravelry Library and 199 queued patterns! Hm... better go find one more thing to queue, eh?



Don't worry, Elizabeth I, I've not forgotten you! Actually, right now she's draped over a chair - waiting only to have her side/underarm seams sewn. Which I can't do right now because... well... I'm sick... and... the nose is... you know... running... and seaming requires bending over... and...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

FO - Lenore

I brought, as my travel knitting, to Alaska the October installment of the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club: Lenore in the Raven colorway by Stephanie Pearl McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot.)

I cast on for sock #1 at the airport waiting to head out and cast on for sock #2 at the airport waiting to come home. I kitchenered the 2nd toe while at the zoo the next morning.

They are wonderfully cozy!! The first photo shows the detail of the pattern better, but the darker photo shows the yarn color the best.



I wanted to see how quickly I could knit a pair of socks -- I'm nervous about sample knitting for Cookie. But I did these in 4 days, so I should be okay. I won't be able to dedicate that kind of concentrated time, but I will have about 3 weeks to do them so it should even out. I hate being a slow knitter sometimes.

Speaking of slow knitting....

How fareth thee, Elizabeth I?

Here she is as of this morning. Dry and ready to have her pins yanked out.



It would be LOVELY to be able to wear her for my birthday on Monday! Though, I don't have anything planned. Hmmm. Well, it would still be rather like giving a birthday present to myself, wouldn't it? I'm going to attempt to seam her up this evening (I don't have to do side or arm sleeves, just the upper shoulder sleeves so that should be do-able,) and get started on the neckline knitting.

Meanwhile, because I needed something portable and mindless, I cast on for the Melon scarf from Victorian Lace Today using some skeins of KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud laceweight (which is so very soft and dreamy to pet,) I had lying about. I don't love the color with this pattern, but it's knitting up prettily and is a super simple pattern to memorize.



I think I will have to overdye it to be a bit more vibrant. Should I stay in the lavender/purple family? What do you think?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stitches West 2008

Ah, what to write about Stitches West? I got there around 10:30-ish? Maybe 11:00. It wasn't raining yet, though it started soon after I got into the building and poured for the rest of the day and long into the evening. I got good, easy parking in the parking lot across from the Convention Center. Which was good. I had forgotten my umbrella (or so I thought -- I found out after I returned home that it had rolled under the driver's seat. Grf,) which turned out to be a little wet for me later in the day.

I had a few folk who were going to call me to hook up in the Market, but only one of ended up doing so. Which was fine, I know how crazy the Market can be and how plans change and what-not. Alice, who was a friend of mine from my old Genetech days, called about an hour after I arrived and we hooked up.

By then, I had done almost all of my pocketbook's damage. You see, I fell deeply in love with a shawl from La Lana Wools of Taos. So new it's not even on their website yet. It hung on the back wall of their booth and I was drawn to it like a moth to flame. I grabbed the pattern and spoke at length to the designer. The pattern called for some "tail spun" Wensleydale to sew around the edges as a fringe. A wonderful, natural wool-dripping fringe that the Alaskan girl in me loved loved loved. They sold it by the ounce and cut the yardage you needed. So, I bought the shawl pattern and the Wensleydale tailspun to trim it. I also grabbed a 2nd shawl pattern from them. I did not ask the price.

It was my budget and a little bit more. OH yes. I still feel a little dizzied by it. But it was actually kind of freeing to be "done" so early and know that I would buy nothing more but the alphabet stitch markers I needed to work with the new Cat Bordhi sock book.

Alice got there and we yapped and I ran around getting my Ravelry Passport stamped all over the place. The Passport thing was a great idea! Ravelry printed up these fun passports with pages for vendors who had contacted them and donated prizes. You got a stamp for each booth that had a page in the passport and then turned your passport in to the Ravelry booth. They tore out the page with your name on it and gave you the passport to keep as a souvenir. I didn't win anything in the raffles, but had a great time getting all my stamps. It gave me an additional raison d'├ętre, since I had no more $$ to spend.

I fondled much yarn - it was nice to see the Raven colorways live and in person at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. Got some ideas for when I next have money to burn. The WEBS booth tempted me, but the lines were outrageous. The woman who usually is there selling vintage pattern booklets wasn't there - I missed her.

After awhile, Alice and I got overwhelmed and exited the Market to take in some lunch at the restaurant. We went for the buffet since we were both starving. It was nice. Then we dove back into the market for awhile, until Alice was ready to head back home. I really enjoyed my time with her. We made a tentative date to get together again for dinner at her house sometime in the next month or so. I'll have to nag on her. She's one of those incredibly busy corporate-manager types.

After she left, I finished up my passport and turned it in. Shopped around a little more - snagged the stitch markers at the very last and then, exhausted, left to go check into my hotel across the way. Got rained on. By now it was 5:00PM.

I got into the hotel and the rain started REALLY coming down. I was tired and hungry and decided that I really wasn't up to trying to find the coffee shop and yarn store I had planned to go to. Not in the pouring rain - and I didn't know if there would be real food available anywhere. Coffee and a pastry was not what I needed at that time. So, I went ahead and changed into my jammies and called room service. They actually had a pretty inexpensive menu or I wouldn't have considered it. I really didn't want to go downstairs and sit in the restaurant. I wanted to order a movie on the boob tube, knit, and eat dinner on my bed while the rain drummed on my window. That is comforting for me. They had a portabello mushroom wrap sandwich with feta and olives that looked promising at $12. So, I did it. And the kitchen sent me up a plate full of french fries to go with it just because the sandwich looked "lonely" on the tray. Wasn't that sweet?

So, I ate and watched "Atonement" on TV. Which was entertaining, but not great. I knit some on my Lenore sock and ended up ripping it all back out.

The next day, Sunday, I considered... I had gotten a free Market pass but it was only good for one day. So I'd have to pay another $12 to go again on Sunday and I really had no budget left. So I could just go home. My husband was, after all, ill. But he urged me to take the day anyway - it was mine to play with, it was my annual weekend to Indulge Margo's Weird Pleasures.

So, I spent the whole day Sunday thrifting. And I was quite happy - I got a lovely knitting book and some cute clothes and dresses for Rosaline and myself. I got a set of Pyrex refrigerator dishes. And at one of the last places I went, they had cones of industrial threads and some yarns they were selling for 99 cents apiece. I got an enormous cone of a boucle laceweight in "blueberry" that I want to use to make a lace cardigan from. I got a cone of this lovely sparkling golden thread that will be fun to knit along with another yarn to jazz it up a bit - perhaps just in some sections. Huge cones - anyone want any I am happy to share. More than I'll ever use in my lifetime.

They also had what I've been coveting for ages. Anyone who recycles yarn will know what I mean here. You know that tiny thread of elastic that is cobwebby and light that industrially made sweaters have knitted into the ribbing of cuffs? You can't get it anywhere - it's only sold to industries. Well, they had cones of it. CONES OF IT. I bought 2 - one in white and one in brown - to use for cuffs that I don't want to stretch out and for the ribbing in my socks. I might even try putting some in my short row sock heels to see if that keeps them from getting too floppy by the end of the day. I have enough to last 6 lifetimes, I think. Maybe 7. Depending on the knitter.

I arrived home to bring dinner to my hungry husband and daughter who had done really well together and were basking in the hot tub.

And I had an e-mail from Cookie A! I am going to be knitting a sample pair of socks for her upcoming book!! So you may not hear from me much come April. I will be using every spare second to knit - I'm a slow knitter and I will be working under a deadline. Eeek!!!

Hope everyone who went to Stitches had a great time!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Stuck Knitter & Socks!

Elizabeth I and me.

I am still stuck -- unwilling to pick up another project, even a small one, for fear that Elizabeth I will become a UFO. But not terribly motivated, it's been hard to pick up the needles and work on her.

But, I have been picking it up and am now 2 rows away from being finished with Chart C. (I have to do Chart C 4 times, I believe?) It will go faster from this point as I've begun the armhole shaping -- it's a raglan style so there will be fewer and fewer stitches per row as I go along.

I am working on the final piece - the front - the back piece is done and the sleeves are each done up to the raglan shaping. It should be be quick to finish those off. Then I need to sew the pieces together and do the neckline. It's really not that far from completion... it's just hard because my motivation is in the toilet, so to speak.

But I WILL NOT let her become an UFO. Even if I end up finishing her, and shoving her in the back of the closet forever.

***

In the meantime, I am getting excited because -- Stitches West is coming! I've got my hotel booked for the overnight (I used Priceline and got my offered price, which was $40 less than anything I could find on the web,) and am ready to go! I'm not taking any classes this time. I'm just going to hang out and knit and chat and fondle yarn and spend my $100 Christmas gift from Daddy.

***

I'm also getting jazzed about sock knitting again. Which is a good thing because I've got lots of yarn stashed and was a little worried that my sock mojo was gone. But, I managed to score Cat Bordhi's new book for under $10 at Beverly's in my town (using a 40% off coupon and the fact that they'd scanned the book in their computer for $14 instead of $28. I suppose I should have corrected them but I genuinely didn't notice until hours after I'd left and I'm not that golden of a human. If it'd been an LYS, I would have gone back and had them correct it, but for Beverly's... I'm afraid I'm selectively immoral.)

The book is fantastic - really well laid out for both dpn users, magic loopies and 2 circ fans. The formulas look wonderful and I am totally going to dive in and knit a bunch of baby socks in all the "pathways." I can hardly wait for books 2 & 3!!

***


The most exciting thing that's happened to me, knitwise, in the time since my last post is that I may be test/sample knitting for Cookie A! I've long been a devotee of her sock designs. Last year she had a booth at Stitches West (not this year, sadly,) and I beelined it down there the moment they opened the doors and bought a packet of all the patterns she had for sale. I got a skein of her hand dyed sock yarn (which is gorgeous,) and knit it up into her "Monkey" sock pattern from Knitty.com. I love how her mind works and the beauty of her designs... I am absolutely gobsmacked at the thought of test/sample knitting for her upcoming book and/or new patterns.

***

See? Not much knitting to speak of -- but I must go now because I have to make travel arrangements and such for myself. My niece is getting married in a few weeks and I'm flying up to Alaska for the wedding. My first niece/nephew to the altar! Unbelievable!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Catch-up

I've not posted because there hasn't been terribly much knitting going on for me. I am struggling along with my Elizabeth I -- I've finished the back half and it is turning out, as I feared, too long. I seem to be in a state of fierce denial. I do NOT want to frog it because I don't know how I'd fix it really. I geuss I'd have to rip it all the way out and change the placement of all the waist shaping and begin the center panel sooner and re-calculate all the raglan shaping. Not sure I am interested in doing all of that, frankly. I'm going to finish the back half (really, I' just need to do the left shoulder part which will take me 10 minutes if I sit down and do it,) and then pin it out on my body and see what it's actually going to do. I'll let you know if it's hopeless. I'll throw a whinge party.

Had to share a photo of my favorite Christmas gift this year -- given by my clever SiL who managed to find the perfect ornament gift for every member of the family. Here was mine -- isn't it adorable? Yes, it has not been put away with the rest of the decorations, but is smiling at me from the top of my computer screen as I type. She's even more perfect for me if you know that one of the things I gave my SiL was some homemade pumpkin spice marshmallows!

I have swatched for Rosaline's birthday cardigan -- 2 months late already. Oops. Hard to feel too rushed when she still fits into last years' just fine. It's a lovely swatch though - made with the gorgeous hand-dyed rainbow superwash worsted I bought from The Painted Tiger. Really lovely stuff - it feels divine and the color is even prettier in person.



Meanwhile, of course, people all over in my circle of people are having babies or turning up pregnant. Let's see... Tabitha, Mya, Marissa, Michelle... I need to jump in on the baby knitting.

But I'm so afraid that if I put Elizabeth I down, that will be the end of her. I'll never pick her up again. Here she is -- I'm actually 2 more repeats in the front further along than this. I've separated for the neck and just need to do, as I said, the left shoulder.



I've a tepid goal of wearing it to Stitches West come the end of the month.

Nonsequiter: Any other Ravelry users finding that they spend more time Ravelry-surfing than knitting? It's become quite the enabler, procrastination-wise, for me. Ouch.