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.