Sunday, April 30, 2006

Last Blast

I have been remiss in posting orange and yellow pictures this month - April and February, for some reason, always seem like such short months to me, and this one just got away from me. But here are a few to finish us up.

Yellow cookie cutters (for easter cookies).

Yellow and orange easter eggs.

And half a FO!

I finished up one of my orange/yellow socks today - too bad it won't count for the Sock-a-month KAL (but seriously, it's the SOCK a month KAL, not the pair of socks a month KAL, right? :). My hubby even commented that he "really liked it" and wanted to know what kind of yarn it was (it's Plymouth Sockotta - a cotton/wool blend). Best part about this sock? Besides the toe and cuff, the whole sock was knit in the car and at baseball games. Love that portable knitting!

I really feel like a "real" sock knitter these days - when this second sock is finished, that will make 11 pairs of socks I've knit. Now I realize that 11 is nowhere near Theresa's 95 pairs of socks, but she does have a few years head start on me! I can now kitchener a toe and turn a heel using only my brain, and no pattern! Such a great feeeling.

I'm lacking a picture, but I am to the heel flap on the first That '70s Sock - off to turn the heel, and gather green things for May!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Tale of Two Sweaters

Two FOs for the price of one day!

Pattern: V-Neck Sweater from The Yarn Girl's Guide to Beyond the Basics
Yarn: Classic Elite Marl La - a smidge over 7 skeins
Needles: Sz 15 Clover Bamboo Circ for ribbing, Sz 17 Bryspun Circ for stockinette.
Dates: Started in March, finished Friday Apri 28.
Mods: I did add a bit of length to avoid stomach-stick-outtage.
Thoughts: Is it just me or do my boobs look huge? I love the colors in the yarn. The pattern was simple, but I'm not sure how easy it would be for a beginner - where the increases/decreases were it just said to increase 1 stitch - no specifications for what kind of increase. I like all those knitpicky details spelled out for me! I really like the v-neck, the sweater is a bit bulky, but I think I'll wear it a lot on days when I'd rather not drag around a coat. It was also my first experience with split splice joins. I did these to drag that yardage out as far as I could! It was a bit of a pain in the ass, as each join had four seperate pieces of yarn to be spliced and spit-upon, but I think it worked out great, especially as I had hardly any ends to weave in! Best part? Seaming bulky yarn goes REALLY fast!

Pattern: Chrysalis Pullover from Fall 02 Interweave Knits
Yarn: JoAnn Sensations Dolcetto 6 1/2 skeins.
Needles: Clover Bamboo Sz 10 Circular and DPNs
Buttons: Basketweave buttons by JHB International, from JoAnns.
Dates: March '06 - Saturday April 29.
Mods: My gauge was off, so I did the dreaded maths and determined that I could cast on for a larger size and still get the size I wanted. Love the maths! I also knit the collar several rows longer than called for in the pattern. I only had three buttonholes, not the four the pattern said I would have (and by said I mean it told you in the materials section to buy four buttons - the pattern said to knit a buttonhole every 12 rows until you were through the decrease section - this only gave me three buttonholes, but I don't think this is a big deal).
Thoughts: I love this yarn. It is very very soft (though it has a tendency to pill already). It feels like a nice comfy sweatshirt. I was REALLY sick of K1P1 by the time I got to the sleeves though, so progress slowed considerably. However, my favorite feature of the sweater is that it is knit in the round until you get to the arms, you knit the sleeves and then join the sleeves to the body to continue knitting up the yoke. Love this! Absolutely NO SEAMING. I does pull apart a bit around the buttons, but I almost always wear a t-shirt under my sweaters (in case I get hot), so I'm not concerned about showing any skin! I can see this being my go-to comfy sweater.

Screaming from the stash now? The Debbie Bliss Merino DK. Yum.

While I won't be wearing either of these sweaters anytime soon, it did cool down quite a bit this week (Woo HOO!), and I wore my Knitpicks socks Wednesday. Love them! So soft and comfy!

I'm trying really hard not to cast on for a new sweater......must finish current knits first....

Friday, April 28, 2006

Yep, there's more

Even more yarny goodness today! My long overdue stash enhancement photos wouldn't all fit into one post, so you get more today!

Some lovely light blue and chocolate brown Wool of the Andes to make this cute mandarin-inspired cardigan from the Spring Knit Simple (I think). Best part? The chocolate brown is left over from Ribby! Yea for using stash! Is two blue and brown sweaters too many?

Lovely light purple Wool of the Andes for the Karabella Shawl-Collared sweater (which jumped into my shopping cart back when I scored that Vesper). This is the second go-round for this yarn - for the first time I got a color that I didn't think was accurate to my monitor - a really bright purple. This is much better. (BTW - why can't you order Wool of the Andes color cards?). I love the construction of this sweater - can't wait.

And finally, more mail came this week. I needed one more skein of the yarn for the v-neck sweater, and found some at Little Knits. Sadly, I had to meet their $25 minimum order, so some Fleece Artist *might* have had to come to live with me. But isn't it so pretty? I wuv it!

I haven't posted many orange and yellow pictures this month (not a lot of that around the house), but I do have a few to sprinkle in here at the end of the month. Today, some orange, courtsey of my end table/notions holder.

And because I'm all about the filler pictures lately, this cutie fell asleep on the back of the couch last night (one of his favorite spots) and I couldn't resist the photo op.

Tomorrow Jen and I are off an adventure! All will be revealed soon!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Gratuitous Stash Enhancement Photos

Because there is knitting content, but it needs photo assistance before being posted. Hopefully tomorrow! For today, yarn p*rn!

Many many moons ago, I found this Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby for something like $3.50/skein. I couldn't leave without it. And the two balls of dishcloth cotton (for 60 cents each!) jumped in too. And then I found the Chibis. I love the orange one - it is my first Chibi with the bent-tipped needles. Love it! The blue is my back up. I'm really regretting not buying the clear green one I found in Northampton, but do I really need three Chibis? (I did get rid of one - Jen was without Chibi, so I passed one on to here). I am planning on making the hoodie from the Paton's Street Smart booklet with the Fisherman's Wool, though I think I'll need one more skein, something I hope to pick up this weekend with my JoAnn's 50% coupon.

Also a long time ago, I scored some Rowanspun 4ply from Janette's Rare Yarns (on ebay). I love the color. I have no immediate plans for this - any suggestions?

Some TLC Cotton Plus and the Paton's booklet - both from I've been wanting the Paton's book for some time, but had trouble finding it (Elann was out of stock for a while), but JoAnn's had it. I'm not entirely sure what the Cotton Plus will be - I'm tempted to do Pullover Flair (from the Spring IK) with it, but I kind of wanted that sweater to have some color. Opinions?

And finally, some Debbie Bliss Merino DK - six balls of blue, four of brown. I have plans to "make up" my "own" sweater with this - right now I'm thinking a sweater with waist shaping and brown elbow length sleeves. I scored this on a great deal from one of my LYSs - 35% off! I love the colors - resisting casting on now that I've looked at it again!

I've got more, but it may have to wait as I *might* have a FO for you tomorrow - don't hold your breath though! I can't be held responsible for any blackouts!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

There's a new crack house in town!

Over the weekend I was alerted by one of my fellow Fort Worthians of a new crackyarn store in town. Some googling soon turned up the necessary info! Way way too close to my house (especially when you know how *far* the other stores are!).
Sadly, they are closed on Sundays, so my need to feel had to be delayed until after school yesterday, but oh, was it worth the wait!

The store is run by two knitting friends who live in Arlington and commute in each day. They've been open since last Monday (when they decided the "yarn museum" should really turn a profit!). The selection is small, but growing, and VERY promising.

Of course, I couldn't leave without a little something (although The Girl was attached to my hip and called out the price of every skein I picked up! She mumbled something about keeping track of how much money I spend for her dad - guess she'll be staying home next time!).

I was excited by their sock yarn supply, and picked up two skeins of Wildfoote (new to me sock yarn), and resisted the lovely yellow/red Cherry Tree Hill. I was really excited by their needle collection - it is extensive, and I found some new to me needles too! I have been loving my 5" Brittany DPNs (currently in the cotton sock), and really wanted some more, but they are hard to find 'round these parts. Imagine my delight when I found these ChiaoGoo 5" Bamboo DPNs! And the price simply cannot be beat ($4.75 for those of you who can't stand not knowing!). I am happy to report that I love them. The size 2's immediately went into That '70s Sock, and I am speeding along on them. There is a bit of a rough spot where the needle info is branded onto the needles, but it isn't enough to bother me.

I am also excited to report that I talked to them about teaching some classes and they are very interested! Woo Hoo!

Finally, isn't their logo so cute?

Oh - and I won some more sock yarn! (Because I obviously don't have nearly enough to make it through the year!). Laura had a little contest and I won! Woo Hoo!

One more thing, before I forget - if your needles hurt your hands, go take a look at Comfort Zone DPN's from another local knitter Katherine and her son-in-law. They may save your hands!

Monday, April 24, 2006

How many days until Christmas?

'Cause I've got too many gifts on the needles, and none of them are Christmas presents!

1. Pink Blob (see yesterday's post for photo).

2. Blue Blob - cannot be identified as it might give it away!.

3. That '70s Sock - so named because I think it looks like an afghan from 1974.

4. My sister's wedding shawl. There has been a bit of progress on this in the past few days.

5. The Husband's Pirate Hat. Yeah. No progress since March. But when it's 90 degrees outside you don't really *need* a hat, right?

I really don't want to start thinking about Christmas knitting, but I may already have a list of possibilities.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with lists. I LOVE making them. But then I get really depressed when everything on them doesn't get done. My list making mania is only made worse on days that I have five minute breaks between tutoring groups. I can only go to the bathroom or get a drink of water so many times a day. Many days I use those minutes to make lists. And more lists. And even more lists. These are the knitting "goals" lists.

Check out that picture - "goals" through NOVEMBER! I am insane.

The hate relationship with the lists also plays in here - I have all these "ideas" of when to knit things, which makes me a.) never want to knit them or b.) knit them all RIGHT NOW.

I may have also made lists of what all of the yarn in the stash was for (also making me want to knit it all right now), and a list of all the sock yarn/small projects, AND a list of all the projects I want yarn for (just off the top of my head, not actually going through the books/magazines - that's a whole other list). It's a bit indimidating.

I also think I've reached a breaking point of sorts - I think I've got too much going at once. I tried to rationalize this yesterday by telling myself that two of the sweaters on the needles are *almost* done, and that a lot of things were gifts, but it didn't really make me feel better. My goal (and y'all have to help hold me to it!) is to *at least* not cast on anything until May 1. I'm thinking this is doable - I've got a variety of interesting projects, small and large, complicated and simple. I think I should try to limit myself to five projects at a time - seems like a good number, not too big, not too small!

What do you think? Do you make lists? How many projects is too many?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

One up, one down

Last weekend (in a small break from the sockpal socks), I cast on for a new project. Oops.

Unfortunately, I can't disclose exactly what this is, as it is a gift. For now, we'll call it the pink blob.

However, this progress was at the cost of the Leaf Lace Shawl. I pulled the shawl out last weekend (when it was 100 degrees outside and too hot to knit with anything heavier), and started it back up. I was motoring along (and thinking to myself, wow, I've really got this down! Look at me go!), when disaster struck. Somehow I had messed up my stitch count, and for the life of me I could not figure out how to fix it. I was only about 30 rows into it, so I rippppppppped it all out.

Luckily, this lack of progress has not dissuaded me! I really enjoyed working on the lace, and it was light enough that the weight of both the project and the yarn didn't bother me when it was fairly warm in my house (over 80), so I see the potential for lots of lace knitting this summer!

Sadly, I have not made much progress on anything of note this weekend. It was one of those weekends that just got away from me. I hate feeling like I didn't get "everything" done on the night before I have to go back to work. But it's OK - so nothing got done. C'est la vie! There's always next weekend!

The "helpers" wore themselves out with all their "helping."

How was your weekend?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I go to pieces

Sweater pieces that is.

One of my goals for my three day-weekend was to finish up the V-Neck sweater and Chrysalis. Sadly, neither of these may happen - I have a lot more than I thought to go on Chrysalis, and I ran out of yarn on the v-neck.

Bulky v-neck sweater blocking.

I apologize for the horrible color in this picture - it was blocking in The Girl's room, and her pink walls reflect so much light that it messes up the picture!

I was worried about having a yarn shortage as I could not get a consistent listing of the actual yardage of the skeins - the skeins themselves say 59, the Classic Elite books say 71, and different websites fall somewhere in between.

I seamed it up with the little I had left and found some more at Little Knits to do the "collar." I think I'll really like it - It's bulky but not to baggy or long, so it doesn't feel really heavy. Hopefully the yarn will be here in a few days so I can finish it up - pictures then!

I finally powered through the second sleeve of Chrysalis and joined the sleeves to the body this morning - a great deal of yoke to go though.

I also finished up the back of the Inside-Out sweater yesterday. Now only four pieces to go!

And I drug this out of the "abandonded WIP" pile - it's Stripey Cardi! I really want this finished, and as I was getting it out for the picture I remembered how much I enjoyed these colors and the yarn - hopefully I'll have it done to wear this year!

The real sickness though is that I really want to cast on for a new sweater. I'm trying to resist casting on for anything new until I finish Chrysalis. We'll see how long that lasts!

Friday, April 21, 2006

H is for Hand-dyed

So the hubby and I had a Great Kool-Aid Adventure this weekend.

We first attempted to wind the yarn around the chairs to create a self-striping effect, but the hubster is a little unclear on the need to keep your hand in the center of the hank to keep the yarn from getting tangled. You can see where I'm going with this, right?

So the second hank came out to play, and we (he) decided to play it simple this time.
I wanted pink and green, so we pulled out Lemon-Lime and Cherry and tested it on some leftover Paton's Classic Merino in Natural. We ended up with four packets of Lemon-Lime and 1 1/2 of Cherry.

In the pot.

Hanging out to dry.

Balled up.

It's a swatch!

While The Husband was winding this into a ball for me, he mentioned (more than once) "Why haven't I bought you one of those wind-y thinges yet?" Gee honey, I don't know!

I enjoyed doing this, but I think I want more of a "challenge" next time - actually figuring out the striping and all that. Of course, I'll have an opportunity coming up soon - go sign up for Scout's Dye-o-Rama! We did pick up several *ahem* packets of kool-aid at the store last week. Now if my Knitpicks order would just get here already!

H is also for Hats, which I seem to have an obsession with making.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

All sock, all the time

Well, lookie here! It's another finished sock pair! Two pairs of socks in one day, how does she do it?

Oh, oh, oh, it's magic, you know.......

Pattern: Generic - 60 stitches, 3x1 rib, worked heel flap over 30 stitches, began toe decreases with 1 1/2 inches to go, decreased every other round until 20 stitches remained - kitchenered the toe!
Yarn: Knitpicks - Star Gazer Lily (now sadly discountinued!)
Needles: Susan Bates US2's set of five DPNs
Mods: None
Thoughts: These may be my favorite pair of handknit socks. I realize this is a bold statement (especially considering how much I love my Koigu Jaywalkers!), but this seems to be a perfect marriage between yarn and pattern. I love that the 3x1 rib doesn't look ribbed when off my feet, and has a ton of give when on my feet. The yarn is SO.FREAKING.SOFT. Seriously, if there is not some of this (in some color) in your stash go to Knitpicks RIGHT NOW and order it. You can't beat the price.
Time: March 1 (ripped and restared mid-March) - April 19.
Screaming from the stash now: this in Gladiolus for gift knitting.

Best part (besides all that above!) - I think I *might* have enough left over for footies! Woo Hoo!

Sadly, I know that I won't have another finished pair of socks tomorrow, but I have big crafty plans for my day off!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

With apologies to Dr. Seuss.

Pattern: Pomatomus from Knitty by Cookie A.
Yarn: Schafer Anne, color 6F (see a picture of it in the hank here), from Little Knits (and can we just pause for a moment and go look at the Fleece Artist Sock Yarn? Go, I'll wait. OK, back?) Love this yarn!
Needles: I started on my Susan Bates Sz 2 DPNs, but when I got my Inox needles from Webs, I decided to try those (due to their super-pointiness). I know you're not supposed to switch mid-project, but I can discern NO difference). I really liked the point of the Inoxes, but they were a *bit* too long for my liking. I think I'll save them for lacy patterns.
Time: Started mid-March, finished Wednesday, April 19.
Mods: None!
Thoughts: See Margene's post about her troubles - I had many of the same ones. I really like the pattern, and it went really fast (when I worked on it!), but the chart for the foot pattern (due to the plain stockinette on the bottom) kept me on my toes! I really like the twisted rib, and see more of it in my future. The toes are too pointy for me, but they are what the pattern called for - I hope they're OK for my pal! (And yes, my pal has bigger feet than I do!) I'm worried that my sock pal won't like the colors, as the yarn has a lot more brown in it than I saw in the pictures when I ordered it. But it is pretty yummy! And the best part is that I have enough left over for footies for me!
Screaming from the stash: That yummy Vepser sock yarn. Must.Not.Cast.On.New.Sock.

Why did this sneak up on you? Because after the last time I blogged about it (and ripped it all out), I was wary of a curse, so it's been "secret" knitting. I am so excited to have this done! A whole sock in less than a week! I realize for some of you that's nothing, but I did do other knitting and crafting (and worked), so for me that's huge. They will take a lovely bath in the morning and be left to dry during the day. I hope to put together the finishing touches on my package tomorrow night and send it off! Woo Hoo!

For more information on bluefish, go here.

My photographer got a bit carried away:
Me: Why are you taking a picture of the bottom of my sock?
Him: Because no one ever takes pictures of the bottom of socks!

And it's not quite the fake leg shot, but here's my "leg up in the air" pose.

I have to say this, and I want you to know that I'm not being critical IN ANY WAY of Alison, or her work for this amazing sock exchange (I love to tell people that I'm knitting a sock for a stranger who lives overseas! I get great reactions!), but I feel a bit disconected from the whole experience this time around. I think part of that is due to the sheer size of the event (over 600! knitters!), and because I've been busier this year. But last year I found many of my dearly beloved bloggers through the sock updates, and this year I've barely read them. (And I have to say that last year I spent WAY too much time cruising the blogs trying to figure out who was making socks for me (I had some specifications) and never figured it out. This year I had no specifications, so it'll be a total surprise!). Perhaps next time a community blog (like the Holiday Gift KAL) would be better - people could post their own progress and do it whenever they wanted. Seems like that'd be less work for Alison too! Just spoutin' here - all this to say that I can't wait for my socks! :) It's funny how you knit and knit and knit, and then it occurs to you (several weeks later!) that someone is doing this for you too, and wonderful socks are coming your way! I love to stalk me a mailbox! :) When is Sockapal4za?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Time Travel

Let's take a ride in the Wayback Machine, shall we?

Last spring I agreed to sample knit a pattern for Amy. It became a longer-term project than planned, but it got finished up and mailed off (though the Svale did dye my bamboo needles blue!). I couldn't blog about it until the book came out - and it finally did!

Pattern: Boobalicious Tank Top by Amy M. Swenson, published in Big Girl Knits
Yarn: Dale of Norway Svale - navy blue
Needles: Clover Bamboo sz 7 straights.
Dates: Late April to mid-May 2005
Mods: none!
Thoughts: It's a little big for me! :)

I wish I had a picture of it on the model, as she wears it much better than I do! Go check out this book, it is great! Even if you're not a "big girl" it has tons of useful information about your body and how to knit the most flattering garments for yourself. I didn't have time to sit down and read it all, but the library has it on order and I will be checking it out as soon as possible, and trying to "downsize" some of the patterns for me!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Last Minute Knitted Gift

The Girl made an offhand remark last week - "I bet you could knit an Easter Basket." I had been tossing around the idea, but hadn't seriously considered it because of the P-sock knitting marathon I'm enduring. I did a half-hearted Google search, and didn't come up with much that wasn't huge or not really a basket. Finally I found something I could work with, that was smallish, and didn't use a large amount of yarn (I wanted to work from the stash).

Ready to be delivered!

Pattern: Felted Easter Basket from Knitting-Warehouse.comm
Needles: Sz 10.5 US Clover Bamboo DPNs
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Cherry Blossom (just over 1 skein), and Knitpicks Merino Style Daffodil (just over 1 skein) - both from the stash!
Started: Sunday April 16 at 11 am. Finished, felted and dried by 5 pm! It helped that it was 97 degrees yesterday! I'm doing all of my felting in the summer from now on!
Mods: I used size 10.5 needles instead of the 11's called for, because I didn't have size 11 DPNs. I also didn't do the applied I-cord edging as I was running out of time. I don't think it affects the finished object.
Thoughts: Really turned out surprisingly well, considering I used two different gauge yarns. I think it's cute! I will make more of these in the future.

I came home to an easter egg in the mail for me! But what was inside (besides chocolate, of course!)?

A hoopster sheepy! The lovely Kat sent us a thank you gift for participating in her March Madness pool! Thanks Kat - I love the sheep, though I am concerned that my husband is going to steal it - he's very enamoured with it!

Another Kat is having a contest (and y'all know I can't resist those!) - tell her five places other than your house or a knitting store where you have knit.

1. While hiking last summer.
2. Around the campfire.
3. At the pool.
4. On many airplanes.
5. On the subway in Boston.

And, because I also can't resist the memes - this one currently making rounds in blogland.

Do a Wikipedia search of your birthdate, minus the year; list three interesting events, three people who were born, and three people who died on that day.

1. 1858 - U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal will force a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.
2. 1920 - Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. To date, Chapman is the only player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game.
3. 1930 - The first color sound cartoon, called Fiddlesticks, is made by Ub Iwerks.

1. 1920 - Charles Bukowski, American poet (d. 1994)
2. 1958 - Madonna, American singer and actress
3. 1888 - T. E. Lawrence, English writer and soldier (d. 1935)

1. 1948 - Babe Ruth, baseball player (b. 1895)
2. 1949 - Margaret Mitchell, American novelist (b. 1900)
3. 1938 - Robert Johnson, American singer and guitarist (b. 1911)
4. 1956 - Bela Lugosi, Hungarian actor (b. 1882)
5. 1977 - Elvis Presley, American singer and actor (b. 1935)
(Sorry, couldn't limit myself to three on that one!).

What about you?