Saturday, February 11, 2012

2012 Goals and Stuff

So, after I signed off on my last post about a month ago, I said I would post more but I haven't yet. I did, however, mention that I'd be updating about what my plans were for the upcoming year.
In 2010, I laid out a long list of "knitting resolutions" that were all pretty detailed and then I failed pretty spectacularly on them. In 2011, I never laid out any "knitting resolutions," but then I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped (though the elbow problems in early 2011 didn't help much).
This year's "knitting resolutions" are very simple.
1. Stash down.
2. Knit AT LEAST 15k of yarn this year.

Now, how I go about stashing down is pretty open-ended. I'm even part of a stashdown group on Ravelry (the Pre-Process Knitters), so I'm keeping track of my yarn in/out as well as my actual knitting.
With 15k yards of yarn to knit this year, it comes out to roughly 1250 yards per month. This does, however, ONLY include FOs (finished objects).
January's total yardage knit: 859 yards...okay, so I didn't hit my goal of 1250 yards in January. Oops.
That being said, however, I have a lot of high yardage projects going right now, rather than smaller projects that don't take up a lot of yardage. So if when I finish those, it'll mean more yardage down!
So what projects made up those 859 yards?
First was a hat that I made for my Dad, using the Man Hat pattern. This pattern is absolutely great, in my opinion a nice twist on the standards K1,P1 ribbed hat. Pattern called for a bulky weight yarn, so I started by using some KP Wool of the Andes Bulky that I had on hand, but I didn't care for the fabric it was making and I wasn't too sure about the color (Emerald) either. I didn't have any other bulky yarn on hand so I checked the project notes on Ravelry and decided to give it a try using a worsted weight. I actually had bought some Wool of the Andes worsted in Mist (a solid, non-heathered gray) at the end of 2010 to make a hat for my Dad but never got around to it. Since the bulky weight version called for 64 stitches, I tried 96 stitches for the worsted weight version. Other than that, no mods to the pattern except to do some extra rounds of decreasing at the crown to adjust for the extra stitches. I have been meaning to get a picture of the hat but haven't yet and won't for at least another week as the hat recipient is in Jamaica till next Saturday. :)
The next pattern was a long-unfinished WIP, affectionately named the Christmas Cowl (of DOOM). I used the Chrysalis Cowl pattern that I got on the back of a package from Jimmy Beans Wool. Unfortunately for me, I didn't use the yarn that the pattern called for or even anything close. I bought some Plymouth Mulberry Merino yarn at the Knitting Knook last December because it was shiny and soft and a really pretty red (color 2060). I liked the idea of the yarn because it was single ply wool and silk blend like Malabrigo Silky Merino, but instead of being a DK weight it is worsted weight. Unfortunately, the similarities stop there. Plymouth Mulberry Merino is extremely loosely spun so my cowl started pilled even before I finished knitting it. It was also very splitty, so if I ever use it again (not likely) I'd use a much pointier needle. The yarn stuck to itself like crazy so I had a very difficult unknitting and when it came to securing my bind off it was a DISASTER. The ends didn't stay buried very well, which isn't that big of a deal to me since I usually use a drop of clear nail polish to secure my ends anyway, but it was still disappointing. I did not block my cowl because I was afraid my joins would come undone. I think it's okay because silk grows a lot, and the cowl is a good size anyway.
The pattern however, was a very nice one. It calls for a 90 stitch cast on, but I doubled it to make it long so I could wrap it around my neck more than once, and I only did 5 pattern repeats instead of 6. I think it would be great with a semi-solid yarn like the Tosh Vintage that it calls for. It has some simple eyelet rows and some garter stitch rather than being straight stockinette. A really basic pattern, I would consider knitting it again, actually. Just no way would I use the same yarn again!
A picture of the cowl wrapped:
Christmas Cowl wrapped
Christmas Cowl unwrapped
(please excuse the bad pictures...)
I do wear the cowl quite a bit, but I'm knitting another cowl (using a different pattern) right now and using a plied yarn instead of a single. I'm thinking (hoping) this one will hold up better!
My last project for January was one I've knitted many of before- the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief. I used some KP City Tweed DK in Emerald Isle. It's a very lovely green, and the yarn is very soft! I do not, however, have any post-blocking pictures because I haven't blocked it yet. I have just been lazy. :) But I did buy some blocking wires (FINALLY!) thanks to a LivingSocial deal to (woo-hoo!).
I really liked working with the City Tweed DK, so I am curious to see how it blocks up. My very Age of Brass and Steam (make out of Malabrigo Silky Merino) is still holding up great- I probably wear it the most out of any of my shawls.
Emerald Isle Shawl pre-blocking

So that's what I accomplished in January, finished-object-wise.
I did start a number of projects during the last month or so:
Sapphire Sky Stole- Tree & Sky Lace Stole (rav link), using Elann Peruvian Baby Silk in Sapphire (a rich blue). Progress has been slow...for some reason, the edging is kicking my ass. :)
Rios Cowl- Honey Cowl (rav link), using Malabrigo Rios in Purpuras. This was part of a KAL in the Pre-Process Knitters group, the group that is hosting our 2012 Stashdown. I am working on the bind-off right now, so should have another 400 yards down as well as another awesome finished object cowl!
Lady Ice Queen(a)- Lady Kina sweater pattern (rav link), using KP WotA in Lake Ice Heather. Lovely color of yarn, it's a heathered silver gray with hints of blue. This is a top-down sweater, so the rows at the top of the sweater are very, very long. :) One the sleeves are separated, I'm hoping the sweater will go much faster.
Smoothie Scarf- Potato Chip Scarf, using KP Chroma Worsted in Smoothie. I got this yarn in a trade for some other Chroma Worsted yarn. The color is VERY bright. I originally thought I would make a worsted weight shawl out of this, but the colors are just too much. A potato chip scarf will be a nice accessory without being overboard on the color.
Forest Green Hat- Another Man Hat, using Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Forest Green. Pretty much done with this, just need to get out my DPNs to shape the crown.
Neapoli-Shawl- Another 22.5 Degrees (rav link) using some CraftsMeow Ice Cream Sundae in Strawberry Twist (pink and brown with hints of white). It's a good "purse project" for now, easy repeats and straight garter stitch.
Mystery Project- Using some yarn, and a knitting needle. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy 2012!

I really dislike New Year's Resolutions, apparently. I dislike them so much that I defy doing them for OVER A YEAR.
Yes, readers (if there are any), on January 1, 2011 I promised I would write up and post my 2011 Knitting Resolutions. And then....I didn't. I didn't post my 2011 Knitting Resolutions...nor did I blog here at all.
So on January 9, 2012...I'm actually updating this thing again.
Truth be told: 2011 sucked monkey balls. Early on in the year, my elbow started acting up which made knitting pretty painful. If I did knit at all, it was small projects and even so, not a whole lot got done. So I started reading books at an alarmingly fast rate since I needed SOMETHING to do that didn't involve using my elbow and wrists (knitting and anything computer related wasn't so popular).
Disclaimed: Post is very long! I also did not bother to link patterns or yarn, but every project that I listed has a project page on my Ravelry account. Feel free to check it out there, otherwise if you're interested in a pattern and where to get it, leave a comment and I'll let you know!
So from January through March, I didn't knit much at all. What I did instead: read (a lot!) and buy cotton yarn (also a lot!). Why cotton yarn? Because despite my best efforts, Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co is no longer. Bah, humbug. They were bought out in February. Naturally, I had to stock up. I mean, I cannot be expected to suffer with inferior cotton yarn for the rest of my life. So I may have gone a bit overboard on stockpiling cotton yarn....I'm okay with that, though.
I did do a bit of knitting from January to March. Lots of starting, not so much finishing though. On January 1, 2011 I started a Baktus Scarf with some Kauni Wool Effektgarn in EQ (rainbow!) and Solid in DD2 (navy blue). It still languishes on the needles. On January 12, I started a Saroyan in Malabrigo Silky Merino, but the skeins don't match very well and I'm lazy and don't want to unravel so I just haven't finished it at all. On January 23, I did FINISH my mom's 2010 Christmas present, a Citron in Malabrigo Lace. I do not have photographic proof of a finished object, though.
On February 2, I decided to start a reversible cable cowl out of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky. I knitted the whole thing! Unfortunately, it needed to be grafted together and that just did not happen without some tear shedding, some throwing the project across the room, some violent frogging and some selling of the yarn. After that, I started a dishcloth. But it hurt my hands, so it's still on the needles, in a box somewhere.
Finally in March, I started AND finished a project. I knit the Hat Fit for a Boyfriend pattern out of KP Wool of the Andes in Spruce with intentions of giving it to Andy, but I ended up donating it to a Knitters for Obama project to give all of the Wisconsin Democratic senators/assembly reps for all of their work during the Scott Walker Union Fiasco. March 3 I started my Malabrigo March project - a 198 Yards of Heaven Shawl out of Mal Worsted in Azul Bolita. I happily knitted along until I ran out of yarn on the last row before the bindoff (guess it wasn't 198 yards since Mal Worsted has 210 yards in a skein!). I actually HAD another skein of the same color, but I just never got around to winding it in March. In mid-March, I decided to do another Malabrigo March project, the Adelei Shawl. This was inspired by my extremely strong desire to have a shawl to wear to church on Easter (the adult knitter equivalent of an Easter dress), and my curiosity on adding beads to shawls. I started the shawl, did all of the increases and started the lace portion. Failed. Frogged. Started again. Did all the increases and started the lace portion. Failed even more spectacularly the 2nd time around. Frogged again. Might have cried. Gave up. At the end of March, I did get some good news- found out I won 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the Mr. Yarn Mal March giveaway contest. Yay! Got a skein of Pagoda and Sapphire Green (and both were already wound). Cast on for another 198 Yards of Heaven with Sapphire Green and used a smaller size needle so finished with yarn leftover. Blocked, and gave to my mother for Mother's Day. No photographic proof. I finished 3 projects between January and March and did not get a single picture of any of them. No, really, I did finish them.
April brought Easter. Remember that overwhelming desire to have a shawl to wear for Easter? It motivated me to bring out my Traveling Woman shawl and finish it. So I did. Unfortunately, I finished this shawl prior to learning about the wonder that is Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff, so blocking this thing was a bitch. I need to reblock it now that it's been a number of months and I just don't want to. But I finished it in time for Easter. And I have a picture!
Gypsy Woman Shawl
After Easter and discovering that hey, shawls might actually be the most awesome thing ever, I started another one. This one was the Ishbel shawl, knitted out of Malabrigo Lace in Indigo. I finished the actual knitting of this in May, but didn't block it until July. And, I must confess- I've never worn it. But I have a picture!
Ind-ishbel FO
I was so excited by my success with Ishbel, that I cast on for yet ANOTHER shawl, the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief, with yet another Malabrigo yarn- this time the Silky Merino in Blackberry. Of all the shawls I've knit both before and since, I wear this one the most. It is a great shawl, very versatile. I can wear it for both a casual and dressy look. I did not, however, block this one till July. Blocking is actually easier for me when it's hot because then I block it while the a/c is running, and it dries faster. :)
Age of Blackberries & Silk Shawl
In May, I started my Winter Flame scarf using Malabrigo sock in Cote d'Azure for a shawl swap. It took me forever because the pattern was so damn boring that it was getting painful to work on after a while. The yarn was lovely though. I didn't finish the scarf till the end of June, and I never got a picture of it before I mailed it to my swap partner.
In June, I started another Traveling Woman using some merino/silk sock yarn in Indigo from an indie dyer, and another Citron out of Malabrigo lace in Velvet Grapes. Neither are done. At the end of June, I decided to use the Malabrigo sock from the ill-fated Adelei Shawl and use it for a Spring Shawl! Much better choice. Took forever to finish the last few rows, so I didn't finish it until September. But I do wear it a lot!
Impressionist Shawl
In July, I started my first pair of socks, using Cherry Tree Hill Fingerpaints in Black Cherry. I knitted and knitted and knitted and ripped a bit, and knitted some more and finished 1 sock. Yay! Unfortunately, I have second sock syndrome really bad, so I haven't started the 2nd sock yet. The end of July I started a Sunrise Shawlette with KP Chroma Fingering in U-Pick, but it's not done.
In August I started the Hestia Cardigan out of DiC Smooshy in Bermuda Teal, but it's also not done (17 inches of stockinette before even starting the sleeve shaping? I must be mad).
At the beginning of September it got to be about 90 degrees so I did what any normal knitter would do- I started a hat out of wool. I made the Hurricane Hat out of Patons Wool in Royal Purple. It's a great pattern, and a cute hat. However, upon wearing the hat when I was in northern Wisconsin on an outdoor tour that required some walking around on the shore of Lake Michigan, I discovered that the ribbing was actually a bit too loose on my head, and the cold air wasn't exactly staying out. So now it's not really a useful hat, but it is cute to wear.
Hurricane Hat in Royal Purple Classic Wool #2
After I finished the hat, I started another Saroyan with more Malabrigo Silky, this time in Matisse Blue. It's still not done. After that, I started the Noro Striped Scarf using 2 skeins of KP Chroma Worsted in Prism (I started 1 skein at red, and the other skein at green so the colors never match up). It's a traveling project that I bring along for times when I have a free minute here or there, it's really mindless to just knit a row here and there. Then I started the Chrysalis Cowl out of Plymouth Mulberry Merino but didn't finish it in 2011 (I just finished it, so will talk about it in a future blog post). At the end of September, I started the 22.5 Degrees shawlette out of KP Imagination in Seven Dwarves. I decided I needed another traveling project to switch out with my Prism Striped Scarf. This one should be done soon though, I put my striped scarf into a bin for a few months and didn't knit on it at all, so this was my only traveling project for a while. But the last rows are really.freaking.long, and the needles and yarn are really.freaking.small.
October was Malabrigo Stockpile! I only finished one project for stockpile but it was an awesome project and I love the finished object. It was Azzu's Shawl and I used Malabrigo sock in Terracotta. Awesome, awesome shawl...affectionately named the Bat Shawl because of it's shape when I was blocking it.
Bat Shawl FO
After I finished the Bat Shawl, I started a Harry Shawl using KP Chroma Worsted in Midwinter. Awesome shawl, really really warm. No picture though.
My big project was to knit a sweater in October. I had grand plans of wearing the sweater when Andy & I went out of town at the end of October. I didn't start the sweater until October 18 though. Because I totally thought I would be able to knit a full sweater in 10 days? Even with bulky yarn...yep, not possible. I'm working on the sleeves. Still.
Didn't knit much in November, but found some Holiday Homespun in a really pretty deep red that had sparkly strands running through it, so I decided to start a throw, named the Christmas Blanket. Not done by Christmas, but again, I wasn't expecting to be done by Christmas. I knit a row here or there- I'm just using the Diagonal Baby Blanket pattern but only doing 1 stitch before the YOs so I can crochet a border on when I'm done.
In December I made some plans to knit the Age of Brass & Steam Kerchief as Christmas presents for my mom and sister. I didn't have any yarn that I wanted to use for this, so I had to order more. So I got choice #1, some KP City Tweed DK in Emerald Isle for my mom's shawl. It's a nice yarn, but it wasn't really what I was looking for and then I realized that I had knitted my mom 2 shawls already and both were in green. I was more than halfway through the shawl though, so uh...I'm keeping it. So...back to the drawing board. Bought some KP Gloss DK in Blackberry for my mom's shawl. I figured I had used 2 skeins (~300 yards) of Malabrigo Silky for my shawl but I had run out of yarn a few rows early since I did an extra repeat. I wanted to make sure I could knit all the rows, including the extra repeat, so I got 3 skeins (~375 yards) of Gloss DK. Aaaaaaaaand I ran out of yarn. And KP was out. I got 1/2 skein from a kind Raveler, but it didn't come until after Christmas. I finished that shawl up on December 30th, but I just gave it to my mom this past Saturday, because I wanted to knit something for my Dad too. I didn't get a picture of the shawl before I gave it away.
Just over a week before Christmas I decided I needed a red shawl/scarf to wear on Christmas Eve. I had some Gloss DK in Cranberry, so I knitted myself the Chinook Scarf. I finished binding off on December 23, soaked it, and finished pinning it out on December 24 at about 4am, just over 12 hours before I had to be at church for Christmas Eve. I put the space heater in front of my shawl, and I just made it. Too bad the thing curls like mad. I'm going to reblock it more aggressively and see what happens, but no pictures in the meantime.
My final project of the year was a Snuggery Shawl, using Malabrigo sock in Solis. I started it Christmas Day while the Packer game was on. I'm not done with it, but that's okay....
So! All in all I started 30 projects in 2011, and only finished 14. A 46% success rate. Ah well.
In 2012, I have some big plans already, as well as a few finished objects already! I'm off to a way better start.
If you made it all the way through this post, congratulations! You deserve a cookie. Go get one, and enjoy it guilt-free!
Happy Knitting!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Knitting Resolutions - Follow Up :)

Hello 2011! WTF, where did 2010 go? Oh well.
Well as I promised, I'm going to do a (probably relatively quick) follow up on my 2010 Knitting Resolutions! Sometime this weekend I am going to figure out my 2011 Knitting Resolutions and post them too! :)
1. Reduce my stash and try not to buy more yarn unless there is a very specific project in mind for said yarn.
Wow, I honestly can't think of anything I failed more miserably at. Ah well. I discovered my passion for natural fibers in 2010, and a fair amount of my stash previously was acrylic. That being said, I am by no means a yarn snob. My favorite place to get natural fiber yarn is Knit Picks. I love their Wool of the Andes so very very much. I also like Patons Classic Wool which has a great price point if you wait for sales at Joanns or Michaels. Anyway, I now have a fair amount of stuff stashed away....I think 2011 is going to be the year of the yarn diet. I even started tweeting with the hashtag #yarndiet2011. Now I HAVE to stick to it. :)
2. Knit at least 10 things from my queue since I have been adding stuff to my queue pretty much non stop since I joined Ravelry (in July 2007!) and I haven't knitted many things from my queue.
I went back a re-read this. I just wrote to "knit 10 things from my queue," I specified nothing about FINISHING them. I did start knitting 10 items from my queue this year- the Sutro Heights Hat, Simple Burp Cloth (ended up being a hand towel), Waffle Knit Dishcloth (in a burp cloth size which ended up being a hand towel), the Fantasy Naturale Market Bag, the Lingonberry Scarf, the Citron, the February Lady Sweater, the Traveling Woman Shawl, the Clapotis, and the Autumn Red Lace Scarf. And I finished 6 of the 10 items! I'd say I succeeded.
3. Learn Magic Loop.
Hm. I sort-of succeeded. I started a hat with Magic Loop. I didn't finish the hat because the hat pattern I picked out had too many yarn overs. This will most likely not be a problem when I am more proficient at Magic Loop, but I was having a very difficult time doing yarn overs when the yarn over was in between the two stitches that were separated by the excess cable. However, I am going to do a "plain vanilla hat" soon since it's effing cold out, and I'm going to try and find a top down one. So I call this a half-success, half-failure. Though again, I just said I would learn Magic Loop, not that I would actually finish an item using it. :) It's a Magic-Loophole! (har har har)
4. Learn how to make socks.
Didn't happen. Fail.
5. Do a Lace Project.
I did a project out of lace yarn (a Citron) that wasn't very lacy, and I did projects out of fingering yarn (Lingonberry Scarf) and worsted weight yarn (Twilight Mist Wrap) that were very lacy. I'll say this one was a success!
6. Knit a sweater.
I started and finished 75% of a sweater. I did not, however, finish the sleeves. I'll say this is a half-success....
7. Work on a crochet project.
Yes indeed, I worked on one (didn't finish it...I'm really sensing a theme here!). With any luck I'm going to try and finish it by April.
9. Knit/crochet a blanket for myself.
I did do this. But I did not finish. I also did not plan on finishing. I am doing a lovely feather & fan afghan. I really like the colors, but I do not like working with the yarn, it's like knitting with barbed wire. Okay, maybe that's a bit's like knitting with twine! So I am doing a very small amount at a time. I am also in no huge hurry to finish this. If I finish it by 2012, I will be happy.
10. Plan Xmas knitting prior to November.
I planned it, but I planned on starting in September. Thanks to the nature of my work schedule that didn't happen, and I didn't fully start until November. However- unlike in years past, I did not make Xmas knitting plans a "OMG I MUST DO THIS AND I WILL FINISH IT NO MATTER WHAT EVEN IF IT MEANS I DON'T SLEEP ALL WEEK!" I had initially planned to knit 3 hats, and 2 shawls. I only finished 1 shawl, and got very very close to finishing the 2nd shawl (and I probably would have finished the 2nd shawl, if it hadn't been for that WONDERFUL cold that plagued me for the entire week before Christmas....*shoots dirty look at cold germs*). The hats were put on the back burner. I'm not upset about it- the hats were deliberately planned to be a "if I get around to it, awesome, if not, oh well, I have other presents to give." So I'd say it was a success. (And the 2nd shawl is currently being bound off...only about 3/5ths left of the stitches to bind off, and it was for my mother, who is understanding!)
11. Take pictures of the Wedding Roses Filet Crochet Afghan.
I totally rocked this. I even took the pictures in January! And about halfway through the year, the photos were added to the pattern page on Ravelry. So what if mine is the only project?? :)

I am working on my 2011 Knitting Resolutions. I think I will try and keep out magic-loopholes from these though! :) Happy 2011!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holy Updates, Batman!

Well, I kinda never got around to posting in October even after I promised. Sorry. Life is a crazy around here. That whole "work" thing is really getting in the way! But in a good way! I am loving about 85% of my jobs. With any luck in 2011, I'll be able to eliminate the 15% I don't like. :)
In the meantime, since my free time is lesser, I am trying to spend more time knitting and less time reading and writing about knitting related things. I have, however, spent lots of time hitting up knitting related sales. LOL, thanks to Knit Picks, Eat Sleep Knit and Tightly Wound Yarn for eating up a lot of my disposable income.
Anyway, I can't blog about some of my current projects because come December 24th or 25th they will be wrapped up under the Christmas tree and opened by (hopefully) appreciative recipients! :) After Christmas (at some point, I am hoping to have this post/set of posts up by 2011), I will blog about my Christmas knitting. I haven't done any Christmas crafting since 2007, so I'm kind of excited about this year's "crop" of Christmas presents.
In the meantime, I have a progress on a couple of my other projects.
First is my 95% finished Lingonberry Scarf (rav link), affectionately termed the "Mulled Grapenberry Scarf" on my Rav projects page. I used two skeins of Elann's Peruvian Baby Cashmere in (surprise surprise) Mulled Grape. I would definitely use this yarn again! It was very soft, and it knitted up nicely. However, I have not yet blocked it (it's been on my to-do list since I finished knitting it in October). This project was also my first time doing kitchener stitch. All I have to say about kitchener is "yick." I'm not a fan! I also did not heed the advice of the advice of TheKnitWitch (who had a lovely video on youtube showing kitchener stitch!) and didn't practice this on worsted weight yarn first....however, in my defense I was in Door County on a mini-vacation at the time and didn't have worsted weight on hand. :)
WIP - Mulled Grapenberry Scarf #1
I did have a horrible frogging incident with this scarf. The pattern calls to knit the first 16 rows (the border), cut a 36 inch tail, and put the border on a empty cable/scrap yarn. Then cast on again for the 2nd border, knit the first 16 rows again and then continue on with the scarf pattern. Well, me, in my infinite wisdom and eagerness to get started decided to cast on, knit the border and continue on with the pattern, THEN come back later and do the 2nd border. So I knitted away on the pattern, and was almost done, so I cast on for the 2nd border. I finished the 2nd border, and held up the two borders together to line them up. And then I realized that on the first border (the one with the rest of the scarf attached), I had skipped a row or something. They didn't match! Crisis!!! I had to rip out the entire scarf. I may have done that with a chocolate-covered strawberry blizzard from DQ, to numb the pain...:) But the 2nd knit through actually was not too bad (since, it was the 2nd time through...). I'll be double-checking things like that in the future....
My 2nd WIP that has been a WIP forever (or since early August....) is my Traveling Woman Shawl (rav link), aka the Gypsy Woman. I am currently working on Chart B...but it's been placed on hold for Christmas knitting. Still, I'm loving it. I'm going to try and finish it up as soon as Christmas is over.
WIP - Gypsy Woman #1
Oh, in case you didn't notice, so far the best place I've found to photograph my FOs is on my piano keyboard. Creativity, I has it.
I am also still knitting away on my Morning Frost Wrap. It is also slow going. I have two halves that have taken up 1 ball of the yarn each. I'm not sure how much longer I want to make it. I might be procrastinating on this because I know I'm going to have to kitchener the two halves together...I don't have any new project pictures but it is twice as big as it was when I last updated.
Coming after Christmas-
1. My Christmas knitting pictures/project notes!
2. 2010 Knitting Resolutions follow up post.
3. 2011 Knitting Resolutions!
4. New project ideas!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


So, in case anyone actually still reads this, you might be worrying that I was eaten by alligators or whisked away to a mysterious castle or something equally fabulous and exotic. The sad reality is actually that I've been working (a lot) and my new apartment is not as photographing friendly. Bah humbug. But I'm working on finding a good location in the apt with good lighting for my fabulous pictures. :)
Coming soon should be some progress and updates on my three current projects:
the Lingonberry Scarf (ravelry link, this is an elann pattern but you have to be logged into elann to access it).
the Traveling Woman shawl
the Morning Frost (rav link) wrap.
I will do my best to update on Friday since I'm actually free all day! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stitch & Pitch!

I meant to post about Stitch & Pitch sooner, but I was hoping I'd have more knitting related updates in addition to Stitch & Pitch to post along with Stitch & Pitch. :) But alas, life has gotten in the way. Since my last post, I've interviewed for, accepted and started a new part time job. This is the 3rd time I've worked for this kind of store (note: it is NOT a local yarn store/LYS or any sort of craft store at all!). :) I also packed up and moved 4 blocks west of where I used to live, but I'm not quite done with the packing and cleaning of the old place yet and that needs to be finished this weekend! But since this isn't my personal blog, I'll spare the rest of the details, except for this one- upon the "Big Stuff Move" on Monday (when I was conveniently at work, ha!) the doors were open too long and now there are moths in the apartment! So not excited about that. Smores the permanently-on-strike bug killer has killed 1 moth (probably by accident), but there have been at least 4-5, so she is pretty useless. Never fear fiber friends, my natural fiber yarn is either in plastic bags (thank you, knock off dollar store ziplocs!) or not moved over yet. :)
But I digress. So Stitch & Pitch was August 11!
It was a great time, albeit VERY hot and humid, and the Brewers got their asses kicked. By the Arizona D-bags D-backs.
I went to the game with 3 of my sorority sisters- Emily B, Emily H and Sandy. My mom was supposed to come, but she double booked herself, so Andy tagged along with me, and Sandy's husband Greg came along too- it was their 3rd anniversary! And what better way to spend it than been geeky and knitting/crocheting at a baseball game! We were evenly split too between both fiber arts, with Sandy & I bringing along our knitting, and the Emilys bringing along their crocheting.
I had a difficult time deciding what to bring along, but I ended up bringing along another size 9 circular needle and a new ball of Bamboo Ewe for my Morning Frost Wrap. I had finished the first ball (out of 3), but as I previously mentioned it was flipping hot, so I just decided to start the 2nd half (less of a chance of having bamboo/wool sitting in my lap).
I didn't get very far with it at the game. Too much chatting. I still maintain that I did better on my knitting than the Brewers did with pitching, offense, and defense, or...well, playing baseball. :) But hey, we got to see history tied! 4 home runs in a row! Too bad the D-bagsbacks were the ones hitting those 4 consecutive home runs.../Brewers fail.
Overall though, a fun time. Minus the heat and especially the humidity, I could do without that. I'm already looking forward to next year. Besides, how could a game be a total failure if you got a bobblehead of Bernie Brewer knitting? :)
Slightly related to the Stitch & Pitch game, the Sunday before Stitch & Pitch, I agreed to meet Emily B at Loop where she was taking a crochet sock class, with the intention of looking around to see if they had any Malabrigo Worsted that I couldn't live with out (hahaha, I slay me). And huzzah, I found some and bought a skein of Azul Bolita (beautiful bright blue). Unfortunately for me my wallet, Loop had a display of Misti Alpaca Hand Painted Sock Yarn in blue and yellow (it's not on the website). As any good Milwaukee native knows, blue and yellow is none other than MILWAUKEE BREWERS COLORS! And the Marquette Warriors Golden Eagles, if you care about that (I do not). Sigh. Resistance was futile and the yarn just happened to jump into my hands and suddenly I was walking out of the store with more yarn that I didn't know what to do with (seriously, I don't even knit socks yet). :)

Anyway, so in other geek news, two of my photos have been featured on Ravelry (so what if one of them was be default??): my Wedding Roses afghan on the pattern page and my Twilight Bamboo Ewe on the yarn page (links to rav pages). Yay me!
I have also decided I really am going to attempt to fulfill one of my knitting resolutions (and here you thought I'd forgotten about them!)- I joined the Toe-Up Sock KAL on the Appalachian Yarn group on Ravelry. One of my old coworkers is a mod there, so she invited me to do a KAL there that she was hosting in August, but I was afraid I wouldn't have a chance with the move and stuff so I declined (new job popped up after I had declined the KAL too!), but I'm going to try out the Toe-Up Sock KAL. I got the pattern on Sunday. It looks pretty straightforward and lots of baby steps! I'm gonna need that....and I have a pretty skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in Blue Lagoon just for the project. :)
And last but not least - I finally started my first shawl! I picked the Traveling Woman Shawl and I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it. I love the pattern, and I really love the yarn I picked (which was, ironically, going to be turned into a gift for someone else! Ha! Sucker, you lost out! Too bad you don't actually know that you lost out on anything...): KnitPicks Stroll Tonal in Gypsy. Consequently, my shawl has been named the "Gypsy Woman" after the Brian Hyland song. :)
I love red. I love shaded red even more. And I love this yarn. I love this yarn with this pattern. I have never worn a shawl in my life but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to incorporate them into my wardrobe frequently since I have a bazillion more shawls queued up on Rav...
Well, I think this will be it for August, since I have a huge laundry list of things to finish up before we officially check out of our old apartment on the 31st. The Toe-Up KAL starts on Sept 3rd. I am going to try (key word: TRY) to update weekly on my KAL status, but September is a busy month for my current job, and I start my 2nd job on the 11th as well and I'm not sure how much prep time will be required prior to starting. :)
Till next time, happy kntting/crocheting! :D

Thursday, August 5, 2010


So, I didn't ever get around to posting that 2nd post I had (still have, actually) planned out for July. Oops. Oh well. :)
Lately, I've been attempting to knit one thing at a time. That attempt of course is failing because I keep getting distracted by yarn that I find and new patterns (cough - KnitPicks IDP program - cough).
That being said, however, I think I'm doing pretty good. Even though my Ravelry projects page says that I have 17 WIPs, don't believe it (okay, believe it). Some of them just really need to be sent to the "hibernating" phase but I just never get around to it. Some of them are ongoing projects (such as the diagonal dishcloths, I don't want to create a new project for all of them, but I want to track what yarn I'm using up). So of the 17, I'd say I'm actually actively working on about 7. Or maybe 8. Let's go with 8. :)
So, what's "actively being worked on?"
My crochet project is slowly being worked on. Really slowly. A little too slowly.
My April Lady Sweater- um...not really actively being worked on. It's hot here and the last thing I want is a wool sweater anywhere near me. So never mind...
At the beginning of June when I was organizing pretending to organize my craft room, I found the Bernat Bamboo yarn I've had for, oh, a couple years now. So I cast on for a quick garter stitch scarf with big needles. Still not done. About 1/3 done though since I finished the first of 3 skeins. :)
Bernat Bamboo Scarf WIP
Chocolate Raspberry Clapotis...Um...yeah. So, after I posted about it in June, I worked on it some more, and was happily knitting and purling along when I discovered I'd missed an increase somewhere. So it involved much ripping. It was 100% salvageable, but I just kinda lost interest after that! So I've only knitted it once or twice since then...
The Booga Bag Cheap Knock-Off is just waiting to be felted. I more or less finished it right before my friend came to visit at the end of June and it has since sat forgotten. But part of that was also because of the fact that our laundry room is in the basement, which was pretty unusable thanks to flooding for about 2.5 weeks (it has just now finished drying out).
However, I do have 3 projects going that I am rotating in and out and working on regularly! Hooray!
The first one is my long-anticipated feather & fan afghan. I fully intend on this taking a long time, for two reasons- 1. because hello, it's an afghan. It's going to take a while and 2. i am using *whispers* red heart supersaver. Eeeeee, the horrors. In all seriousness, this is really brutal. Like, holy crap, I'm turning into a yarn snob, I used to use that on a regular basis?? That being said- I am absolutely loving the colors. And I have confidence it will soften up once finished and washed (in hair conditioner! or lots of fabric softener! or both!). But in the meantime, slow going. I am using size 10 needles anyway, and it seems like larger needles are more tough on my hands as well. So if this gets finished by next summer, I'll be fine.
I'm not following any specific pattern for this- the pattern repeats are 18 stitches, and I am doing a border of 10 stitches on each side. I cast on 200 stitches for this, 10 pattern repeats + 20 stitches for the border. I'm using the colors Coffee (dark brown), Magenta, and Cherry Chip (mix of coffee, magenta and a light brown). Great colors- nice and cheery!
Feather & Fan in RHSS Coffee, Cherry Chip & Magenta WIP
My next project is a miniature market bag, loosely based on the Fantasy Naturale Bag. I am using up seme America's Best Cotton Cabled in Raspberry Swirls that has been sitting in my stash forever and since I foolishly only ordered 2 balls, I wasn't sure what to do with it.
Obviously since it's a miniature market bag, I did a lot of mods, to the point of having to frog the entire thing because it turned out poorly. First mistake: casting on 40 stitches for the base with a size 5 needle, and then trying to pick up the mesh stitches with a size 7. Let's just say the finished product ended up very wide and very short and very much out of yarn. So I frogged it, rewound it, and set it aside. I ended up going back to it a few days later, cast on 22 stitches with a size 5 needle again, and picked up stitches around the base (in multiples of 4) for the mesh. I am not sure exactly how many stitches I picked up because I had to do some adjustments. This time I decided to use a size 8 instead of 7 to see how it worked out, since the size 7 seemed to be a bit unforgiving. Size 8 is working nicely. I am about halfway done with the mesh and I think I'm going to do i-cord for the handles, but I'm not sure how I am going to do that yet.
Market Bag in Miniature in America's Best Cotton Cabled Raspberry Swirl
Finally- I found the pattern for the Morning Frost Wrap (Rav link) in the new Stitch Nation Collection 1 and thought it would be a perfect wrap to make- good for fall and spring when it's not quite jacket weather but not quite short-sleeve weather, and also doubling as a scarf in the winter! As luck would have it, when I found this pattern, Joanns had the Bamboo Ewe on sale for $2.99 a skein. Perfect. I am about 1/3 done with the wrap. Since it has scalloped edges, it's going to need to be knitted in two halves and then grafted together, rather than knitted in one piece. I think it would be silly looking to have one scalloped edge and one not, plus it'll be an exercise in grafting! I really like this yarn, it is silky smooth and very soft against the skin. Pretty much everyone on Ravelry seems to say that it grows a ton after blocking, so that is helpful info. I may adjust how big I make each half then, but we'll see how much yarn I have left. I bought 3 skeins of the Twilight since the pattern called for 3 skeins.
Twilight Mist Wrap WIP
Well, that's about all for now. I had some money in my PayPal account that I got from destashing, so I picked up some delicious Malabrigo which I cannot wait to knit with...or possibly just pet and drool over for a while...
Hopefully August brings more posts than July did! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Time for a Yarn PSA :)

As many of you may know, I'm hopelessly addicted to Peaches & Creme yarn. Why Peaches & Creme, when so many other places stock Sugar & Cream?
Well, my obsession with Peaches & Creme yarn started when I needed to make my Navy Eagle Dishcloth in December 2007. I wanted to make this out of blue cotton yarn, but I had no blue cotton yarn in my stash at the time (this was in 2007 prior to the Peaches & Creme obsession!). I believe I came to this realization on Friday afternoon at work. By the time I was done with work, the last thing I wanted to do was drive across Appleton to get to Hobby Lobby over on the west side of town. The Joanns in Appleton sucked at the time, and Appleton didn't get their Michaels until 2008. As luck would have it, we needed to pick up some sort of household essential, so we went to the Walmart in DePere. They had lots of Peaches & Creme yarn, which I figured couldn't have been that much worse, and they had a nice light blue which would be perfect. To my amazement, I found that the Peaches & Creme yarn was much nicer than Sugar & Cream. Softer, thicker and easier to work with.
The label on my yarn showed me they had a website where you could order direct, and, as they say, the rest is history.
So why do I like Peaches & Creme yarn better?
1. Made in the USA! Seriously, it seems like everything we buy now is made somewhere else.
2. Customer service from the source is top notch! Flo and her crew are amazing. The very first order I placed with Peaches & Creme was actually a bit screwed up. I had ordered a 4 pack of the burgundy and a 4 pack of the chocolate (along with other things too, of course!). In the order, I received a cone of the burgundy and no chocolate. I emailed customer service and had a reply within a few hours- they saw their error and said they would ship out the chocolate asap, and that I didn't need to return the cone to exchange it for the 4 pack. I had the chocolate within days, too.
3. Shipping is so fast!! If I place an order in the morning, it's usually shipped out that day. If it's afternoon, it might get shipped out that day, but if not, the next day. I've never waited more than a few days for my order (from North Carolina to Wisconsin), and sometimes the delay was because UPS required me to sign for the package and I worked during the day.
4. All of their colors come on cones, not just 5. I hate weaving in ends. I hate weaving in ends on a dishcloth even more. If I use a cone, I only have 2 ends to weave in! Victory!
5. I think the quality of the yarn is better. Cotton yarn is pretty rough on my hands (no give at all compared to wool). Peaches & Creme yarn is softer than S&C, and it's thicker too, so I think the finished product is nicer. I also have noticed that it is dyed better. I have a few balls of S&C in my stash, and it doesn't seem to be as thoroughly dyed, I've noticed on some balls in the store that the dye didn't even saturate through a strand of yarn...can't imagine that will stand up well to being washed.
6. They carry more than just "dishcloth cotton." I'm knitting a mini market bag out of their Article 940, the cabled cotton (mercerized cotton). It is really nice, and due to the mercerizing, it's not going to fade. They also have a double worsted weight (article 980) which is also very nice- I'm working on a market bag out of that too (just ignore the fact it's been sitting OTN for 2 years...that's user error, not yarn error!), and I'm hoping someday to make a bathroom rug out of it.

Yeah, yeah, Lauren...we know all that. What's the problem? Why this PSA??
Well, it has come to my attention that Walmart (one of the biggest carriers of P&C yarn) is discontinuing their stock in about half of their stores. They are going to replace it with Sugar & Cream yarn. What they are doing for this year (not sure when their "test year" began) is remove the Peaches & Creme from about half of the stores, and replace it with Sugar & Cream. Then, they will leave Peaches & Creme in the other half of their stores. They are then going to compare the sales of the two yarns and at the end of their "test run," decide which yarn is going to be carried permanently.
This upsets me a lot and I don't even shop at Walmart anymore (I'm not going to go into it here since I've got a number of reasons, but my main reason is hello, have you seen the Walmart that is nearest me? I doubt you'd go there either). But if one of the largest evil corporations in the county pulls their yarn, it's really going to hurt Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co, which is a family owned business that's 100% American. So. Not. Cool.
As for Sugar & Cream, well, in case you didn't notice, you can get it anywhere- Michaels, Joanns and Hobby Lobby all carry it, so if Walmart doesn't, I'm sure they'll be fine...
So what can we do? Well, if you do shop at Walmart and you notice that they have replaced the Peaches & Creme, complain! You can either complain in person, or via the Contact Us link on the Walmart website.
/steps off soapbox, resumes knitting.

Please feel free to link this anywhere, just make sure to give me credit. :) I am trying to spread the word to make sure that we can continue to support this American business!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I have a confession to make. In the last few weeks there has been lots of knitting and lots of yarn craft room organization, but not so much blogging or picture taking. Laziness, I sort-of have it (at least I have it where photographing and blogging are concerned).
So, my last blog post was more me posting about my knitting resolutions and pictures of yarn and stuff. But I promise, I've actually done some knitting, too.
I mentioned in my last blog post that I worked on a Mitered Hanging Towel. That is about 95% done since I have two things to do: weave in ends, sew on button. Then it will be done. Not sure exactly who this is going to be for yet. I don't think it is going to be for my towel exchange buddy, but I'm not sure (or I'm being Pattern: easy-peasy, piece o'cake. And it turned out cute. This could be a useful thing to knit multiples of, since you can never really have too many hanging towels.
Blue Swirls Towel w/flash
I also mentioned in my previous post about buying KP Imagination in Seven Dwarves for the infamous Clapotis. I don't really have any inclination to knit a Clapotis right now made out of fingering weight alpaca and merino wool yarn though. But I did have an inclination to knit a Clapotis RIGHT. NOW. What better yarn to knit this with in summer? Cotton, of course! I decided that I must knit one out of Peaches & Creme Raspberry Swirls (a pretty mixture of dark brown, light brown, burgundy and a little bit of light pink, at least on the cone I have). I also decided that Raspberry Swirls was way too pretty to use for anything kitchen related, or even face cloth related.
Chocolate Raspberry Clapotis
I nicknamed my Clapotis the Raspberry Chocolate Clapotis and even included a picture of raspberries and chocolate for my Ravelry project picture. :) So getting used to the kfb was awkward and clumsy at first but now I've got it down. Now it's just more or less mindless stockinette stitch. But by mindless, I actually mean mind-numbing. It's still somewhat of a novelty, but I'm definitely going to be working on a more stimulating project after this...dropping stitches is fun though! :)
Chocolate Raspberry Clapotis dropped stitches
I'm hoping to have this done so that I can actually use it in summer. This is definitely going to need an aggressive blocking since it's curling like whoa. Blocking won't fix all the curl, but it should fix some. I may be making a trip to the Home Depot or some other home improvement store to pick up those foam rubber interlocking boards to block on...
I made two Grandmother's Favorite dishcloths for my mom. I didn't bother taking a picture of them though. I used Peaches & Creme Spring Meadows. They turned out cute and she was thrilled to have some dishcloths that weren't all faded and gross. I cast on another in Spring Meadows too, and I'm about 75% of the way done.
Since we're going to be moving soon, I decided it might be a good time to start digging through my yarn craft room. I also started panicking about my animal fiber yarns because I keep finding those #@&%$! Asian Lady Beetles (aka Japanese DEATH BEETLES) all over my craft room...all of them dead, which is weird. So I went to the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago and picked up three boxes of gallon knock-off Ziploc bags, and then I found some Xtra Large ginormous sized plastic storage bags, probably most used for clothes, but I bought a box of 2 to try out. Majority of the balls of cotton yarn I have are now sitting in those two bags, and the cones are going into a Rubbermaid bin. Score. I also have most of my wool/alpaca/animal fiber yarns in knock-off Ziplocs. Phew. I got tired just thinking about it. When I was digging through my yarn closet, I found a box marked "scrap skeins," but by "scrap skeins" I apparently meant 5 full skeins and 2 partial skeins of Caron Simply Soft Brites...clearly that means scrap skeins, I mean, clearly. My fiber friend Autumn is so kind as to take most of them off my hands (I'm keeping the Rose Violet, but getting rid of the Rubine Red, Watermelon, Berry Blue, Grape, White and Blue Mint)...great colors, but since I only bought 1 skein of each, totally useless to me. They will be useful to her since she makes tons of purses and has kiddos who will like the bright colors. It's a win-win all around! However, in the "scrap skeins" box, I also found 3 full skeins of Caron Felt-It Yarn that I bought in 2007. I started to worry because since I didn't know those were there, I also didn't have them in plastic. So I wound up one ball of the yarn, and one thing led to another and all the sudden I've got 3 inches of knitting done on the bottom of what will be a bag. I just kind of made it up, but it's pretty similar to the Booga Bag pattern I guess. I'm calling it my Booga Bag Cheap Knock-Off, because I wasn't really following the pattern anyway, and instead of using the recommended yarn, Noro Kureyon, which goes for about $9 a skein for 110 yards, I'm using Caron Felt-It which was significantly cheaper per skein for 93 yards. :)
Cheap Knock-Off of a Booga Bag
So far this has been totally mindless. I used a size 9 needle for the bottom and am using size 10 for the rest of the bag. I have no idea how it's going to felt, but it will be an experiment! I will probably have yarn left over so I may try making a little matching clutch-type thing to carry credit cards, driver's license and cash so it can be stashed in the bag neatly. I am not sure what to line the bag with, but I'll see what my mom's fabric stash holds before I rush to Joann's or Michael's. The last thing I need is to get hooked on buying fabric...
Well that's pretty much it for now. See? I did get a lot done. Sorry about the less than stellar picture quality this time, I was playing around with my camera's "night" settings because when I used the flash it looked washed out, and no flash it didn't show up. Someday I'll learn to just take the pictures during daylight and we'll be fine. Till next time...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Um, oops.

So back in January, I blogged about my 2010 Knitting Resolutions (it's been a while since I've dragged out that link!!). So far, I have officially crossed off #11 (Take pictures of the Wedding Roses filet crochet afghan). #2 (Knit at least 10 things from my queue)is coming along nicely (I have 4 things crossed off already: the Sutro Heights Hat, Simple Burp Cloth, Waffle Knit Dishcloth, and Fantasy Naturale Market Bag. I am 65% of the way done with a 5th item: my February Lady Sweater. Once the sweater is done, I will be halfway done with my 10 item queue challenge AND I will be able to cross off #6 (Knit a Sweater). I might even be able to cross off #3 (Learn Magic Loop) when the sweater is done because I might do the sweater sleeves with Magic Loop. #7 (Work on a crochet project) is happening too, I just haven't worked on my crochet project for a while...
However, #1 has been a complete failure so far. I broke my yarn diet. Oops. But I think I broke it for a good cause- some special edition KnitPicks yarns!
Here's the KnitPicks Felici (fingering weight) in Rainbow.
KP Felici Sport Rainbow #1
Can yarn get cuter? I really don't think yarn can get cuter. Nothing is more fun than some rainbow stripes.
Along with that there were a few other purchases:
Some KnitPicks Imagination in Seven Dwarves...
KP Imagination Seven Dwarves w/flash
I have wanted this for a while now, and I think I am going to cave to the pressure of the Clapotis (as soon as I finish some other projects) with this yarn.
...and more KnitPicks Imagination in Ruby Slippers.
KP Imagination Ruby Slippers #2
As a die-hard Wizard of Oz fan, I think I might actually have to turn in my fan card if I didn't order this yarn. It is SO pretty. As an extra tidbit of trivia (who says this blog isn't educational??)- the ruby slippers were NOT in the original book. In the book, the Witch of the East had a pair of silver shoes, but since the movie was filmed in Technicolor, TPTB in the movie biz changed the silver shoes into ruby slippers so that they would show up better in the movie. See? You learn something every day!
KP WotA Grass #2
This yarn is going to be an Xmas present for my mom (ha! this fulfills resolution #10). I know I will do 198 Yards of Heaven (rav link) and I'm going to do a hat to match but I have not decided the pattern for the hat yet (and it's June, so I have some time). :)
And finally, I saw some yarn in a stash on Ravelry that I knew I HAD to have. It was the now-discontinued KnitPicks Memories (rav link) line, and it was shades of brown, white and a little gray....the name of the colorway was SMORES!!
KP Memories Smores #1
Also named Smores? My diva of a tortoiseshell cat. :)
Smores (and friend)
Seriously HAD to get a yarn to match my cat (though you can't see the white on my cat in this picture, it's on her chest and tummy)!! Luckily, I found a nice person on Rav who was destashing it.
I came up with a really creative way to photograph my yarn from now on too so that you all don't have to see my ugly carpet (I just love generic apartment carpet!). Some people put their yarn into a bowl, and others use a posterboard. Me, well I do neither. My method includes a box, some books and a roll of wrapping paper. I unroll the wrapping paper with the white side facing up, place some books on the edges to keep them from curling, and then put a box on its side where I then attempt to balance the roll on top of the box. Works like a charm, but isn't very kitty friendly since kitty likes to sit on wrapping paper. Distract kitty with a piece of yarn, THEN it works like a charm. Also, I've taken to using natural light. That, combined with my Red Green-style background and my photos are A-#1.
Uh, so back to the resolutions. #1- Broken. Oops. #2- Working on it! Almost 1/2 done with 10-item-queue-challenge! #3- Might be accomplished soon for FLS sleeves. #4- Not yet... #5- So far I've failed. I started a lace scarf and frogged it, and haven't re-started it. But the year's not over yet... #6- All that's left on my sweater is the sleeves! #7- Crochet project has begun, but is not off to a great start yet... #8- So far I have totally succeeded! #9- I've looked all over the city for RHSS in Magenta. It apparently does not exist and I refuse to order online and pay for shipping. It might happen this year...but is not looking likely. #10- I've planned for Xmas gifts, but have not started knitting any yet. #11- Yay! I succeeded!
So, uh, on to knitting. Over the weekend, I knitted a Mitered Hanging Hand Towel out of Peaches & Creme Blue Swirls for the main color and Light Blue for the top. I joined a hanging towel swap through the Peaches & Creme group on Rav, but I don't think this towel will be going to my swap buddy. I also knitted a Light Blue Grandmother's Favorite and am more than halfway done with a Grandmother's Favorite in Blue Swirls to complete the "set." I'm not sure exactly what this "set" is for yet, but I just have to finish up the rest of the Blue Swirls cloth, sew the button on the towel and weave in the ends on everything and I'll photograph it. :) I also am going to knit my mom some more dishcloths since I noticed yesterday when I was at their house that the daisy ombre (yellow and white) cloth was more of a dingy white and no yellow at all, definitely needs replacing!
So hopefully I'll have a post with some finished object pictures soon, rather than just pictures of yarn and my cat, and me rambling on and on about what I hope to accomplish by Dec 31, 2010. :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

More Sweater Updates!

Last night I finished the body of my February Lady Sweater (rav link)! Now I only have to work the sleeves, weave in the ends, block it a bit to open up the lace and we're all set. Hooray!
The pattern calls to bind off with a size 10 needle (entire sweater was worked in a size 8 needle). I couldn't figure out why, but since I am using my Harmony Interchangeable set, I just swapped the right needle up to a size 10, and the bind off row is very neat and even. I'm not sure if that's what the author intended but it certainly worked well!
I don't have much else to update, so I have a few pictures of the sweater.
April/May Lady Sweater Progress 5.27.2010 pic #1
Close-up of the lace pattern:
April/May Lady Sweater Progress 5.27.2010 Pic #2
Please excuse my awesome Dazed and Confused Derby Days shirt:
April/May Lady Sweater Progress 5.27.2010 Pic #3
My Autumn Red Lace Scarf is coming along quite nicely as well. I work 1-2 repeats at a time since I'm clearly not in the market for a scarf anytime soon (knock on wood). I am definitely going to have to attempt to block this though, since the lace pattern is beautiful but is not showing up as is right now!
However, to take a break from the sweater and scarf (and to do something that isn't in a shade of red!), I did my first Mermaid pattern (The Mermaid Surfaces) and it is so pretty! When I get around to dyeing that bare yarn I have, I want to make a Traveling Woman (rav link) and it uses that pattern. I don't have a picture yet of my Mermaid Surfaces because I want to block it first.
Going along with my Mermaid pattern, I've also decided I want to do two things: 1- Knit down my cotton stash (it is a bit out of control), and 2- stop buying any sort of store bought dish cloths. So, in an effort to knit down my cotton stash, I'm working on making lots more dish cloths for use around my house. I love making dish cloths, but it never really occurred to me to use them for things aside from dish cloths and face cloths - but the other day I used one to clean my sink, wipe down the stove, etc etc etc. If I have a large stash, then I can use them for just about anything, and consequently knitting down my stash. :) I started by doing a standard Grandmother's Favorite in Peaches & Creme Aztec (a fun color of purple, brown and green!). So, we'll see how that goes...we're going to be moving soon so any amount of time I can spend knitting down stash means less boxes to move. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

April/May/June(!?!?!) Lady Sweater and a Lace Scarf

It has been a while since I've been able to update because I had to go almost 2 weeks without knitting anything. Oh, the horrors! I somehow managed to hurt my back a few weeks ago so I spent quite a bit of the last week and a half or so lying in bed or on the floor. Good times. My back is feeling better now, so I have been able to resume working on my February Lady Sweater, which started out as the April Lady Sweater, then became the April/May Lady Sweater but at this rate, it is soon to be the April/May/June Lady Sweater! If I have to tag on July too....well....
I am still working on the body of the sweater, though I'm about 3/4ths of the way done with that part! I have not yet worked out how I am going to do the sleeves. I don't think I have DPNs in size 8 (and my size 7dpns are only 5" long so I'm not sure they'd work for the sleeves either) and I don't know that I want to buy them. I may try doing the sleeves with Magic Loop. That might not be a bad first ML "project" but I'll work that out later. :)
I took a couple of progress photos tonight to show what I've gotten done so far. My preferred method is to take a picture into a mirror but I wasn't able to do this for two reasons- 1. can't use flash that way, 2. I don't have a full length mirror at this house...
April/May Lady Sweater Progress 5.21.2010

A/M LS Progress 5.21.2010 #2

A/M LS Progress 5.21.2010 #3
Anyway, I am super excited about how the sweater is coming along. I was a little disappointed at first because the first two skeins of the Kettle Dyed Wool of the Andes was more or less a solid red, but all of the skeins since then have been more variegated in the shades of wine/red. I think I am on skein 6, but I'll have to check. I bought 10 skeins for the project since I didn't know how the sizing would work out. I'm glad I waited a while to start this since I bought the yarn almost a year ago and I was between 15-20 pounds heavier then, so I might have had to make the Medium instead of the small and risk it not fitting now! I know I will definitely have yarn left over, so I might make a hat and maybe a scarf or mittens (depending on how much is leftover) to match the sweater. :)
I was also going through my craft room and starting to take more of a mental inventory of what's in there. I found some random skeins in a box, and one of them was a partially used skein of Simply Soft in the Autumn Red that I had used when I started swatching for the filet crochet afghan that I made in '07. Since it was partially used, I ripped out the project, but of course I didn't want to tote around yarn barf, so I wound it on my ball winder. For some reason, I hate having acrylic yarn in yarn cakes, so I decided I wanted to use it up, fast. I was flipping through my pattern binder and found a printout of the Lion Brand Lace Scarf. I printed this out a few years ago but put it in my binder and forgot about it. I figured this would be a good lace scarf project and should use up the bulk of this skein of Simply Soft. I am not sure how it will work with acrylic though, so I may have to do an experiment with "killing" acrylic after I'm done...
Lion Lace Scarf progress 5.19 #2
And finally- I am hoping that this weekend will yield some Kool-Aid dyeing! I went to Goodwill on Monday and bought a microwave safe plastic measuring cup (I used to have on just like it when I was in college...used to make ramen in it...blech) and another microwave safe bowl for under $5. I don't want to ruin any of my bowls and stain them with Kool-Aid. I have cherry, black cherry, lemon-lime, orange, grape, ice blue raspberry lemonade and surfin' berry punch to experiment with! I am going to try dyeing the KP bare yarns I have (two skeins of merino fingering wool and one skein of superwash merino/nylon fingering weight) and I might try "overdyeing" some Andy's Merino yarn I got a few years ago from Farmhouse Yarns. The yarn is lovely, I'm just not in love with a lot of the colors I have. Naturally, if I do end up dyeing tomorrow, I will document it with pictures. :) I am hoping to get my dyeing in soon, because one of the skeins of the KP Bare fingering weight merino is going to be a Traveling Woman scarf (ravelry link) and I am dying (no pun intended, har har) to start that shawl. :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Some April/May Lady Sweater updates and a canine friend!

So I had a post written out and then Blogger crapped on me and everything disappeared! Boo!
I have spent the majority of the last week working on my sweater. Andy & I went to Door County for our 3rd anniversary vacation, and I had lots of kitty-free knitting time (sorry, Smores!). Don't get me wrong, I love my kitty, but kitty-free knitting is a lot easier than knitting with a curious kitty. :)
Over the weekend, I finished the yoke, separated the sleeves, and started on the gull lace pattern. Once I finished the yoke, there is an eyelet row to set up. The pattern just stated to place the eyelets evenly, but I wasn't really sure how to go about doing that. I was able to find this handy tutorial on how to place eyelets evenly. I initially set it up for the xtra-small size and couldn't figure out why I didn't have the eyelets correctly, and then I realized I had plugged the wrong numbers. So make sure you have the right size and you'll be fine! :)
ALS Progress as of 5.5.10
As long as my dentist appointment goes okay tomorrow, I should be heading to my church's craft group to do some more work on my sweater!
Finally, in July 2008 I began working on That Old Beagle...but while I was moving and just trying to pack up my apartment etc etc etc, this project got sidelined for, well, almost 2 years... I found it in my craft room and realized that it had been holding my KP fixed Harmony size 7 circs hostage! I decided I needed to either finish or frog, and since it's That Old Beagle, I didn't want to frog (even though I'd only finished 18 rows on the pattern). I finally finished the pattern, and went to do the seed stitch top border, but I realized the pattern was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. I'm currently working on re-working the top so that I can get it turned into a small hanging towel since I don't think that it's really suitable for washing dishes, that's for sure!
Hooray for Joe Cool!
Woodstock is coming soon, whenever I can locate my yellow cotton yarn!
Also coming soon- I've decided that I want to try my hand at dying yarn with Kool-Aid. Stay tuned. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cable = it's not just for TV anymore (and lots of other updates!) :)

So many updates, so I'm just going to dive right in. :)
A few weeks back, I decided that I wanted to work on learning cables. I love the look of elegant and intricate, but I had never really attempted them before. As you may know (or if you don't, you might not have tuned in before now), my go-to project for learning how to do techniques is to work on dishcloths. :)
My first cable dishcloth was one I had printed out a while ago, the Bridge Over the River pattern from the COTW Yahoo Group. You have to be a member of the group to access the pattern there, but an identical pattern (as far as I can tell the patterns are identical) by the same designer is found here (A Cable & A Zig). Whatever the pattern really is, I absolutely love it. I like that the lace and the cable patterns compliment each other nicely. In this pattern, I think that the lace is the dominant feature, at least in my opinion, while the cables are almost an after thought. I also think it is deceptively difficult- it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is.
Bridge Over the River in P&C Passion 2
I used the Peaches & Creme colorway Passion, which is currently one of their Premium colors. This cloth was made out of one of my leftover balls of Passion from when it was a Special and not part of their normal line, but it was so beautiful that luckily the lovely people at Pisgah took notice and added it to the Premium line. Hooray! I do wish that it showed the cables a bit better, but the K1P1 link shows a cloth in a solid color which shows off the cable and lace pattern nicely.
The next cable cloth that I picked on has been affectionately named my "ER dishcloth" because I started it and finished about 3/4ths of it while I took my mom to the ER a few weeks ago (note: Mom is fine now). It kept the waiting game from being boring! I did this pattern by default- I put all of my COTW patterns into plastic sleeves and keep them in a binder. Since the COTW patterns are only a page long, I can put 2 patterns into one plastic sleeve. I grabbed the same plastic sleeve that housed Bridge Over the River and thought I would do another BOTR cloth, but the back of BOTR had the C4 Lattice Pattern, which was another pattern featuring cables (no lace on this one though).
C4 Lattice in P&C Teal
I am kind of neutral on this pattern. It was good for practicing both front cross cables and back cross cables, but I'm not all "OMG I LOVE THIS PATTERN." Still, it served its purpose and it has a great texture. I made sure to take a close up of this cable pattern because a- it has great texture, and b- I didn't really think of this as a cable pattern at first, but it is.
C4 Lattice closeup in P&C Teal
Since I was taking these pictures at night (when, oh when will I learn to take these during the day with natural light??), the Peaches & Creme teal is somewhere between the picture taken without the flash and the picture taken with the flash.
My next pattern was also done in the Peaches & Creme Teal, the Lace & Cable Ensemble. This cable is more of the cable I think of when someone says knitting cable- a 3 stitch back cross. There might be a zillion scarf and sweater patterns with a variation of this cable (or maybe I'm exaggerating). :)
Lace & Cables in P&C Teal
This cable proved a bit more tricky because the other two cable patterns had a 2 stitch cross and this one had a 3 stitch cross. Aside from that, a cable is a cable is a cable- it's more or less just rearranging the order that you knit the stitches!
Lace & Cables closeup in P&C Teal
I did want to show a close up of this one to show how nicely the cables and lace compliment each other in this pattern too. In this pattern, unlike with the Bridge Over the River, I felt like the cables were the center of the pattern, with the lace just as a compliment to the cables. YMMV, of course. The only problem I had with this one is that the lace pattern consistently did not "open up" in one particular spot. I don't usually block dishcloths, but I may try it with this one. I will post updated pictures if I do end up doing that.
Anywho, so that's all for the dishcloths right now. I do have another cotton project on the needles, but it is undergoing some re-working since it came out a lot bigger than I expected. It also may have to do with a certain famous Beagle, so I will definitely wait until I have photographed it to say this case, a picture is worth a thousand words!
April Lady Sweater progress 4.25-4.26
Oooh, but what's this?
After working on all those exciting cable projects, I felt the need to expand on my newly acquired skills. I found a really cute sweater, the Cables & Garter Cardi (ravelry link), that I thought would be a nice follow up on my cable fun! I decided that I would bring this pattern along to my new "young and knitting" group (which met this past Sunday). However, when I went to go print the pattern, only the pictures printed with no text. Blegh. I had even selected the yarn, some Lavish Alpaca Light Worsted (ravelry link) in white since then it would go with anything! But no such luck for now.
But I still had to find something to bring to my knitting group. Hm. It was as good a time as any to bring along my February Lady Sweater (ravelry link) pattern and Wine Kettle-Dyed WotA to start the sweater. Of course, I forgot to bring stitch markers, so I couldn't actually do anything except cast on and knit the first three rows, but I got out the stitch markers at home and continued progressing on my sweater. I even managed to work the first button hole (with a LOT of trial and error), using the Buttonhole Knit Over One Row D, including the Twisted Purl Cast On too. We'll see if I'll be able to replicate it again for the next buttonhole...I'm sure I'll be able to do it, but it may take more trial and error and reading the directions aloud slowly (my cat must think I'm nuts). Anyway, so far the sweater is going pretty well (but I'm only about 5 inches in). I like the yarn color, but I'm finding that even though it's supposed to be kettle-dyed, there aren't any color variations in this skein of WotA. I still love the color anyway, so I'm not complaining too much.
I probably won't have another update for a while, unless I finish tweaking my famous beagle project and have it photographed before Thursday. That is pretty highly unlikely at this point, though! :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home...

....okay so this post has nothing whatsoever to do with piggies, but it was the only clever thing I could come up with having to do with market. :)
Once upon a time, I started working on a market bag. And then I moved to Milwaukee and this project got packed into a bag, and got put into my yarn spare room closet, and I never got around to finishing it...(it's still in the closet, I really should dig that thing out). The other day, I went to dig out a cone of Raspberry Swirls Peaches & Creme, and I found a couple other cones of cotton yarn that I really wanted to use up, one of them being Blue Swirls.
Peaches & Creme Worsted Cone Blue Swirls
I bought this color a while ago, and it got buried in the same closet after the move, of course...
Anyway, so I've been looking for a good market bag pattern. I like the one that I used with the previous market bag, but the Blue Swirls is a worsted weight, and not a double worsted weight. Plus I have a bunch of market bag patterns in my Ravelry queue, so I figured I should branch out. I settled on the Fantasy Naturale Market Bag pattern from the Plymouth Yarn website.
The pattern initially called for size 10 needles and size 15 needles, but since I was doing this in worsted weight yarn and it does eventually have to hold things, I looked through the projects on Ravelry and decided to make some modifications.
I cast on the bottom of the bag with size 7 needles (pattern calls for straights, but I used a KnitPicks fixed circular). This made a pretty firm fabric for the bottom of the bag. I did the same number of stitches that the pattern called for. I have never picked up stitches before, so when I went to pick them up, I only picked up 98 stitches instead of 100. So I decreased down 2 stitches since the pattern is repeats of 4. I didn't start on the pattern right away, but I "extended" the bottom doing just straight knitting for a while before switching to the bigger needles for the mesh part of the bag.
P&C Blue Swirls Bag Pic #3 w/flash
I switched to size 10 needles, and I used the size 10 from my Denise set. The pattern was easy to memorize, so I did most of the knitting while watching TV.
P&C Blue Swirls Bag Pic #1 w/flash
I didn't change anything else for the rest of the pattern, except since I only had 96 stitches instead of 100, I had to adjust the knitting at the end a bit. For Round 5, I changed it to: Knit 29, Bind Off 14, Knit 34, Bind Off 15 and Knit 5. That was the only adjustment I made for the end, I still re-cast on 20 stitches for the handle.
P&C Blue Swirls Bag Pic #2 w/flash
I really like this pattern, and I may knit more of it. However, there are so many market bag patterns and so little time, we'll see if I get back to doing this one! I think this will end up being a Mother's Day present for my mom so she can take it to farmer's markets this summer, but we'll see. ;)
Incidentally, I had this market bag in my Ravelry queue since 9/20/2008, so it officially counts as a project from my queue! That marks queue project #4 in as many months of 2010, so I should have no problem finishing 10 queue projects by the end of 2010. Hooray!