Friday, March 31, 2006

Hmm...this is a tough one

Gee, I wonder which yarn would be better for a sweater with intricate cabling. Would it be the one where you can't even make out any stitch definition at all? Or the one where the cable shows up perfectly? Golly, this is a hard one. My brain hurts.

Finally Some Knitting Progress

If you can believe it, I haven't bought any yarn in the past 48 hours. Not that I wasn't tempted, mind you. I stumbled upon a 60% off sale for Wool Cotton, possibly my favorite yarn, but so far, I haven't succombed. Also, WEBS is having an anniversary sale. I have, however, finished the sleeves on Sam, FINALLY. The front and back took me about a week and the sleeves took me over a month. Go figure. I guess I lost momentum on the project. But alas, here it is, all pinned together, but as of yet, unseamed. With this project, I made a mistake that I often make, which is thinking I'm smarter or more clever than the pattern designer. After all, what do they know? They only do this for a living, while I've been knitting for a whopping year and a half?! Anyway, when I was getting ready to bind off the back, I looked at the instructions and thought, why should I bind off when I need to immediately pick up these same stitches to knit the collar? Couldn't I just leave the stitches on a holder? So, I did. However, the bind off row would have made a very convenient place for me to stitch down the collar when I folded it in half. I don't have this bind off row, so I can't see where the collar is supposed to be seamed nor do I have a nice little sturdy row to use for seaming the castoff row of my collar. So, here's what I'm thinking...I think this is going to be a shawl-collared sweater. What do you think? I actually think it looks lovely this way, and I've always wanted a shawl collared sweater. So I guess we can call my Little Miss Smartypants pattern modification a design element. That being said, I should, yet again, learn the lesson that I don't know everything about everything and sometimes I should either think things through or, alternatively, trust the designer.

Moving on to Starsky, I've done a cable swatch of the cables I'm going with. The ones I posted on Wednesday, unfortunately, had no hope of meshing with 3 X 3 ribbing, or any kind of ribbing really. So, I sadly had to toss them aside and come up with something else. I think I've come up with something I really like. For my center cable, I'm using something called Ensign's Braid from Barbara Walkers Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. For my side cables, I did some hemming and hawing, as you can see from my swatch, but I think I'm going to go with the cable from the brim of Coronet. I have swatched that cable both in Polar and in Pleasure to see which one I liked better. I'm really disappointed how dark the Pleasure is, so I may decide to go with Polar, despite it's drawbacks. I REALLY want to be able to see my cables. So, I'll be knitting a heavy, very warm, slightly itchy, but lovely sweater. I'm still working on a Polar swatch, so I'm going to post a comparison of Polar and Pleasure swatches later today. I think most of the decisions on this sweater have been made and I'm ready to start!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Two Words

Uh & Oh.
2 Sleeves, less than 2 skeins of yarn left. All increases done, still have 12 rows of straight knitting and the cap shaping to do. The skein on the left is about 1/2 gone. After the sleeves are done, there is applied I cord to do. I forsee grave difficulties, especially since Elann doesn't have the color I need. Will Rogue ever be finished? (sorry the photo is so dark)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hey there, wait a minute Mr. Postman...

Mr. Postman was very kind to me today. Yesterday, he left a note in my mailbox saying he had a package waiting for me down at the post office, but when I went to pick it up today, I actually had TWO packages! It's all the result of the yarn binge that I went on last week.

First, I don't know if you remember, but I had bought 5 hanks of Rowanspun DK in Eau de Nil at Knitting in La Jolla for 50% off, but when I got home, I realized that my pattern called for 7 (idiot!) so I immediately bought more on ebay. When the ebay yarn came, it was totally different than Rowanspun is supposed to be. It lacked Rowanspun's characteristic "felted" look. The one on the top is the ebay yarn and the one on the bottom is the one I got in La Jolla. I know that buying from different dyelots is dangerous, but this is ridiculous! So, I put out an SOS on Knitters Review, and someone told me that their LYS, is Selwickey, PA (where?) had some left, so I called, and sure enough, they had exactly two left! It was like kismet! So, here they are, one skein from each dyelot. Can you tell the difference?

I also got my Big Kureyon, too, but it's hiding in shame in the trunk of my car, so, instead, I'll show you the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK that I got last week at 50% off (I'm a bit of a bargain shopper - can you tell?). I bought it to make this lovely sweater from the Spring 2006 issue of IK. I'm hoping that the Grove has its fair isle class soon so I can get started!

The start date for Starsky is coming up this Saturday, and I think I'm finally ready. Today, I chose my cable and over the weekend, I did a gauge swatch. The yarn is DARK, so it's difficult to see cables, but I'll know they're there. Here's a photo of the cable panel that I'll be using for the back. I've stolen it from a pattern from the Fall 2004 IK called Rhapsody in Tweed.

Finally on to my sorry knitting progress. Actually, it's not so sorry, I guess. As I mentioned, I was working on the layout for Starsky, I finally unwound my mom's afghan that was supposed to be her Christmas present and rescued $60 worth of La Boheme yarn that I plan to use to make her a shawl for Mother's Day. I started something, but I'm not happy with it. I've almost made it to the cap shaping on the sleeves for Sam, and I'm almost finished with a keyhole scarf I'm making out of Tahki Bunny, Wool Cotton and Soft Kid. Nothing is photo-worthy though. Joe loved his birthday hat - photo on Friday!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Late Post

First: Accident report:

Thank you to everyone who wished me well after last Tuesday. Thank you too to everyone who offered their help. The accident has made me realize how lucky I am to have the people around me that I do. Everyone has been very kind. In fact, Christine has been so kind as to give me "Pity Yarn" 3 skeins of Art Yarns Supermerino, enough for a pair of socks, which I can't wait to start, although I have socks on dpns now, but not on the size dpns that this yarn would need... I am thinking of Thuja from Knitty, what do you think?

I saw an orthopedist on Friday and I have every hope and expectation of a full recovery. I was even given permission to walk without the crutches, to the extent that I could handle. I learned on Saturday that what I can handle is not as much as I thought, and that I pay for that mistake that night or the next day.

Next, the really important stuff: KNITTING!

As might be expected, being trapped in your own home can lead to loads of knitting time. Loads of knitting time can lead to the hood of Rogue being finished. I can also lead to the Rogue sleeves being started. This can lead you to the discovery that you may not have enough yarn to finish Rogue, and that Elann does not have more of the Peruvian Highlands Wool in your color in stock, they have every other conceivable color under the sun, just not celery, and I think I need max of 1 more skein. This is somewhat concerning, but since I just started the second to last skein, I am going to try going for optimism and hope that neither sleeve takes a full 2 skeins to finish. Do you think my optimism is crazy?

In addition to Rogue progress, I have also got some very bright green yarn to make a surprise baby gift for my Aunt (who I don't think knows about this blog). The yarn was a bit surprising to me since I thought that I was ordering a pastel green, this should teach me not to trust the knitpicks image I see on my lap top screen. I have started the gift and have been making good progress (at the expense of Rogue, and the Wedding Ring Shawl).

Due to the accident, I think that hand knit socks are necessary for me right now. I like wearing my hand knit socks in the surgical boot/shoe thingy. I have already worn the ones Lissy made me, Embossed leaves, and some fug that I made last year. So, I have picked up my Shelridge Farms sock yarn and gotten back to it. Since the shoe is only on one foot, I have only been wearing a sock on that foot. I already have one shelridge farm sock done, so I don't really need to finish the second, but it will be nice to have a matched set.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I guess it's not a surprise...

what decade does your personality live in?

quiz brought to you by lady interference, ltd

Well, at least I'm a product of my childhood and not a throwback to some decade I never even lived through (I actually thought I might be a throwback to the '60's). Yes, I grew up in the 1980's, so that makes me...old. I go to school with people in their early 20's and I found myself becoming very annoyed, hostile and defensive with a classmate who was trying to show me how to use Microsoft Excel, which made me chuckle on the inside because I used to be the little piss ant who was annoying the older folks - the pre-computer, typewriter folks. But now, I'm the fossil. Look little girl, I was around when Microsoft was invented, I wanted to say. I've been using Excel since before you were born! Yup, I'm old.

Obviously, no knitting content here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Finished socks!

Yay! I finally actually finished something! I've been in a real starting mode, not so much of a finishing mode, so it feels good to actually accomplish something. My husband has already left for work and I finished these last night after he went to bed, so a self-portrait is all I could manage this morning, plus I slept in them last night. So, here's a bad photo of a rumpled pair of completed socks. Pattern stats:

Pattern: River Rapid Socks by Sock Bug
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Tahoe (gifty from SP7!) - 2 hanks (I have A LOT leftover - what does one do with leftover sock yarn, variegated, in several different colorways?)
Date started: 3/16/06
Date completed: 3/23/06
Overall thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE Shepherd Sock yarn - it is my favorite of the ones I have used, although I've got Koigu and Vesper in my stash, so we'll see. The pattern was really good. The toe had odd shaping, but I went with it and I'm happy enough with it. I didn't make any modifications to the pattern that I can remember, although when I'm making socks, I'm sort of a renegade and tend to do my own thing without realizing it.

I also received my yarn for Starsky in the mail yesterday. Gotta love WEBS and that fast, fast shipping. Plus, they don't use UPS, which is wonderful because then I can actually get my packages. When I opened the box, I thought, they sent me the wrong yarn! The color was totally off from what I thought I bought, so I was a little crushed. But, I've decided it's OK. It's dark, so I'm hoping the cables show up OK. It's VERY soft and wonderful, knits up well and is light as a feather. The weight is one of the main reasons I chose it. It weighs less than 1/2 of Sierra and the Polar I was considering using. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a heavy sweater dragging towards the ground under its own weight. They get so stretched out that way. That's one of the reasons Big Wool is so wonderful - it's lightweight and heavenly, but I digress.

I've been a real devil lately about buying yarn. I'm always on a yarn diet, and I'm ALWAYS cheating on it. In addition to what I bought in Boston, which you've seen, I also ordered Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK (for $4.18 a ball!) to make the Fair Isle sweater from Interweave this issue (subscriber only pattern), Big Kureyon to make Hudson and Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn from Kpixie. Ugh! I'm going to have to sleep in the garage to make room for all of my yarn! Worst yet, I've been really busy with school this week, so I haven't knit a ton. Get crackin' girl!

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow! Again, if you're in San Diego, please come down to Rebecca's coffee house at 30th and Juniper in South Park, across the street from the Grove. We'll be there knitting on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. See you there!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More About the Accident

When I added the sentence or two to my post on Tuesday, it hadn't really sunk in that I had my foot run over. When I woke up on Wednesday, there wasn't any more pain, but the facts of the situation really hit me. I was hit by a car. I bought a large coffee for my colleague, stepped into the cross walk and a large car ran over my foot, but saying that doesn't convey all of the facts, the car started to run over my foot, I shouted the car stopped. On my foot. I had the tire of a large car resting on my left foot. The driver did take immediate steps to rectify that, she backed up (I was gesturing fanatically at her to back up). This wasn't a case of me jaywalking, or crossing against the light. The driver was trying to turn right on red. Had it been left to me, at that moment, there would have been no police involvement and I would just have been brought back here, to my office. From there I had no clue what the next step would be.

Fortunately for me, the police annex is right up the street from the accident scene and an officer came out of the annex saw the stopped car, me sitting down, and came over to find out what happened. He took over. He called the ambulance and the police. I was joking around and making light of things. Even as I was being hoisted into the ambulance I still couldn't believe what happened, surely nothing bad could have happened, surely the large vehicle that came to a stop on my foot, which cut a gash into my Uggs, surely it only bruised my toes right? After all, I was able to wiggle them.

I had no cell phone on me, and worse still, no knitting! After all, I had only left the office to get coffee, who needs their cell phone and knitting for coffee? Hours later I learned that my toe is broken in "several" locations, including one break near a joint. I had a referral to an orthopedist (didn't realize that meant orthopedic surgeon until later). During the whole time I was in the hospital I was acting like it was no big deal, after all, it is just a toe. I even went back into the office. I also stayed for a 6:30 appointment because I didn't want to cancel at that last moment, it seemed to be too large of an inconvenience for the prospective clients. What in God's name was I thinking?! I never even asked how long I would be on crutches, or when I could put weight on it. I know I have been moving around more than I should, but what am I to do?

On Wednesday I woke up and the situation hit me anew. I am on crutches. I can't carry anything up my stairs unless it is on my back. I am going to have to figure out how to manage the crutches, the stairs, laundry, groceries, or trash all at the same time. I don't know if it will only be this way until Friday, when I see the ortho, or if I am going to have this last for weeks. I have never before broken a bone. I had wanted to start training on my bike on April 1st, I feel fairly confident saying that won't happen. I had wanted to go hiking on my birthday in late April, I don't know if that is possible. I don't know if I will be able to hobble from my apartment to the bus stop or if I will have to take a cab. I have to be careful how I sleep at night, how I get into bed, how I shower, how I cover my foot with blankets.

I want to be home in my apartment, sleeping in my bed, using my stuff. Instead I am still dog sitting. Where I am staying is more convenient to work, and I have been getting rides to and from the office. I probably couldn't if I were going home, but still, like a wounded animal I want to seek solace and shelter in my own den.

Notes from my Boston trip

Unfortunately, I don't have any new knitting progress to show you. It's not that I haven't done any knitting, but how exciting is it to watch a sock or a sweater grow a couple of inches every day? I spent today working on my Felted Tweed sweater that I'm sort of designing. I think I underestimated how difficult designing is. I've had some interesting ideas, but I realized that I really don't know what I'm doing and I need to keep it REALLY simple. I don't even know how to design a set-in sleeve. I had to steal one from a pattern in an old Interweave. SO, now I'm really not sure what I'm going to do with the front. I had a really cool idea, but I'm not sure if I can pull it off. We'll see. But anyway, I'm in the middle of the armhole shaping on the back and it's going well so far. I haven't totally screwed it up yet.

Since there isn't great knitting news, I thought I'd talk about some of the yarn shops I visited while in Boston, in case you ever find yourself in Boston looking for yarn. I don't know if I fully described WEBS when I talked about it earlier, but let me tell you, this place is awesome, in the sense of, I was in awe, not in the, like, gag me with a spoon sense. It's located off the beaten path in a space that is set off from all of the other retail stores, and it's nothing like any other yarn store that I've ever been to. It's HUGE and full of every kind of yarn imaginable. They have it neatly arranged, roughly by fiber and gauge, and they seem to have every color of every yarn. I was able to see and touch some yarns that I had never seen before. But then, the back room! That's where they keep all the closeouts. There's yarn back there, good, brand name yarn, at 50% off! Sweater quantities, too! Not to mention the 20-25% discount that you can get on your purchase if you spend enough.

After WEBS, we walked down the street to a cramped, disorganized and tiny yarn shop called Northampton Wools. I suppose after WEBS, everything would pale by comparison, but I think what bothered me most about this shop was the unfriendliness of the proprietor. Admittedly, we walked in about 25 minutes before closing and I'm sure she gets tons of giddy WEBS customers, but that's no excuse to totally dismiss us. I don't think I would have bought yarn there even if I had found something worthwhile.

Another great yarn shop that I visited was Wild and Wooly in Lexington. This place was amazing! At first, it seems deceptively small. Not tiny, but definitely about the size of the average urban yarn store. Regardless, the selection is impressive. But, they also have a cellar full of yarn, too. J and I walked around touching and admiring all their yarn for quite some time. I was also really impressed by the friendliness of the people there. Even though we mentioned that we were doing a yarn crawl, the owner of the shop (I think she was the owner, but we didn't clarify), was extremely helpful in giving us insight into the other yarn shops in the area, as well as providing great info about other knitting-related stuff. I was also impressed that she is a blog-reader, which keeps her up to date on all of the latest trends around the 'Net.

Well, that's about all I have for now. Sorry about the lack of photos, but anything I would take would be B-O-R-I-N-G. See all you San Diego knitters on Saturday at Rebecca's, say 1:00 or so?

By the way, we now have a blog button on the sidebar for you to steal if you wish. It was designed by my husband, Joe, who is planning on becoming a graphic artist after he gets out of the Marine Corps. Please save it to your own server. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Twists Life Takes

I had writen a post and took a walk to buy coffee to pay off a bet at Dunkin Donuts while the last photo was uploading (it never uploaded). While returning to the office a car ran over my foot. Now my big toe is broken in several places, and I am walking on crutches. Fascinating turn of events.

Here is the post that I origionally wrote:
I am afraid I can think of nothing clever to say today, so I will stick with the facts.
Fact: I have finished the second wrist warmer.
Fact: I have to put a scalloped edge around the bottom of the first wrist warmer
Fact: I think these warmers will be perfect.
Fact: I am naming them my Ribbed for Her Pleasure Wrist Warmers.
Fact: The warmers are made from Vesper Sock Yarn and size 1 Addi DPNS (roughly size 1.5 for other needles)
Fact: Despite the fact that these may look like Voodoo, I have never even read the Voodoo pattern, but how hard really is it to make a ribbed tube? I added a thumb gusset and shaped the warmer to decrease around my wrist (which is narrower than my arm and my hand) I made the warmers fairly long on the arm so that they can be worn under sleeves and in the summer (air conditioning) can keep my arms warmer when I wear short sleeved tops. I also decreased around the fingers as the original warmer was to loose there. The warmers sit low over my fingers, barely above the knuckles so that I can easily use my keyboard while wearing them. Higher warmers my be warmer, but I find that they are much less practical. I also created a scalloped cast off which I used to give the warmers a slight, subtle decorative edge. I tried putting the edge on the second warmer, but it seems to fold up, so it may not stay, or at least may not be added to the first.

Next: Rogue--The back is done and I have just done row 2 of the neck cable, so progress is steady.

Oh, for most of the time K was out here, I was very good. The only yarn I bought during the week was the 2 skeins of Malabrigo I wrote about on Saturday. Unfortunately, on Saturday we went to The Snow Goose, which I had never been to before. Unfortunately I was very bad and bought a sweater quantity of Noro Kureyon and a book of Noro patterns. I am hiding my shame by not posting a photograph of that yarn. Until Saturday I was congratulating myself for my discipline and for basically sticking to my yarn diet despite being in 6 or so stores, including Webs. Yes there were regrets, but nothing I truly despaired. Then the devil sat on my shoulder and told me the price for the Kureyon was a good price, and that there would be no shipping, and that the color was lovely, and that I REALLY wanted the FO, so I caved.

Finally, this week I am dog sitting in the 'burbs. Fortunately, I work somewhere where Isis can come join me at work, so she is lying on my desk right now, slightly purring. Times like this, I really like my job.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


It feels really good to be home. I had a great time in Boston - lots of yarn shopping and eating. Basically, what a good vacation ought to be. But, it always feels good to come in for a landing over Balboa Park and back into Lindbergh Field. I was looking forward to warming up back here but our weather isn't too great, either, so I guess I'll have to wait on that.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I came home from WEBS empty-handed. Well, yesterday, we went to a fabulous yarn store in Milton, MA called The Snow Goose. This place was amazing! The owner obviously has a lot of serious knitters as customers because she basically had every yarn ever made in every color it comes in, with sweater quantities in all colors. I'm totally serious! We just walked around the store with our mouths hanging open. She had several bags of Berroco Pleasure for 25% off in several colors. Pleasure just happens to be the perfect gauge for Starsky, so I did a quick calculation and discovered that it would cost $130 to make it. I figured I could probably get it somewhere at a deep discount on the Internet when I got home (it has been discontinued), so I left the yarn in the store and looked it up this morning. As irony would have it, WEBS has it for a serious discount - around 50% and further discounted by WEBS' standard discount. SO, I ordered it this morning. The sweater is going to cost me $70 total, roughly the same price as Knitpicks. This yarn is SOFT - a blend of angora and merino. I'm really excited about starting this sweater now.

Now for my knitting progress. I've been using the Lorna's Laces that my SP7 sent me to work on the River Rapids sock from Sock Bug. I'm trying a new method of doing socks that I've seen others do where I get through the gusset on the first sock and then I cast on for the other one. This is in an attempt top prevent SSS (Second Sock Syndrome), which I feel I suffer from in a big way.

I also made decent progress on the sweater that I'm designing out of Felted Tweed. I may not have mentioned that I scored some Felted Tweed at 25% off at the Grove's sale last weekend. I haven't really seen a pattern that I like that is appropriate for it, so I have decided to, at last, design a sweater. I'm keeping it really simple and following The Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. The bottom is a cable rib and the sleeves are going to be set-in. I have added some waist shaping as well to make it a little more flattering. The front is going to have a cable continuing from the cable rib and going up the center and around a V-neckline. The sleeves will have the same cable ribbing on the bottom. I didn't want to try anything fancy for my first design, but I think it will be a very wearable sweater, as long as it doesn't get too screwed up!

Regarding a weekly knitalong in Hillcrest/North Park area, how does everyone feel about doing it on Saturday afternoons? Since the Whistlestop is on Sunday, I don't think that's a good day. How do you feel about doing it at Rebecca's? Does anyone have a better place in mind?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Good Morning Gentle Reader

And today, reader's only you will be, there are no unique photos. Sorry, my camera battery is apparently dead. I will, therefore, keep this brief, I know that I am not the wittiest, or most interesting of writers.

Had my camera been working I would be posting photos of this knitting bag that my parents gave me as an early birthday present. It is the Jordana Paige, Knitter's Satchel and I love it. There would have been a picture of the outside pocket which contains slots for all my individual notions. My bag is blue. Alas, I can not share with you the details of my bag with my belongings in it.

Had my camera been working I would have posted photos of the Malabrigo merino that I bought at Newbury Yarns, for about $1.00 more for the 2 skeins than I would have paid had I bought them at Wild and Wooly in Lexington the day before. I also would have shown you photos of the Spring/Summer VK that I also bought at Newbury Yarns. Had I not bought the VK I also would not have bought the Malabrigo, but once the debit card is out, why not buy yarn too? Christine, you were right, the skirt is the knitted item. The Malabrigo I bought is now designated for the Urban Necessity Mittens. My quest for the perfect mitten continues.

Finally, had my camera been working I would have shown you the progress on my Rogue Cardigan and the scalloped edging that I put onto my first finished wrist warmer. Unfortunately that is not to be, at least not today.

Hmm, looking back I wasn't so brief after all, I guess it is impossible to shut a lawyer up. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Look At All the Yarn I Got at WEBS!!!

Isn't it amazing? I practically cleaned out the store! All kidding aside, you can see that we didn't exactly do damage in there. Even though we travelled amost 100 miles to Knitter's Mecca and fondled yarn for around 3 hours, we each walked away with nothing! There was some agonizing, some yearning, some groping, but no buying. I didn't even buy the yarn that I'd planned to get for Starsky. It seemed a bit itchy and it had a lot of loose fibers, kind of like Lamb's Pride, but it did come in lovely colors. So, we left the store with our wallets full and our hearts heavy. No new yarn for us. Seeing as I have a bag from there (no I didn't get an empty bag as a souvenir), I obviously bought something. I bought an old Interweave and a Chibi. Hey Big Spender! J is still mourning the bumble bee tape measure that she let get away. But the truth is, one cannot have regrets about not buying something at WEBS because its website is only a click away.

I was more successful yesterday at a couple of the Boston-area stores. First, I headed towards Windsor Button first because I heard a rumor that they still had some Cotton-Ease in stock. Sure enough, they did. As you can see, I managed to get the elusive Strawberry Cream, as well as a smattering of others. I found some Sugar Plum for Kris, but I didn't want to pollute it with cat hair since she's allergic, so it's safely in the bag.

I also managed to spend more money at a shop in Brookline called A Good Yarn, where I found solid Lorna's Laces, some Eucalan, and Inox dpn's (not pictured).

Last night, I went out with some knitters from J's SnB group. We had Vietnamese food in Chinatown. Pictured, from left to right, is Mara, Christine, Lissy and Anna. Not pictured are Wendy, Emily, Jeanette and myself. A good time was had by all, and it was nice to meet people that I have heard so much about.

As a final thought, is anyone interested in trying to get a weekly or every other weekly type knitting group together somewhere in the Hillcrest, North Park area?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

K Made it Safely to Boston!

I have a visitor at home. Now I will have someone to bear witness to Isis going nuts in the morning because she has never ever been so hungry in her entire life (or at least since I made it home the evening before), alternatively, I will have a few days of peaceful rest while Isis behaves for company. So, I know you are DYING to know what I have planned for K while she is here, well for starters, I plan on dumping her in the North End while I work several days (including today). Tonight I am gathering my North End knitting friends together for dinner in Chinatown, if you live in Boston and want to join, feel free! The restaurant is kind of TBD (largely because I am not much of a planner) so the plan is to meet at the Boston Beanstock in the North End (on Salem St) at about 6 pm. If you want to join but don't want to trek to the N.End drop me an email at Tomorrow I will be taking the day off, though, and we will go to Webs, in the evening the coffee shop for s'nb. Thursday, I will be working, but we will go to Circles for the Thursday night salon. Friday, I have court in the am, and if K hasn't hit all the Boston yarn stores on an independent crawl, we will do a little yarn crawl until I have to leave for a meeting in Newton. I am really not much of a hostess, am I?

In my knitting news, Madli is done!!! On the left is the preblocked entire piece. This was a quick lace piece. I modified the pattern to get rid of the "nups" (essentially bobbles) that were scattered around. I just wasn't into knitting 7 together. The stats:
Yarn: Helen's Laces--Georgetown colorway
Needles: size 5 Lantern Moon
Pattern: Madli's Shawl, Nancy Bush, Interweave Knits, Fall 2004 (I think)
Start date: 2/26/06
End date: 3/12/06

I have started the cardiganized version of Rogue, and, due to stupidity, have had to tear out the pockets 2 times. I am making progress on it though. On the Wedding Ring Shawl, I did 3 rows on Sunday, and that was enough for one day (MAN that yarn is TINY).

Finally, fellow N.End knitter, Lissy, made me a pair of socks from Lorna's Laces. The pattern is from the Sock Bug, the colorway is Grey's Corner. I was lucky to get them, I have big feet, so they fit! After my sock is done I am going to make a pair of socks for Lissy. It is fun to be doing this little mini sock exchange thing.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Attention Starsky Knitters!

I know that sounds serious, but I just had to get your attention. Are you listening? Good, because I've got great news. I was just quickly looking around at possible yarn candidates for Starsky. Since the getgo, I've had misgivings about Sierra. Nothing serious, but I always know I'm unsettled about a decision when I keep looking at other options. So, I checked Elann, and saw the Peruvian Highland Chunky, which comes in a few lovely colors. However, I've heard through the grapevine that this stuff pills like crazy. I also happen to have a color card for the worsted version, and it isn't terribly soft. So, I kept looking and went to WEBS. They had a few options at prices that are within the same range, or less, as Sierra. Seeing as I'll be visiting this fabulous knitting store, located in Northampton, MA, next week, I guess I'll buy mine in person! SO exciting! Anyway, the one I think I'm going to get is Valley Yarns Berkshire. It comes in amazing colors and it reminds me of Polar, except A LOT cheaper. Also, there's Tahki Kerry that looks like a good option. Reynolds Candide also looks pretty, except that I notice the description doesn't include the word "soft". Experience tells me that's a bad sign. For the size I want to make, the Valley Yarns Berkshire will cost me $55! Now, that's a good price!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Willy Wonka of the Wonky

Well, I've completed the first glove/mitten I've ever made in my life, and I'd have to say that there is some wonkiness going on. As with anything being done for the first time, there was a learning curve here. Not learning of the actual techniques, which I'd done before, but learning in the sense of how to do it better next time to make the mitten look better. There was a little bit of playing the hand I was dealt, also known as making lemonade out of lemons. For this project, I was trying to use stash yarn AND match an already existing scarf at the same time. I only had enough of the blue to make one entire mitten, and I couldn't find the color in any of the LYS's I went to, so I improvised and bought some heathered green that sort of matches the scarf. Therefore, I had to change the pattern on the mitten top to including striping so that the other mitten top can have striping too, thus tying them together. As a result, there was a little designing-on-the fly. Not sure how well it worked out.

As you can see from this photo, I continued the bicolor theme by binding off in the green.

The good news is that my ball winder and swift arrived on Wednesday, so I spent the evening learning how to use it. This means that I spent a good amount of time untangling yarn that had wrapped itself around the swift and the ball winder. But, I think I'm getting the hang of it.

I also received my two hanks of Rowanspun DK from the UK, but to my shock and dismay, this yarn looks nothing like the yarn I bought in La Jolla. There's not even a family resemblance. The characteristic felted look of the Rowanspun is simply missing in this random yarn I received. The color, ironically, is a dead-on match. I thought THAT was supposed to be the risk of going with different dye-lots. Shouldn't the texture of the yarn, itself, be the same? Silly wabbit. Luckily, someone on Knitter's Review has saved the day and has an entire bag in this color. She doesn't like it, so I may just buy the whole damn bag off of her since I happen to love it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Illusions of Monogamy

I swear it isn’t what it looks like. Wait, wait, don’t go, it doesn’t mean anything, it won’t happen again, I swear!

I have very clear memories of a time when I was monogamous with a project. In these memories I was a serial monogamous dedicating all my time and attention to my one true love, the project du jour. Each relationship ended peacefully and I remained friends with the past project while I moved on to a new love. This is my memory. Unfortunately, reality shows that this monogamous really never existed. I was tempted by some novelty yarn (a Christmas gift for my mother) in the midst of my first significant project. In my own defense, I only cheated on my project du jour with gifts for others. This lasted for a few months, then I became the project slut that I am today, juggling multiple projects at once without a care in the world about the feelings of the UFOs I collected.

I made a New Years resolution to return to a life of serial monogamy this year. There would be no UFOs hanging about, mocking me, instead only a pure and undiluted dedication to my one true love (for the moment). This didn’t work, I am too fickle, instead of serial monogamy, I have sunk to a new level. Have you seen the progress bars over on the left? They don’t include my newest addition, a Vesper wrist warmer, it also doesn’t include my Falling Leaves sock (which I removed from their dpns in order to sink deeply into the comfort of Vesper), or the somewhat abandoned projects that are hanging out somewhere at home.

I started making my Vesper wrist warmer because my hands have been colder than usual this past week. When my body gets cold my fingers get exceptionally cold, and sometimes they turn white and numb. Until this past Tuesday night it hadn’t happened this winter. Tuesday, though, on my bus ride home first my right ring finger then my left ring finger did the white numb thing. My hands had been cold in the office all day before that happened, and are still cold as I type these words (fyi, my office is about 71 degs). The wrist warmers that I have in the office are big, loose, and bulky (made from Big Wool and stretched out of shape). It is hard to type with the Big Wool warmers on, so I decided to take my Vesper and create a snug, fitted, thin wrist warmer. Now I am mesmerized by Vesper, I have been utterly seduced by the way the stripes just come into being, and the colors, which make me think of Punky Brewster for some reason. I added some wrist decreases to the warmer and am doing a thumb gusset. On the bus this morning I did a scalloped edge/cast off, just to give the warmer a touch of femininity. Due to my torrid affair with Vesper, I am setting aside my shelridge farms sock for the time being, never fear dear sock, I am anxious to wear you too, so I will pick you up again.

Despite the fact that I am in thrall to my wrist warmer, Madli retains a place in the forefront of my heart. I am still entranced by the unpredictable changes of color in my Georgetown Helen’s Lace. Georgetown has prevented me from becoming bored with the simple pattern. Being able to use my size 5 Lantern Moons also helps keep Madli desirable (I did have to take an emery board to on of the Lantern Moons since it had rough spots). Now I am nearly done with Madli.

On Sunday I cast on for my Shetland Wedding Ring Shawl with Emily, who is doing the same shawl in gossamer cotton. I am using gossamer silk, it is almost like knitting with a spider web. The silk is so fine that you can barely sense it on you hand (the thin white line laying, barely visible, next to the brown worsted weight cotton, that is my gossamer silk). The Center (or should I say centre since it is a British pattern) is 362 rows of 247 stitches, over 89,0000 stitches are in the center alone, then there will be a border, then edging. My plan is to do one row each day. K doesn’t think I will stick by that, she is taking bets that I will be done much sooner than I think is possible.

Fichu and Brioche will be picked up again, at some point. In the meantime, I have been inspired by K’s Rogue cardi, so I bought the yarn (Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann), the pattern, and some new Addi Turbos, I am ready to cast on NOW, NOW, NOW! Oh, and don’t forget that I should be getting my Lorna’s Laces Shepard’s’ worsted in soon for the Twisted Floats Shrug, oh and the baby shower presents that I need to make, and a shawl from Lacy Lamb that is on order, and ….

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Knitzalot's Coming to Boston! (maybe)

Mercifully, my Spring Break is coming up next week, and I had originally planned to go on a little getaway with my husband to San Luis Obispo. You know, check out a winery (or two or three), have some good food, stay at a little B & B. But, it wasn't to be. I found out today that he can't get any time off of work next week. I was really disappointed because I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing vacation. It might not all be for not, though, because J was kind enough to invite me to stay with her for a few days. Normally, this would not be possible because I would feel too guilty to spend money on a trip, since I'm a student these days and not bringing in any bacon. BUT, it's tax time, so we've got a big refund coming, and my mom has a free airline ticket I can use. SO, barring any scheduling difficulties with the airline, I should be coming to Boston next week! Even though it's not final, I can't help getting excited. I'm definitely regretting not knitting any wool sweaters lately. I've been on a total cotton binge. Since I'm going somewhere cold, finishing Sam isn't as critical, but I am still working on it. I've finished the collar and I cast on the sleeves today. I knit about 2 inches or so and ran out of steam. I'm getting really bored with it. Thankfully, I'm close enough to finishing that I won't abandon it.

Back to wool clothing, or lack thereof. Even though I'm a knitter, I am woefully short of cold weather gear. Could this be because I live in a place where the average daytime temperature is 70 degrees? To gear up, I've decided to knit myself a pair of mittens and a hat before I arrive in New England. Can it be done? I believe it can without too much difficulty. After all, I have roughly 6-7 hours of travel time (I call it knitting time). Of course, since I'm terrified of flying, I'll be boozing it up in the airport. But I digress. Anyway, I'm planning on making the Urban Necessities mittens from Magknits in some Cascade 220 I have lying around in my stash. I've already got 2 inches of the ribbing done. I actually don't have enough to finish the mittens, but I've got other yarn in a similar color I can use in a pinch, or I may do a different color to coordinate with my Oscar scarf. I'm also going to make Odessa. I figure I'll be a vision in wool with my fabulous new accessories! Looks like Magknits is really coming through for me this time. In fact, it looks like I'm knitting things designed only by Boston designers. How appropriate!

Speaking of designers, has anyone seen the new Knit Simple? There's a design by Jordana Paige, designer of Starsky. It's really cute, and I'm definitely going to make it over the summer. It's the blue and white striped tank under the "It's a Shore Thing" section. I'd lose the stripes, but I think Shine would make a lovely yarn substitution.

There's also apparently a Starsky knitalong. I think I have decided on my cabling after staring at a woman's sweater in the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Luckily she didn't have me arrested. She probably thought I was psychotic. But, it was worth it because I have a cable motif in mind. I'm having trouble deciding on a color of Sierra. Allison, I agree with you that the Natural is tempting and Jen, the Cranberry is lovely. I'm torn between several. Hopefully, I'll decide soon.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bi-Color Brioche Tutorial, Part IV

Last night I actually picked up my bi-color brioche again and did 2 complete rows (each knit 2x). As a result, I have Part IV of the Tutorial for you. This part deals with working CC on Wrong side rows. This row is worked similarly to the MC on the Right Side. You will be slipping every MC stitch in the row. To slip this stitch you will first bring your CC yarn from the back to the front. You will then insert your right hand needle purlwise into the MC stitch and pass it from the left needle onto the right and you will bring your CC over top and back around to the back.
After you have successfully slipped the MC stitch from your left needle onto the right needle you will next confront a CC stitch. You will knit this stitch together with the MC yarn over that had been created during the last row. You will now alternate slipping the MC stitches (with a YO being created) and knitting the CC stitches together with the MC YO already on the needles.

This together with Part I, Part II, and Part III are the steps used to create the bi-color brioche fabric. After you have completed this CC row you will slide the stitches around your circular needle and bring them back onto the lefthand needle where you will pick up the loose MC yarn and follow the instructions from Part I to complete the row. Part II and Part III follow and then you repeat the 4 rows until you have achieved the length you want.

On Thursday I have much non-brioche progress to report and show! Have a good one!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Little Breather

Tonight, I decided to take a little breather from my larger projects, which are mostly sweaters, and knit up a scarf that I'm going to call my Oscar Scarf because I knitted it mostly during the Oscar broadcast tonight.

I can't believe how awful this photograph makes it look. Here's a close-up of the stitch, not that this photo is any better. Sometimes, photographs just don't capture the beauty of a knitted object. It's actually a lovely scarf, "designed" over the phone by J on the fly. It's going to be a favorite, the kind of scarf that you can wear with anything for any occasion. OK, enough blubbering. I got the yarn (the fabulous Tahki Bunny Print) at Knitting in La Jolla at her price slashing sale for $4 per ball! A $12 scarf that would havecost at least $100 retail. Gotta love it!

Well, that means I didn't make as much progress on Sam as I was planning. Here's what I've got so far.

I had planned on picking up the stitches for the collar, and probably finishing the collar during the Oscars, but since I can't concentrate well when polishing off a bottle of champagne, I figured I should stick to the simple scarf. I think it was a good call. No point ruining what is turning out to be a nice sweater.

I also started on Rogue on Friday night. I had a hell of a time with the provisional cast-on. I kept losing the stitches I had cast on. Literally, every time I counted, I lost more stitches. I also didn't realize, for a while, that I was supposed to start with the smaller needle (it's that damn inability to actually read the pattern again), and since I'm cardiganizing it, I have to pay atttention to the changes I'm supposed to make. The cables are very challenging and interesting, but that's a good thing! I must have peace and quiet in order to work on it.

I also scored at the Knitting in LJ sale on some Rowanspun DK that I plan to use for a simple Raglan pullover out of an ancient IK. It's nothing extravagant or fabulously complicated, but it's the kind of simple, classic, flattering sweater that gets worn a lot. To me, those are the best kind of knitted objects. I bought everything she had, but it wasn't enough so I had to order more on ebay. As usual, the camera didn't capture the amazing color.

I'm glad to hear that everyone is still interested in making Starsky. It's definitely not too late to add yourself to our little knitalong. It's nothing formal, but I do think it would be a blast to get together and knit on it once in a while. I know we loved "Lettuce" for a color when we were looking at the colors on the computer, but did anyone notice that they're out of stock on it? No biggie. Looks like they're getting more in on 4/7. I'm thinking of ordering my yarn fairly soon and maybe trying out some of those new Knitpicks summer yarns. They have a new wool/cotton blend and a worsted version of Shine.