Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wciked FO and Kim's Book (finally!)

Yesterday, the temp actually dropped into the low '70s, low enough for me to wear wool, believe it or not. Of course, it doesn't hurt that little icicles grow on my nose at my office because of the A/C. Naturally, no one was around to take pictures, and I was running late, so I grabbed this horrible photo, but it at least gives you an idea:

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Pattern: Wicked, by Zephyrstyle
Size: 38" bust
Yarn: Four Play by Brooks Farm, 3 hanks, don't know the color number or name
Needles: Size 7 Addi Turbos

I am really happy with the way this turned out. I thought it might be too short, but I don't think it is. I didn't find myself tugging on it all day or anything. In fact, it was SO comfortable. I LOVED wearing it. On my way home from work, though, I stopped at the butcher to get some ground chuck and put it under my arm to grab something. It turns out that a chunk of meet got stuck on the sweater. Ick. I got it off, but do you think I have to wash it already? Thoughts?

Yesterday, I was so excited to see thumbnails of the new designs in Kim Hargreaves new book, Heartfelt. I absolutely have to have this book. I'm so relieved that she's foregoing the kits in favor of a design book. It's so kind of her to make her wonderful designs accessible to those of us on the other side of the pond. Here are a few of my favorites:

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This one is my absolute favorite:

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If anybody knows where this book can be purchased stateside, please let me know.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Back to Normal

Judging by the traffic this morning, the city is getting back to normal. In fact, I'm pretty sure every single resident was on the freeway this morning while I was driving to work. The main evacuation center, Qualcomm Stadium, was put back into service for its intended use - a football game. As further proof, I saw some engines from a northern California fire department heading home.

It's nice to see, although I will say that the slower pace of life was kind of a welcome break last week, since I was not personally affected by the fires in any way. Now, it's back to business, back to school for the first time in almost two weeks.

I've been knitting away like a maniac on my Central Park Hoodie. I've finished the back and both of the fronts. I cast on for the first sleeve on Saturday and here's my progress:

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I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted yesterday because I spent about 9 hours doing homework yesterday! I've still got more to do this afternoon before my class tonight. Am I almost done with this school thing?!

I've also begun thinking about my mom's Christmas gift. Over the summer, she brought yarn home from a trip to Cambria, CA that she asked me to turn into something - a shawl, wrap or more likely a scarf since I only have 165 yards. Here's the yarn:

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Isn't that a lovely photo? It's so dark, you can barely make out the colors. I'm hoping to remedy that this week with the purchase of a modest, but new digital camera. Mine dates back to 2002 and it's really ready to retire. Anyway, I have a couple of ideas that I got from Ravelry: this and this. The yarn is fairly busy, so I think something to work well with that would be best. Any preferences?

Finally, it looks like it's going to be 70 degrees tomorrow, so it might actually be cool enough to wear Wicked. I think wool and 90 degree weather don't go together well, so Wicked has been sitting folded on my dresser waiting for its debut. When I tried it on after blocking, it seemed to fit really well, so I'm so excited to wear it!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Slow Knit Time

First, I would like to wish all our San Diego area readers safety during the fires. I am not quite sure what to say, but I hope that all of you, and your loved ones are well, and somewhere safe.

In knitting matters, I haven't gotten much done. To the right is my thrummed mitten. I have been at this point for about a week, but I am not finding the mitten to be motivating (perhaps it is the unseasonable warm weather we are having right now?)
I have started my second Millicent knee high sock (a Cookie A design) but haven't gotten very far on that either. My white cabled cardigan is plodding along.

On Sunday I went down to the Blue Hills for a little hiking, I also cooked Spaghetti Squash Mexicali with Tropical Salsa Verde from a cookbook (Veganomicon) that I bought (signed) at the Vegetarian Food Festival on Saturday. Dinner turned out well, and was also quite tasty cold the next night. Last night I baked chai latte cupcakes, which is why I ended up eating cold leftovers (I bake in my convection oven which is my microwave (my oven is awful)). Due to the cooking, hiking, food festing, and other weekend activities, there just wasn't really any free time to knit, but oh, well.

The Inferno Hoodie

I'm sure most of you have heard by now that those of us in San Diego in the middle of a massive firestorm. Very large portions of the county have been evacuated with the fires covering the an area from the Mexican border to Fallbrook to the north and Encinitas to the west. If you're familiar with the area, that's basically everything. Well, not everything because it thankfully doesn't include where I live in the urban area of the city. The fires all around us are making the air quite smoky and the low humidity is pretty uncomfortable, but we're safe and in no danger of being evacuated for now. I didn't go to work or school today because officials asked people to stay off the roads and as of tonight, my office is now in a voluntary evacuation zone, so I'm guessing work is out for tomorrow, too. What does one do with all of that time?


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This is the progress I've made on the Central Park Hoodie while I've been glued to the TV all day.

I haven't been able to turn away from the news because the neighborhood that I grew up in, Green Valley in Poway, CA, where my parents lived for the first 32 years of my life, is on fire and whether or not my childhood home is a pile of rubble is unknown. I have several friends that have evacuated, too, and their homes are also in the direct line of the fire. Its come down to checking the streets they're listing to see if the properties in question are on it. Even those lists aren't complete by any means. I've sat here and watched multiple houses burn to the ground - very sad. Needless to say it's a terrible situation that is affecting the entire city in a very real way. Worse yet, the weather isn't looking to improve, so tomorrow it will be temps above 90, humidity below 10% and wind gusts around 40-50 mph. More later.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

FO's, new projects, and...swatches?

It always feels so good to finish a project. Finishing a sweater feels particularly good. It means that the project will never become a UFO. It will never become a source of guilt or shame. Not to mention that you get a new sweater out of it!

Meet Wicked:

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It's still blocking. Before blocking, it was snug and a little shorter than I'd like. Once it got wet, it grew several inches in width - I'm not sure exactly how many because I didn't measure before it got wet - I can just tell by how it fit me. I tried it on before I blocked it and it was really cute, so I'm excited to wear it when it's dry. Considering it's going to be almost 90 degrees on Wednesday, I'm thinking its debut will not be this week.

I also finished another long-standing UFO that I'll blog about later in the week. It's over at my parents' house blocking as we speak. It's got some issues that I hope come out in the blocking - otherwise it will need some tweaking. Oh, I've said enough already! You'll see soon enough!

Anyway, finishing up this old UFO was the deal I made with myself to cast on for the Central Park Hoodie, which I've been chomping at the bit to cast on for weeks.

Seeing as I never, ever swatch for a project (swatches are more dishonest than politicians), what's this?

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Well (sheepishly), I guess it's a swatch. But, but, but, I've never used this yarn before! I even washed my swatch! The size I choose to make depends upon the outcome of this swatch, so it's actually kind of important - IF it doesn't lie through its teeth.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This past weekend I visited the White Mountains in New Hampshire for 3nights of backpacking. I brought a sock to knit with me, but after getting a few inches into the cuff I tried it on and discovered it was too big and tore the whole thing out, so I have no knitting to share. I did get to see some fall folliage: Waterfalls: Lakes: Ice covered mountains (we nearly made it to the top of this one, its a long story of why we didn't get to the summit):More mountains:


Swiftly moving mountain streams: And lots of other lovely things:

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cabled Cardigan

While it hasn't been making much of an appearance here, I have continued work on my cabled cardigan. This project hasn't gotten much face time because the sleeves and back are all simple garter stitch and not very photo worthy. I have, however, managed to finish the back, 2 sleeves, and the left front all up to the point of the arm hole shaping.I have also found some buttons to use for the cardigan. They are square and match the color of my yarn fairly well. So far I have used 9+ skeins of Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Lite.

The left and right fronts of the cardigan mirror each other, with the bobble patterns running up along the garter stitch button band. The cables that are next to the bobble stitch motif twist in opposite directions to continue the mirrored effect.

I really like the look of the edging on the sweater, but I am SOOOOO happy to be done with it.

I still have no idea how this will actually look when it is being worn. It looks extremely unflattering and boxy in all these photos, but I am hopeful that it will look okay when it is done.
Saturday's weather here was lovely, so I was able to spend some time outside reading and relaxing.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Garter Stitch

I've never been a fan of garter stitch - I always associated with beginning knitters. I also thought it produced a bulky garment, and I never liked it as an edging on sleeves or the body of a sweater. Recently, though, I've cast on for two projects that have a lot of garter stitch in them and I find, when used judiciously, garter stitch adds a really nice design element. For example, here's my Juliet, knit out of Ice Blue Cotton-Ease (the old stuff):

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I was concerned that when I put it on, it would add at least 10 pounds, but it actually looks really cute! I can't wait to finish it now. Knitting Cotton-Ease double hurts my hands quite a bit, though, so it's slow-going.

I've also cast on for the Cobblestone Pullover, which uses garter stitch very cleverly to create a visually interesting piece:

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I'm using All Seasons Cotton Melange in Military. This sweater will be for my husband's Thanksgiving trip home to Chicago, so I have to finish it by November 21st. I have daily and weekly goals so that I get it done.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

The Zero Dollar Sweater

Ever since I saw the Tree Jacket pattern, I've wanted to make it but I knew that I had to find just the right yarn. I just HAD to be soft because it goes up around my neck, and it had to have a sproingy, cozy look to it. Over the last year, I've been really good about knitting from my stash, and don't have much of one left (that includes Cotton-Ease by the way).

Well, thanks to joining with two others for an order to WEBS (25% discount), returning some yarn I bought a while back that I didn't plan to use and selling 6 skeins of Bubble Gum Cotton-Ease, I basically got enough enough Malabrigo to make the Tree Jacket with no money out of pocket. The color is Velvet Grapes:

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I only have three in my possession at the moment, but the other two should be coming in the next couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure that dyelots won't matter much here...or at least I'm hoping as much.

I've wanted to make a sweater out of Malabrigo ever since I saw it for the first time about two years ago. It looks like I'm finally going to be able to...unless the hanks from two separate lots are completely different, that is.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

My First Steek (and misc other stuff)

For over a year I have been working off and on on Seasons of Darkness Winter of Light, a colorwork sweater with cabled lace edging. The pattern from from Norsk Strikkedesign and is actually the cover pattern. All the knitting is now complete, and Tuesday night I cut my first steek. After cutting the steek, I pinned my unblocked body edging (but not the sleeve edging) to the body of the sweater. I then tried it on to see how it looked/fitted. I know that this is probably not an accurate preview because the edging yarn blocks a bigger. As mentioned before, K sent me some beautiful velvet that is going to be used to line the cabled lace edging. My next step is to block the edging, cut a "pattern", pin the pattern to the fabric, cut the fabric, sew the fabric to the edging, then attach it all to the sweater body. In other words, while the knitting is all done, I still have a long way to go before I get to wear this sweater.

On a non-knitting note, I was apparently mistaken when I announced a couple weeks ago that I made my last appearance at Fenway. At 6pm last night I was told to leave my apartment, get on the green line and head to Kenmore Square. Josh Beckett (my favorite Sox player) was pitching and he was on fire last night, pitching an 8 strikeout, no walks, 4 hit, shutout complete game. In addition to Beckett's phenomenal performance the Sox had Homerus from Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, and some great feilding plays. Sorry for babbling about baseball, but I am still in a post game euphoric condition, and yes, I know this is only game one of the ALDS, but it is probably the only post season game I will get to see from Fenway.

I have a couple of other Boston photos that I want to share: a circley thing, a newly opened part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and the Zakim Bridge (I am particularly proud of the Zakim Bridge photo).


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Socks

A year ago I began working on a sock using some red Trekking yarn, Sunday, a year later, I finally finished the second sock. My second sock was delayed because I had no real notes telling me how I did the heel turn for the first sock. Eventually, I looked up another toe up sock with a gusset and heal flap and improvised the second heal. Immediately after I finished the heel, I found the very limited notes I made about the heel turn.

The pattern is of my own design. The sock is a toe up style. The toe is a round toe which I reverse engineered from a cuff down pattern. I arranged the toe so that the number of stitches between the increases equaled the number of stitches for the 2 stitch patterns selected (9). I thought that this would give the sock a nice flow.

The sock was knit on size 0 Addis. I am not sure what gauge I got, but there are 72 stitches to a round.

As I mentioned, this sock has a heel flap and gussets. I didn't want to just do the standard heel flap stitch (k1, slip1) so I divided the flap into sections of 9 and made the flap alternate between the standard heel flap and a flap that looked more like seed stitch (still done with k1, slip1, but alternating rows so that the slip stitches don't line up)

As mentioned, there were 2 different stitch patterns used, one that is a pseudo cable and one that is a something like a traveling stitch. The stitch patterns alternate so that the same motif does not sit next to itself. I also decided to make the socks mirror each other. The cuff for the sock was a very simple rib, no frills there.

Well, I guess those are all the details of this sock. Next sock I will be working on is another sock of my own design where the first sock was made last year. This one also has a design challenge in that my notes simply tell me that the toe used was a "star of 3 points." That would be fine if I had done a cuff down, but I had reverse engineered that toe too, so I am not really sure how I created the "star of 3 points" and the yarn used isn't perfectly suited for recreating. Until I get the courage to try to figure that one out, my traveling project is a thrummed mitten made from this kit:


Monday, October 01, 2007

Exhibit A

In support of why I shouldn't wear drop sleeve sweaters. I present, my second Under the Hoodie:

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I think you all know the drill. The pattern is Under the Hoodie from Stitch n Bitch Nation, the yarn is a combination of the new Cotton-Ease (Violet and Taupe) and All Seasons Cotton (lost the ballband, so I'm not sure on the color). I made the 40" size, which for this pattern is the small. I used size 6 Addi Turbo needles.

I wouldn't necessarily call this pattern a success. I did learn something, though, so not all is lost. Basically, drop sleeve sweaters aren't the right style for me. After blocking, this sweater was about 5 inches larger than I normally make sweaters. However, I'm sure you can tell, it's too small for me. This is because the drop sleeve requries a lot of ease in the sweater in order to look right. Otherwise, the sleeves looks weird. It took me three times seaming the first sleeve to realize this. I wasn't doing it wrong - it just looks odd because the body of the sweater is too small.

However, it's not so tight that it's uncomfortable - it's just unflattering. I like wearing it, and I'll wear it to school tonight to see if it stretches out at all. I don't have high hopes, though, because I knit it fairly tightly.

Here's something funny, though - I got a good laugh out of it. Somehow, I got on an AARP mailing list, so I get some interesting mail. This one takes the cake, though:

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This is something I can't even begin to think about at this point! Joe says I got put on the list because I was born an adult, a reference to my early-onset maturity. I was one of those kids who liked hanging out with adults instead of people her own age. STILL!