Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just a quick update. I started my cabled/plaid jacket using a Reynolds Whiskey Pattern. I managed to finish the cable part and start the colorwork. The sweater seems very green. In fact, I think it would be perfect for St. Patrick's day, unfortunately, I won't nearly be done then.

I also managed to finish the back on Jezabel and start the front on it. I haven't gotten far yet. I have no photos because my camera battery died.

Finally, I got around to putting buttons on my Nantucket Jacket, which I plan to wear as I travel to the British Virgin Islands. Again, no photo, no charged camera battery.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Back From Stitches West!

I just flew in to San Diego today and I'm so beat! What a weekend!

I left to fly up to San Jose on Thursday morning and arrived just after lunch. I ended up going up a day earlier than planned because I heard there was going to be a Market Preview only attended by knitters taking Stitches classes on Thursday evening. I patiently waited all day until 7 p.m. when I rushed into the marketplace along with hundreds of other knitters. Even the preview day was crazy! We had two hours to take in an entire convention center filled with yarn of all kinds. Some I recognized, some were from small mills, most of it was gorgeous, some of it was fun fur. I tried to be systematic about it, but when after an hour, all I'd done is seen three or four booths, I got panicky and started wandering aimlessly. By 9 p.m., I felt like I'd been hit by a bus or something. Wow! Totally overwhelming!

On Friday, I took a class on Celtic Cables from Melissa Leapman, which was pretty good, although most of it was stuff I already knew. I can't help getting starstruck, though, so I was glad I got a chance to know her a bit. The rest of the day was spent back in the marketplace trying to prioritize and decide what delicious yarny bits would be coming home with me. Although I felt a little scattered with my purchases, I think I ended up doing really well. I wasn't sure if I should get anything that I could easily get on the Internet, but I ultimately decided that if I saw it in person and liked it, and hadn't seen it anywhere locally, I could get it.

So, what does a non-lace, non-sock knitter buy herself at Stitches West? How 'bout 3 hanks of Socks that Rock, colorways Nodding Violets, Ruby Slippers and Mist?

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How 'bout 4 hanks of Louet Sales Gems Pearl, colorways Eggplant and Crabapple Blossom, purchased at the Bay Area Knit Co-Op for making two fantabulous non-knitty Cookie A. patterns?

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How 'bout 1 hank of Zephyr laceweight wool/silk blend, also purchased the from the Bay Area Knit Co-Op (an amazing deal at only $10 for 630 yards) ?

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Sure, why not? I couldn't just get yarn for sweaters. How the heck would I get it home, right?

Never fear, I also bought stuff for sweaters, too. I nabbed this great bag of yarn, 1370 yards of Anny Blatt Merinos for $40, WAY WAY less than retail price. Basically, that's 75% off their bag sale price which is 50% off of retail price. Egads!

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I also got these cool buttons from a small vendor who doesn't do business over the Internet. Drat! I'm usually stuck getting buttons and Joann's and not being very happy with the results. That's what $40 worth of buttons looks like. Hey, they're vintage!

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Last, but most certainly not least, I couldn't resist getting yarn from Brooks Farm, a mill from Lancaster, TX. Their booth was simply magnificent with the yarn hanging in hanks in every color- and fiber- combo imaginable. They had 100% mohair, mohair blended with silk, mohair blended with wool, 100% superwash merino, a la Shepherd Worsted, and the combo I got, a 50/50 blend of silk and merino wool that is literally TO DIE FOR! It's an almost-solid purple, although it is subtly variegated with tonal colors. I got enough to make Wicked and now I'm finally psyched about casting on and getting started. Yay!

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Lemme think what else? The Blue Moon booth was complete insanity at the beginning of the show. At one point, I was eyeing a hank of the lightweight when a woman grabbed it right at that moment. People were buying armfuls of the stuff. Some people were extremely pushy and rude. I really liked the Bay Area Co-Op's booth. It was where Cookie A. was selling her patterns along with the yarns I mentioned and some of her own sock yarn. WEBS was there with all of their own Valley yarns as well as several of the yarns they have on closeout through their site. That's only about 5% of what I saw...I could go on and on...

On Friday night, I had dinner with Dis, Susan and Shannon of A Little Loopy, Kris of Kris Crafts and Marisa of One by One. We were looking a little worn out from the weekend's festivities, which is pretty pathetic since women MUCH older than us were whooping it up, singing, drinking in the elevator, and basically being party animals. We were a stark contrast falling asleep on our feet waiting for a table at the hotel restaurant.

After leaving the convention on Saturday, I headed up to San Mateo to crash with a friend from college. She's a non-knitter, so my yarn store time in the Bay Area was limited. That was fine because I was sort of yarned out after Stitches. To put it another way, I didn't really want to look at another ball of yarn in my life. That didn't stop me from heading to Artfibers in Union Square, right in the heart of San Francisco. I'd heard so much about this place that I just had to check it out for myself. It is a shop where they make their own yarns and let you do "yarn tastings" by providing needles and an inviting place to sit and knit. The day I went, they were only open from 2 to 4 p.m., so such tastings weren't in the cards. I browsed for a bit and got a souvenir - a scarf's worth of a 50/50 merino/silk semi-solid yarn in this amazing rose color. Yum! In all, I found that they had a lot of very expensive luxury fibers, but nothing I could truly use to make a wearable sweater. There's a place for all kinds of yarn stores in my world, though.

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None of us thought to take any photos of our adventures, which is typical for me. Be assured, though, that a good time was had by all. I'm really glad I went - it was a great experience. I can only hope that when I am the age of most of the attendees (i.e. 50-plus), I can go to Stitches and have as much fun as all of the women around me. I figure it's something to shoot for.


Friday, February 23, 2007

More Yarn for Me!

K is at Stitches West right now, I don't think she will be able to post today, so I am taking this opportunity to share the other yarn I got on my recent yarn binge.

First, I have my cone and one of the two skeins of Nature Spun sport weight yarn that I am going to use to make the cable and plaid cardigan/jacket from a Reynolds Whiskey pattern book. I saw Julia from Knitterly Things working on this sweater and I realized that I HAD to make one for myself. I immediately ordered the pattern, but held off a bit ordering the yarn. Now I have the yarn and want to start right away (despite the fact that I am working on Jezebel).
I also bought some zepher lace weight yarn that K picked up for me at Knitting in La Jolla (I think). This yarn is going to come on an upcoming trip I am taking to the Caribbean. :-) The plan for this yarn is the lovely Forest Path Stole.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Over 7 years ago I regularly went to a yoga class. Every Sunday I drove 20 or so minutes to the gym and spent an hour unwinding by doing yoga. After finishing law school I quit that gym and stopped going to yoga. Eventually, I bought myself a yoga mat. The yoga mat got used for sit ups and as a dust collector for years. About 2 weeks ago I went to a yoga class. My first in over 7 years. Finally, my mat was put to the use that it was designed. Since I was, 2 weeks ago, still on a yarn buying embargo, and since I finished the last sweater I could make using UFO or stash yarn, I decided to make a bag for my yoga mat. I know that there are good patterns out there for yoga mat bags, but I didn't want to follow any of them. I figured that this would be a good opportunity for me to use the Durrow cable by The Girl From Auntie. I liked the Durrow cable and wanted to try it for some time, but had no idea what I could use it for.

My first attempt at the yoga mat bag was close to an utter disaster. I started by just making the cable, using left over Sugar Plum Cotton-Ease, then for the body of the bag, I decided to use some bright red Lamb's Pride Bulky that I had planned to use on a different bag (it would have burned my eyes if I did the first bag). The reason I stopped work on this version wasn't the difference in the gauge between the Cotton-Ease (worsted) and the Lamb's Pride (Bulky) nor was it the fact that the colors clashed, not it was the fact that I didn't have enough of the Lamb's Pride (thank goodness for small favors).

When I saw that I was running out of yarn, I mentally scanned the yarn in my stash and decided that the multi-color, stranded knitting, bulky yarn bag I was going to do, would never be done, so I frogged it and took the purple yarn for my new bag.

The bag is knit using size 10, 16" addi turbo needles. The bottom of the bag is crocheted, I didn't have size 10 dpns and couldn't see buying any for this project. To make a strap for the bag, I increased near the bottom and moved the original stitches onto a holder then knit the increase stitches as part of the bag. Latter, I double knit the strap, then joined the top to the top of the bag by knitting 3 together.

For the top of the bag, I made a eyelet cable border through which I ran a crochet chain to create a way to close the bag.

It took about a weekend to make the bag and I am very pleased with the finished product.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hourglass is finished!

My goal was to complete the finishing on Hourglass and have it blocked by the time I left for Stitches. I finally did that last night and it's drying right now.

I was in such a rush to wash it last night that I didn't even try it on first although I did try it on throughout the finishing process. The neckline is very wide, much wider than it was when I tried it on when it will still on the needles. Also, the hem on the neckline doesn't have elasticity, so it's prone to stretching out. I'm considering threading some elastic thread through the hem so it stays on better. I'll have modeled photos for you, hopefully from Stitches!

I'm also making very slow progress on Remembering Honey. This will make a good travel project for my trip.

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I leave for Stitches tomorrow afternoon and I'm getting excited! Will any of you be there?

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Breaking the Fast

It feels like I haven't bought any new yarn for about a million years. Okay, I bought some Calmer earlier this year (yes I know if is only February) but that doesn't really count since that yarn was only bought so I could finish a project started with the same colorway Calmer nearly a year ago. Finally, I have bought new yarn, and I didn't just buy a skein or two, I bought enough for two sweaters and for a lace shawl. I am waiting for yarn to come in for one sweater but in the mean time started a different one using Freedom Spirit by Twilleys, in the Air colorway. This yarn if soft, pretty, and best of all, only $4.70 a skein at the LYS near my office! I am using this yarn to do my own interpretation of Jezebel, a Louisa Harding pattern. Originally, I wasn't going to just do an interpretation, I was going to make this exact sweater, however, after starting the back, I decided that the striping of the Freedom Spirit, while pretty, would be way too much across the front, so I am going to do a drastic modification of the pattern and give it a wide V neck instead of the mock turtle in the pattern. In addition, I think that my sweater is going to end up more clingy than the original.

So far, I have gotten to the point of shaping for the sleeves. The bottom of the sweater has a pretty curl to it, and the sweater is a super easy knit. There is absolutely no shaping involved here.


Monday, February 19, 2007

I Did It!

I overcame almost a year's worth of inertia and picked up Starsky again. I had no idea where I was in the pattern, couldn't remember what cable I'd chosen, what size needle I was using, or what size I was making. But I sat down yesterday for about an hour and sorted all of that out and charted out my decreases to finish the last piece. That's what caused the hiccup in the first place. Decreasing for the neckline and the armhole at the same time took some planning. Anyway, here she is blocking:

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The lighting is bad because the weather in San Diego is quite atrocious. I know, we deserve it because it was 80 degrees here over the weekend while the rest of the country was buried up to their a&%#es in snow.

I've decided that when it comes time for seaming, I'm going to use another yarn because Polar has literally NO twist to it, so it looks at risk for shredding and breaking. I picked up some Patons Classic Merino in a color that I think it close enough. We'll see how it goes:

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All of this virtuosity (i.e. finishing Hudson without starting something new, finishing Hourglass and picking up an old UFO) got me thinking. I should start a new project! So, I started Remembering Honey from the Spring 2003 issue of Interweave. I'm using Strawberry Cream Cotton-Ease. I felt, given the delicate lacy femininity of the pattern, the color was appropriate. I'm loving the little lacy bits at the bottom. They look like crochet, don't they?

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Starsky Revival

The knitting gods were most benevolent this time. I managed to finish the knitting, including the hem, on Hourglass without running out of yarn! Yay! I ended up with probably 10 yards to spare. Not so close to call it a nailbiter, but close enough all the same. All that's left to do now is sew down the hem facings and graft the underarms together. I tried to get a photo, but the lighting was bad, so I'll get a better photo when it's all done.

Disentangled's successful completion of Starsky inspired me to resurrect mine. Last April, four of us decided to cast on for Starsky at the same time. I decided to change out the cables and attempt to do my own design. My design skills at the time were rudimentary, so I made a few mistakes, but I think the cables are pretty all the same. I had decided not to finish it because the yarn I used, Rowan Polar, is just too heavy and scratchy to be worn by me, particularly in Southern California. However, when I took it out to look at it, I decided that it was too pretty not to finish. Here's a photo of one of the fronts:

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Right now, I'm at the sleeve shaping on the other front. The sleeves and back are done already, so once I finish the other front and it's blocked, I can sew it together and add a collar to it. I've decided to swap this out for Rogue as my March UFO Resurrection project.

I'm also not sure what I want to cast on for next. I had planned on making Wicked and I have the yarn and everything. However, I'm not feeling inspired by it right at this moment. Now, I'm thinking maybe the Central Park Hoodie with some of the fabulous tweed yarn I have in my stash. Hmmm....

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Purple Passion Thursday

Hi everybody! I hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day whatever you decided to do. We ended up having a nice meal at Old Venice, a quaint Italian restaurant in Point Loma. We don't often venture out that way since it seems like the end of the world (in a way, it is, I guess) but I'm always glad when we do. Since Phil's Bar-B-Q is going to be moving over there, I guess we'll be over there a lot more!

Anyway, on Tuesday, in the midst of lots of half-done projects and self-imposed Stitches deadlines, I decided to start a new project that I didn't have yarn for. Smart, right? I had this itch to start Matador from the Fall 2006 Knitscene. It's a little bolero knit up on size 13 needles, so I new it would be a quick, instant gratification-type project. I'm using Freedom Wool in a plum color:

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I ran out of yarn right at the end, so I'll need to get some tonight at Knit Salon and finish it up, but I think it will be a cute something to throw on over a T-shirt with jeans or a sleeveless dress. The yarn is really, really soft and lovely and I love the finished product so far.

Last week, I also ordered some GGH Java on closeout over at Little Knits. They had it for about 65% off, and I couldn't resist. For years, I have wanted to make the Apricot Jacket from Rebecca 27. Looks like it's going to happen this spring, and I'm thrilled. Here's the color I chose:

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Now, I can't wait for spring knitting! But first, I have to finish my hourglass. Horror of horrors, though, I think I'm going to run out of yarn. Yikes! It's handpainted yarn, too. I'll be devastated if I do. I think that's why I haven't worked on it. I must soldier on, though.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Finished Fichu Photos

Over this weekend I pulled out
my blocking wires and got to the task of blocking Etheral Fichu. My Fichu is not very large, but is big enough for me, especially since I was sick of it. I used less than 2 balls of Misti Alpaca lace weight yarn in black using size 3 addi turbos. The shawl is knit from point up.
By the way, yes, I do allow Isis (my cat) to sleep near lace blocking. She has been good and not gone ONTO the blocking lace, so why fight it?
Sorry that the photos aren't great, the first was taken with my cell phone and the second at the office in a camera with barely any battery life left, but if you look closely you can see the blocked stitch pattern.
My photographs are especially pathetic given the fact that I enjoy photography....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Grove Sale

This weekend, the Grove, my LYS, had a winter clearance sale with some yarns 50-70% off. Nice stuff, too. Big Wool was 50% off, Harris Tweed was 70% off. One of my favorite yarns, Rowan Wool Cotton was also 50% off, but there were only sweater quantities of a few colors that I didn't like, so I decided to buy some oddballs and see if I can make something fabulous out of them. I think the colors coordinate well. I have an awkward amount - not enough for a tank, too much for a hat, etc.

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Any ideas?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Crappy Photo Friday

The photo gods were not on my side today as I show you my knitting progress. On Wednesday, I spent much of the day knitting on my Rogue sleeve, getting it to the armholes, only to realize that it was awfully small. I had 30 stitches fewer than I was supposed to! It took re-reading the sleeve section of the pattern a couple of times to find my error. In the increase rows, I'm supposed to do 4 increases per row, not two. This mistake dates back to last spring when I started the sleeve. So, I ripped it back almost to the beginning and made it sit in a corner by itself.

Instead, I cast on for the sleeve for Hourglass and knit away, finishing the first one last night. You can see there is a lot of pooling happening as soon as I start shaping the sleeve, but it's much more noticeable in this photo, I feel, than it is in person. We'll see. I started the second sleeve and am about 5 inches into it.

I also made a small amount of progress on my Wavy scarf. I've finished 5 repeats and it's 34 inches long. At this rate, I will probably need 10 to get it a decent length. I'm hoping for 9, though, because it's starting to get old.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Finally Finished Fichu!

Ethereal Fichu is done, or at least, has been bound off and freed from the needles that had held it prisoner for the past x months (I can't remember when I stared that thing, I don't think it was a year ago, but I certainly could be wrong about that). I have no photos of Fichu to share though, it hasn't been blocked yet, so I didn't bother photographing it. By Tuesday I should have some blocked lace shots of Fichu.

With Fichu off the needles, I am left scrounging around for some knitting. I have only enough yarn for one winter sweater , a sweater that I will be designing with Christine (I do have some summer yarn, but it is fricken cold out, and I like wearing what I make as soon as it is done). No photos of that anytime soon (so far only swatches have been done). My Season of Darkness sweater is still waiting for more yarn, though I can work on the cabled edging. So, as I wait to buy yarn for another winter sweater, and/or for progress on my design, I am working on my Seasilk scarf. This is the motif. I think that I am going to do about half of it, then cut the yarn, leaving the stitches live, and make the second half and graft the 2 halves together so that the flowers travel in the same direction on both sides.
I have selected my next sweater pattern, now I simply have to order the right yarn and get it started!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hudson photos!

Finally...Hudson photos:

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A blurry shot of how the collar looks:

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Pattern: Hudson from Noro Knits by Jane Ellison
Size: Medium
Yarn: Big Kureyon, 7 skeins, color 18, I think
Needles: Size 10 Clover bamboo circulars
Date started: sometime in November
Date completed: 2/5/07
Modifications: A few. I know J had trouble with other patterns from this book because the armscye came out way too long. So, I measured myself and based my decreases on that. I also modified the body length. I'm not sure if it was longer or shorter than the pattern, but I did it to fit my measurements and desired length. I also completely changed the sleeve shaping. It's designed to be a unisex sweater to the arm increases were more toward the wrist. For a more fitted sleeve, I staggered them over the whole length. Edited to add: I also shortened the sleeves about about 3/4". I guess this also has to do with the fact that it's a unisex sweater. I also omitted the hood and made a shawl collar.
Overall thoughts: Obviously, I changed this pattern quite a bit to suit my tastes. I think it's a cute design though. There are several nice patterns in this book.

I'd like to thank Cora for helping me with the zipper again. It looked kind of sloppy when I asked her to secure the ends and she did an amazing job. It's very passable now. Overall, I'm very proud of this sweater.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Weekend Without Work

For the past 2 weeks or so I have had a project covering my desk, dominating my working time, taking over some evenings, intruding on my weekend. Because of this project I have missed several karate classes and, more tragically, lost knitting time. This weekend, despite having more work to do on this case, I didn't work, I knit. Then I knit some more.

I managed to finish the sleeves of the Nantucket Jacket. K's Sugar Plum cotton-ease seemed to work perfectly. Thanks K! I used one skein to make both sleeves and had a small amount of yarn left over from that skein. I attached the sleeves to the jacket, then I unseemed the center of the collar and re-did it, and then I picked up the cotton-ease that I had started with and did the crocheted edging

As a result of the knitting time, I managed to finish the whole jacket (well, except for weaving in the ends, and buying and attaching buttons) I am hoping that with proper buttons attached the sweater won't gape the way it does in this photo.

While I am not participating officially or unofficially in the UFO resurrection thing, I did resurrect Etheral Fichu. I did more repeats of the main pattern section, and a half a repeat less of the end repeat section. I am so sick of this shawl that I am going to knit 1 1/2 more rows then bind off the thing, call it done and block it. End of story.

Well, I have to return to work now. Have a good day!


Monday, February 05, 2007

Liar, Liar

I know, I said I was going to have photos of Hudson today, but today also happens to be Joe's first day of school. Even though he doesn't need to leave for school until I do, he's kind of a nerd, so he left an hour and a half before his class started. That means that my photographer isn't here to take the photos. Wednesday for sure, though.

Instead, I have pictures for you. I decided to use the Wavy pattern from knitty for my Silk Garden. It's a really great and simple pattern. The only problem is that it sucks up yarn, so I'll probably end up having to buy more more to finish it. Here's what I did while everyone else was watching football. I was watching the Monk marathon.

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I also received my yarn for Wicked, Araucania Nature Wool in Berry. I know it's a little hard to see with the black background, but the sun wasn't cooperating with me this afternoon.

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Finally, I'm unofficially participating in UFO Resurrection 2007. For January, my project was my Fiber Trends slippers. For February, it was Hudson. For March, it's going to be Rogue, a project that I've had lying around since last spring. I haven't worked on it at all since then. Before I abandoned it, I had the body completely done and a little bit of the first sleeve. I did about 27 rows on it today, and I'm feeling back in the swing of it. With any luck, I'll have it finished in time for Stitches. Since it's has a celtic cable, it might be an appropriate sweater to wear to my class. The yarn is Karabella Soft Tweed.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Don't Break Your Arm Patting Yourself on the Back

This is what my husband said to me today when I told him how clever and economical I was. I'll tell you what prompted that comment.

In a couple of weeks, I'll be heading up to Stitches West in Santa Clara, CA. I'm really excited about the trip - I've heard amazing things about the Marketplace and the classes - I'll be taking one on Celtic Cables. When the recent Magknits came out, I got inspired by the Peekaboo mittens. I don't have much call for mittens in San Diego, except the three or four times a year I REALLY wish I had them. But for those times, I'll be really glad I have something to keep my hands toasty. I could also use them for my trip to Stitches and the following boondoggle to San Francisco to visit a friend from college. Plus, the yarn (Jo Sharp DK wool in Viola) was a generous gift from wenders when she moved and was looking to destash. So, it wouldn't cost me anything.

This morning, I thought, since northern CA is much colder than southern CA, I should whip up a quick scarf and hat to match my mittens! So, I dug through my stash I found these odds and ends.

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Aren't they a perfect match? They're basically odd balls of yarn and leftovers that would otherwise sit there unused. So, that's when I told my husband how clever I was, which he clearly didn't appreciate! You'd think he'd be happy I wasn't buying more yarn. Anyway, I thought it was perfectly in line with everybody's efforts this year to buy less yarn and use up that stash.

I'm going to use the Coronet pattern from knitty and the Karabella Aurora 8 for the hat. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do for the scarf. Any suggestions of what pattern will show off the Silk Garden?

Happy Sunday everyone and enjoy the Super Bowl. Oh yeah, I'll have pictures of a finished Hudson tomorrow. I'm still putting the finishing touches on the zipper.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Closing in on the Finish Line

I have two sweaters on the verge of being completed. Only the absolute drudgery is left on either one. Here is one of them: Teva Durham's Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop d'Loop. I received the book as a gift recently and decided that this project was a good use for the Big Wool that I've had languishing in my stash for about a year.

Here's a really washed-out photo of it without the last sleeve. It hasn't been blocked either, so you can see some of the stitch inconsistency.

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Here's a closeup of the leaf detail:

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This shows a more accurate view of the color, too.


Thursday, February 01, 2007


Sorry no photos. I am back to working on the Fichu shawl. I am sick of working on this shawl, and have decided to call it close to quits. If the shawl is too small, so be it. It will be officially finished when I have completed 1 1/2 more row repeats. Almost there!

K kindly sent me some cotton-ease, which I got in the mail today. When I get home tonight (after karate) I will see how close the cotton-ease is to the body of my Nantucket Jacket. I also have 3 skeins of calmer to match the 4 skeins that I had at home. Now I just need to figure out if I want to go back to making the crochet cocoon shrug that I started to rip out, or something else.