Sunday, December 02, 2007

Just in Time

I finished two hats last weekend and just in time--we've got the first snowfall today. The original hat was supposed to be for my nephew who requested an alpaca hat after his family visited an Island Alpaca on Martha's Vineyard to get some yarn for me. I used a pattern from Knitted Gifts. Unfortunately the child's size was too small for him, so I made him a second hat using adult sizing. Much better.

My sister tried the first hat on my niece and it fit her, but the colorway was exactly "girly" enough for a 7 year old. She brought the hat to me and asked "Can you add some hearts and flowers and unicorns?" Well actually, I could handle the hearts and flowers with needle felting from AC Moore. But a unicorn? We're waiting for buttons from eBay for that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Need a Scarf for Winter
I can't find my winter scarves and gloves which is kind of unfortunate since the weather has turned. So I've started an entrelac scarf. I got the pattern at Stitches East and the yarn at my LYS--I'm using Noro Silk Garden. I just love the color variations. Not so sure about picking up all those stitches or the way it appears on the reverse side. I'm hoping blocking will smooth it out.
In other news, I'm going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. I usually cook because my sister and her family go to the parade and then they come back here. But since my knee surgery, I'm not able to keep up with all of that. I'm taking a pile of UFOs with me and spend a few days finishing them.
I really should come back and work on my home organization. I enjoyed the help of a professional organizer but she seems to misunderstand--I don't actually want to participate in this process beyond saying "yes" or "no." Well, things are too busy at work to worry about it so I'll ignore it and knit away. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Alpaca Hat for My Nephew
My sister has in-laws on Martha's Vineyard. I asked for alpaca yarn since I know there's a farm close to their house. One rainy day they visited the farm and purchased one skein of rich brown yarn. My mom is currently working on a hat for me.
Meanwhile, my nephew, who is 10, very very bright and a really nice young man too, asked for an alpaca hat for himself. He didn't really specify style or color however my sister was very clear--the hat needed to match his black ski jacket. So off to my LYS I went. I picked up several skeins of Frog Tree Alpaca in sport weight. I started with two strands of black then switched to black and charcoal. Then two strands of charcoal. I think you can see the variations if you look for them in the photo. Next will be a strand of charcoal and a strand of flannel grey, then two strands of flannel and then flannel and ecru, if the length is short of what I need. The decrease rows with be red, perhaps with thinner stripes in reverse order. I hope to finish it before Thanksgiving so I can give it to him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back in the Groove
My knitting progress seems to ebb and flow...I'm not sure why although I suspect it's related to how much pressure I'm under at work. I think one of my New Year's resolutions needs to be to channel the energy and anxiety more productively--whether it's knitting, writing or another craft. I had signed up for the NaNoWrite November novel writing challenge. The goal was to write about 1700 words per day so you end up with a full length work at the end of the month. Well, here it is, November 18 and I've written 87 words in total. My TMJ is raging these days; I've seen a new dentist referred me to an oral surgeon who uses Botox to help relax the jaw muscles. Worth a try, I imagine.
I also bought the special stop-snoring pillow from Brookstone since I've been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. I'm hoping this helps improve my level of fatigue, especially because I don't want to repeat the sleep study using the CPAP machine (this is a whole OTHER story).
The good news is that I'm rev'ving up and have made some headway on a couple of key items. This project will be a sweater for me. It's baby alpaca knit in a K6 P2 pattern. I'm actually designing the sweater based on the lessons I learned from Sally Melville and Lorna Misner at Stitches East. And, to tell the truth, I'm designing it around the buttons--I got the buttons at Stitches Midwest back in August. The yarn has been in my stash for a year or so--it was originally intended to be part of an afghan but I had so many different gauges going on, I divided up the yarns for other projects. Hopefully I'll have enough for sleeves too, otherwise this will be a nice vest. I'm using a modified set in sleeve from Lorna's class which should make seaming a whole lot easier and the lines smoother.
My parents visited today. My mom had been joking that she wasn't going to buy any new yarn until we worked through my stash. She had made a cardigan for my niece but the sleeves were too short. She said she was going to use bulky yarn and I happened to have pink chunky baby alpaca in the stash. I'm not sure what she'll do with it because she thinks it's too dear for a child's sweater. It was with very little regret that I deleted the photo of the yarn from my stash folder. She's also going to try the Christmas stocking hat pattern I picked up at my LYS "The Skein Attraction." I'm generally a loose knitter, but have been increasing sizes and still can't get gauge. Hopefully she'll have more luck.
I've found two new patterns for which I may need additional yarn. So far I've been very good about NOT ordering more--I still have more stash organizing to do and hope to uncover some suitable candidates. Although I'm making an entrelac scarf with Noro Silk Garden and I love it......
One funny story. The Professional Organizer I'm working with suggested that I finish one project before starting a new. I laughed and said "You're not a knnitter, are you?"

Friday, November 09, 2007

When's the Anesthesia Wearing Off?

Ever since I had my knee surgery, I've had a very short attention span, little interest in knitting (or food) and a craven desire to sleep. It's been 10 days! I should be over this, shouldn't I?

I have so many projects I want to work on--I need to finish that novelty spiral hat and the entrelac scarf because it is getting cold here. I also want to work on the Elsbeth Lavold cashmere collar I picked up in Dallas and a couple of the other hats from Stitches. And there is a very pretty sweater in the newest issue of Cast-On that I want to start on. It's knit 3 rows, purl 3 rows so I think it's the perfect commuting pattern. I'm just trying to make sure I stick to stash yarn for that.

I'm a little depressed being so far behind on the SOTS and Mystic Water KALs. I haven't even made a dent in my cable knits either. And one of those projects includes some yummy cashmere.

I tried to talk my mom into sewing the Tilli Tomas sweater together...we'll see what happens with that.

Oh, well. I'm hiring a professional organizer to help me straighten things out at home--perhaps that will be the boost I need.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mystery Swap!!!
It's Christmas in November. My mystery swap gift arrived last week but I couldn't retrieve it until my parents kindly ferried me around to run errands while my knee recovers. What a wonderful surprise. The themes I gave were cats, spa and holidays. All my gifts were individually wrapped in Christmas paper and how wonderful they are! Tofutsie sock kit and some lovely Regia--it's a black/gray mix which matches everything I wear. There were needles, darling holiday stitch markers and stockings filled with candy and a holiday bracelet. There were also a Christmas ornament to knit myself and reindeer antlers--my Swap partner could not have possibly known that I typically wear some kind of holiday headband when decorating for the holidays. Well, there was also a lovely CD of holiday tunes to listen to while I knit away. Everything was so thoughtful and creative and a lot of fun. My dad teased me that he was relieved there was yarn in the package because he was worried I didn't have enough (LOL). Can't wait to get started...neither can Indie, as you can see.
Meanwhile, I have gotten started on an alpaca vest I designed myself. It's actually pretty simple--button down with a K2 P2 rib and then a K6 P2 pattern. I bought great porcelain buttons that look like cats a while book--this will be a great showcase. It's going pretty quickly (of course I started today and didn't have anything else on my agenda) so I'm excited about this too. Photos to follow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Few Too Many Trips to the Frog Pond
I haven't made much progress on my projects. I've been busy at work and had knee surgery earlier this week. Unfortunately, too, I ordered some extra Zanziba and Fandango for my sweater and instead of Tapis, they sent me Lapis. Have to get that straighted out.
I've been bouncing from project to project. These include the Secret of the Stole--I ripped out both points and have begun again. And the Mystic Waters KAL--thank goodness for lifelines. I'm using Koigu for that. I have a gift certificate to a LYS in Manhattan which I could have used and my LYS in NJ has recently begun to offer it. I love the variations in color. But I'm having difficulty with the pattern.
I have been working on the spiral novelty hat I picked up at Stitches. I had to rip out some of that because the some of the novelty yarn was difficult and I ended up with too many stitches. Now I've misplaced the direction--this is what happens to me when I try to get organized! I lose track of things. To ensure I'll really have a nice warm hat for the winter, I've ask my mom to make me a hat from the alpaca my sister brought back from the Vineyard. Which reminds me, I need to get started on the hats for my nephew and my niece. Oh my!
And I've started the feltable snowman project--I actually picked that up at Stitches Midwest--it's fairly easy to do. I figure I need to get started on holiday ornaments if I want to make enough of them to decorate a tree (albeit a small one!). Hopefully I'll have more energy this weekend. I need to finish sorting my needles and log them and the rest of my stash on Ravelry. OOOh, and I mailed my Mystery Swap gift--can't wait to see what comes in the mail for me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm a Swatching Maniac

Okay, I don't like knitting swatches any more than anyone else but I appreciate how this can prevent future problems--like hating the whole thing after it's done and sewn together. So I'm swatching some of the yarns I have before I get started.

But I'm not getting gauge. I usually have to go down one or two needle sizes from what's suggested to get gauge, but now I find myself going up in size. And I don't necessarily like the density of the resulting fabrics. This means I've been spending more time thinking about the knitting than actually knitting things.

I still haven't made much progress on yarn and needle organization which is unfortunate given how messy everything looks, but since I've been approved on Ravelry, I have a good process to go through.

I'm also having trouble prioritizing which projects I want to work on--it seems I love all my "children". I recognize the value of variety so I know I definitely need to have more than one WIP available to me. I'm trying to bucket them in terms of degree of finish, degree of probability of getting finished, yarn weight consistency the weather and my overall interest in the project. Then I'm going to have to put a lot of the yarns, patterns and needles AWAY.

I finally found a project I can be excited about for my Mystery Swap partner--I had the ladies from my LYS involved and they had great ideas. I'll have to get that off this weekend--I'm having knee surgery on the 29th and may be less mobile after that.

I also bought some Noro Silk Garden for an entrelac scarf that reminds me a lot of the Lady Eleanor stole. I have to go down a needle size or two so I ripped back, but it's been fun. It will go well with the spiral novelty hat I picked up at Stitches.

Photos of all these fine projects will follow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why, oh why?

Work is overwhelming. I've worked until 3 AM several days this week so I can't knit during the day, or night. Started the spiral hat from Stitches. Haven't made any progress on the SOTS or any of my other project. Oh well.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Greetings from Stitches East

I arrived late on Thursday. I unfortunately missed the class I had scheduled but it was an easy trip from NJ by train. Had a nice steak and crab cake dinner and watched some TV and got ready for the next day.

I took a full day class on Friday--You can design your own sweater! Really! It was taught by Lorna Miser, who is the Lorna of Lorna's Laces. There was a lot of math but I got a lot out of it. I have a terrible habit of not reading, or perhaps understanding, the class descriptions and instructions so I didn't bring the yarn I was planning on using but I did have some yarn for today's class, so I used that and went through the exercise--I imagine I'll be able to work my way through it again. I've got some really soft baby alpaca I can use--it's beige which is kind of boring but I've previously purchased some large ceramic buttons that look like a Siamese cat and they will all go well together.

Today's class was Concentration on Color with Brandon Mably. I'd met a woman in the bar of my hotel yesterday who told me she walked out of the class last year so I was nervous. I've never done intarsia or fair isle so I had a lot of problems joining colors and carrying it too but I stuck with it. I bought Brandon's book--there are illustrations on color techniques in it and some really nice patterns too.

I need more yarn like a whole in the head so I've been resisting. I did, however, buy yarn and patterns for 3 hats. One of them is a spiral pattern--you use two skeins of Noro and you do 6 rows in stockingette and then 6 rows of reverse stockingette with the Noro and a novelty yarn--there are nine different novelties! It's going to be so wild. The other two are more sedate and will match my shearling and my mink--both are dark brown.

I picked up some Touch Me in a dark green for my green striped cardi--I wanted that for the wrists and collar. I also got some green Lurex thread and Trendsetter Dune from Great Yarns. I got some green beads from Twisted Sister too.

I've got my eye on some cashmere from Hunt Valley...I'd like the red if it were thicker. Thought about beading it for the holidays. I've also picked up a lot of patterns which can help me work my way through the stash.

The most exciting things I found have been shawl pins--I got a starfish for myself. There was also a stickpin topped with crystals--it looks like a crystal sea anemone. I picked up a couple for Christmas gifts.

But the best find was about two seconds before the market closed tonight. I was at the Yarn Barn buying patterns and was looking for something for the Mystery Swap I signed up for...the themes I got for my swap partner were turtles, moose and gnomes. I have to admit it's been difficult--I found a pattern for a knitted gnome, but its only available from the UK and they haven't answered my email yet. I looked for buttons but no one had anything close. I've even asked the ladies from my LYS to think about it--they have some great ideas I can check out when I get home, but I found the perfect pattern just as the market closed. Can't say anything more...she may be reading this. LOL

One more class tomorrow. It's a Sally Melville class on First Choices. I'm looking forward to it. Then it's back to reality. I'll have to work all the way home and into the evening. But the fun here was worth it.

I have to plan my knitting schedule now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Slow Going Again

I don't know what the barrier is but I can't seem to finish things. I did finish the second sleeve for my Disco Lights sweater but haven't sewn it together. I have several baby sweaters I need to assemble because they are gifts--I even bought a blocking board. I also have some hats that need crowns and then need to be felted. What am I waiting for?

I started the first point of the Secret of the Stole on Friday night. That went well. However, I went to my local meetup on Saturday and ripped back several times. I picked it up again on Sunday and am still have problems with the second point. Time is getting away from me--I don't want to fall too far behind!

I picked up the new cotton wool shell I started so I am making progress on something.

Off to Stitches East on Thursday. I'm taking Round Up on Thursday, a design class on Friday, a color class on Saturday and First Choices with Sally Melville on Sunday. I can't wait. I really like taking these classes because I'm engaged both mentally and physically and can't dwell or worry about other things, so it's a real escape for me. And being out of town is a real plus too--I love not being responsible for anything but me sometimes. I won't even have to feed the cats. Just get up, get ready and go to class.

I've printed out information about Baltimore and will choose some restaurants tonight and tomorrow. I'm back on Weight Watchers although I've switched to the Core Plan, which is new for me. I've promised myself I'll do preplanning on food choices so I keep to the plan.

Got to pack.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

At Last!

I finished the second sleeve on the Disco Lights sweater while traveling to Minnesota. And then I started on my cotton wool shell. Now I need to find the rest of the yarn and I need to block some of the baby sweaters I've done. Have to decide whether to have the Disco Lights sweater finished professionally. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Excellent Progress
The striped green thing is coming along. Of course, I was an 1-1/2" past the armhole shaping before I measured, but I figure it's okay because I'm tall.
Went to my local LYS today to get enough Frog Tree Alpaca to make the Secret of the Stole project.
Naturally, I needed to get enough yarn for a shell. My original idea was to get something for which I can use the beige Tilli Tomas Disco Lights and Aura combination--the combo as the front and something metallic for the back. I ended up with Rowan Wool Cotton for a shell but two different sales people helped me, so what I've ended up with is a pattern and enough yarn for a boatneck pullover. I'll have to see how that goes--it's on #4's which is pretty slow going for me.
The coup of the day was finding a really really cute stocking cap knit in Christmas green and trimmed with a red metallic "garland" and buttons to represent the lights and ornaments. I hope my younger niece likes it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Secret of the Stole

I finished my swatch yesterday! I ended up using Frog Tree Alpaca in a Wedgewood blue and #4 needles. Had to rip back several times. I will definitely be using a safety line once I begin the project. I will block it tonight and upload a photo of it soon--my first (intentional) lace!

Taking a hard look at the stash tonight. I feel like I have to prioritize my projects and start getting way more productive. There are at several projects that are almost done. These include three hats--one for my sister and one for Gicell, a colleague at work--they're both feltable; the third is a cashmere hat for me. I just need to finish the rounds on DPNs. There's a vest for my older niece, a shrug and three baby sweaters. And since people are having their babies now...a former work colleague had a beautiful baby girl in August and a former client just had her own lovely girl. Got to get cracking...

I think I'll be more motivated now that the weather here on the east coast has gotten cooler. I keep hearing it's going to warm back up but I don't know. I love the cool brisk day and cooler nights snuggled under a warm and toasty comforter. Someone had their fireplace burning last night--it smelled so good. I'll need one of the three throws I have in progress soon! First there's a big thick throw made from stripes of Biscuit and Cookie Rowan Biggy Print (I think I'm knitting this on #35s!). Then there's a cable throw made from Big Wool--I think the panels alternate Latte and Sandstone (I'm recycling from another project). And the last is my log cabin throw.

Friday, September 14, 2007

In a Slump

I'm half a sleeve away from finishing my Tilli Tomas Disco Lights sweater. And I still have half my stash on my dining room table, waiting for a photo op and to be stored away. I don't know what's wrong...nothing is getting done.

I stopped at a LYS in Ho-Ho-Kus and got some fingering weight yarn and needles to try to swatch the Secret of the Stole. I haven't done lace before--I'm a little worried about the yarn overs. I think I'll do it without beads for the first try. However, the yarn is still out in the car and needs to be wound.

I also have a WIP for a friend from work that needs help. She lost the pattern. I'm recreating it and need to rip back two or three rows--someone started plain stockingette right in the middle of the diamond pattern. I'll try to get that done this weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Cupcake
I've finally finished the cupcake from One Skein. My niece has been asking for it for almost 2 years! We had gone to a LYS in Cape May, NJ and she chose pinks and a big heart-shaped button for the top. It's taken me that long to get the base done. Then I did several "toppings". Finally decided to use white to contrast the pink. I used several strands of different yarns including Aura to give it some sparkle and "umph.' Hope she likes it. I had reservations about how the top fit on the base but think it looks cute (most of the time--sometimes I think it looks like a mushroom).

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I've been cataloging all the projects I'm working on. Here are a few... Clearly I'm partial to pink. From the top you see:
1. Manos sweater for me
2. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino ribbed sweater for my nephew (which I'm sure won't fit!)
3. Rowan white cotton baby sweater (original baby too big to wear it)
4. Butterscotch Novelty--I ordered the yarn online and HATED the color when I got it. I bought lots of different novelty yarns to "kick it up"
5. Pink Silk Tank--I forget if this is silk wool or silk cotton but the armholes are too deep--I need to rip it down to the armhole shaping...
6. Pink Top Down Sweater--using Brown Sheep for the Ready Set Knit knit-along. Got stuck at the sleeves
7. Rowan silk cables--this is gorgeous
8. Black alpaca--the pattern was customized for me based on a designer pattern
9. The back of a yellow cotton tank
10. The back of a white cotton tank
11. DK wool baby sweater of checkerboard
12. Brown velour mobeius "scarf"--all I have to do is sew the ends in...
PS: the red alpaca felted hat decidedly NOT work out. Back to the drawing board.
Slow Going

Last night was devoted to the green striped sweater. I was able to work my way up through six yarn changes. The idea is that after every six I'll put in a few rows of either Trendsetter Aura or the camel colored beaded yarn. My original idea was to work in groups of 3 different yarns in a 4/2/4 row stripe pattern. But the second group I used must have been light worsted v. worsted or thicker so the fabric isn't as dense as it is below, so I stuck to 2/2/2 rows. Hopefully this won't make a difference.

I'm using the fact that I spilled a bottle of water on a whole bunch of things as an excuse to not work on the Tilli Tomas sweater--there's only one sleeve to go. So much for the positive momentum for finishing!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I finished the gray bag for my sister. It still needs to be felted and the handles have to be sewn on and I started messing around with a plastic form to give the purse shape, but it's done.

I also made a good dent in the base of the cupcake for my niece. I hope to get that finished tonight. Still thinking about what to use for the top. That should go way faster...we'll see. I have plenty of "chores" to keep me busy this week.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Organizing the Stash

I pulled out all my yarn with the intention of organizing it months ago, but it's been laying around in a barely controlled mess. I took the opportunity to get started this weekend. I decided to put the cottons and lighter weight projects in less accessible storage and store the works in progress or near to progress more accessibly. Unfortunately my knee seized up halfway through and I had to stop. My parents came to visit and needless to say I was in for some pointed comments about too much yarn. They're going to Ireland and I asked for Irish merino--fat chance!

The good thing about this exercise is that I'm taking inventory and cataloging all the fiber and projects I have going on. Today's goal is to make a concerted effort to be realistic about what I'll do and to donate "extra" yarn.

My LYS was open yesterday. I ran up there for some DK wool for the Christmas ornaments and got some luscious alpaca in red, green and white.

I also got alpaca yarn for a hat for my nephew--they went to an alpaca farm on Martha's Vineyard and bought me a skein of coffee brown for a hat for me. I'm going to experiment with stripes for him. We went with DK weight so it will be nice and soft. I really wanted to use Noro but it's so scratchy.

And I bought some Zara and Kidsilk Haze to make a cupcake from One Skein for my niece. I promised her a cupcake more than a year ago and she asks for it every once in a while. I made the first base yesterday but the join was kind of sloppy looking so I'll try again today. I need to work on making the top bulkier--yesterday's experiment wasn't wide enough.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fiendish Feline Faux-Pas

I was knitting away on my third try on the Zanziba/Fandango sweater and knitted up to the end of the Fandango in the middle of a row. This was shocking because there's plenty of yarn left. First I checked to see if I picked up the tail, but I didn't. Then I reattached the loose ends. It was soggy. It seems Indie wanted to "help." Bless his little heart.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Frogs are Calling,

I was moving along on the Zanziba/Fandango sweater and stopped to measure (recall I did do a gauge swatch!) and the piece was almost 3" wider than it should have been. So I frogged it and started again on a size 10 needle and used the medium size rather than the large. My gauge on that is too small. So tonight I'll start again using the 10 1/2 size needles and the medium pattern. We'll see what happens.

Zanziba and Fandango Arrived
I ordered some Colinette yarn while I was at Stitches Midwest. I had seen the sweater knitted up at TKGA and kept obsessing about it. Fandango is the multicolor cotton--it's a little fuzzy. Zanziba is wool and viscose--it's the bluish stripes you see in between. I'm using 10-1/2 needles which is interesting--I usually have to go down a needle size or two because I'm a loose knitter but I get gauge on the recommended needles with this yarn (I'm making a different sweater with the throw kit that Colinette sells). This is full and satisfying because it knits up fast. I did the gauge swatch and started knitting last night. No, of course I haven't finished anything in the meantime.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lazy Weekend

I didn't do much this past weekend, which is how I like to spend my time. Of course, there will be a lot to catch up on this week, but it should be manageable (I know, famous last words!). I was able to finish one sleeve of the Disco Lights sweater. Unfortunately, there's no way I can finish the sweater without another skein. I went online to order one and the color matches look amazingly off. Took it on faith and ordered anyway--I'd have to make several phone calls to find which LYS carries it and then there's the danger of finding a new project.

Which happened last week. I was in Philadelphia on Friday and had four hours in between meetings. I had a list of three yarn shops and visited the second one on the list to find DK weight feltable wool to make Christmas ornaments based on the Two Old Bags patterns I bought at TKGA. They had not turned over their stock for the fall yet so they didn't have DK. I ended up with a red ball of wool and cashmere and a skein of sock yarn and some beads along with a new hat pattern and needles. I'm making the hat on #1 needles. Very very tiny for me. But I love knitting the beads in!

I have regular room lighting in all my rooms, even in my guest room, although the lights over wall mounted over head in there so the light shining directly down is easier on the eyes. So I printed out my 40% off weekly coupon for AC Moore and went to buy a table sized Ott lamp. It's got a magnifying glass which should help although I'm not sure how convenient this placement will be--I really wanted a floor model with an adjustable neck but didn't see any and given how expensive this one was, I probably should work with it a while before buying anything too dear. Can wait to try it out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Market Squares
Here's the work in progress. I am enjoying the entrelac.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Green Striped Sweater

Here are the new yarns I bought to supplement the new striped sweater. You can't see the detail in the camel stripes but there's a little sparkle and beads. The pattern is from Tricoter Simply Beautiful Sweaters.
Not much progress on any of my projects. Too much work last week, and then had a happy weekend celebrating my grandfather's 100th birthday. But I'm up to Tier 3 on the Market Squares bag and I got a new camera--I think the colors on these photos are much better than the previous ones, don't you?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Indecent Obsession(s)

I’ve been working on the sleeves for my Disco Lights sweater during my commute either to NYC or to Philadelphia and then working on the new striped sweater in the evenings. My obsession with matching the stripes in the front and back resulted in a trip to my LYS for more yarn. Twelve new, patterned or novelty yarns to add to the stash yarn I was using for this project! Kind of ridiculous, I know. I have to keep reminding myself I’m not alone and this type of behavior is not unusual among knitters.

Last night I decided that the lighting in my house isn’t good enough to see the stitches using the dark green colorway I’m knitting with, so I picked up the market square bag. I had already made the top and seam so last night I completed the first tier.

This is probably why I never finish anything.

Now I have to choose some yarn, needles and a simple pattern to teach one of my nieces to knit this weekend.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eight Weeks Until Stitches East

I had to change some of my classes for Stitches East because I signed up for the exact same ones at Midwest. Well, at least I'm consistent. I'll be taking top down knitting, sweater design and a color class.

I looked at the supplies needed and homework assignments--only one of my classes requires homework--yippee! This is good because despite my best intentions, I end up frantically knitting homework swatches during my other classes.

Speaking of intentions, I really wanted that Tilli Tomas sweater finished in time for Midwest and that passed me by. Then I thought, well, I'll finish it while I'm in Chicago--no go (I was knitting swatches for classes). Would really like to get it done by the end of this week so I can wear it to my grandfather's 100th birthday party (Happy Birthday, Pop-Pop) but that's unlikely because I've been obsessed with a new sweater design.

I took the yarns I was using for my Stashology 201 class and have begun a sweater (I'll have to get back to you on the designer and details). I liked the randomness of nature idea from the class, but could not reconcile myself to all those knots, so I'm making it striped. This may have been a mistake because now I'm obsessing over having enough of each yarn so the front and back match. I'm also now thinking 4 rows of Aura might have been a mistake. Ah, well.

If I ever get around to organizing and storing my stash instead of having all the open boxes line the walls of my bedroom, I'm going to put away "summer" weight projects and concentrate on the woolens. Not that I'm rushing the season!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Judy's Booty from Stitches

I love shopping. I especially love shopping for yarn and yarn related accessories. I bought some more Tilli Tomas Disco Lights, this time in a cream-ish color and some Trendsetter Aura in Parchment. I will knit these together into something--right now I'm thinking scarf but I didn't like the swatch I knit in garter stitch and I don't like the reverse side of stockingette in a scarf. So this will require more thought.

I went to the demo on embellishments at the Market and loved what the ladies from Coldwater Collective were showing. I wanted their hat pattern and was a little embarrassed to learn what they showed were tea cozies. Ooops! I bought the felted snowman kit and an extra ball of Aura so my snowman will glitter. If that works out well, I'll order the hat patterns for the snowman--these were incredibly darling little boaters and other hats for all seasons.

I also ordered the Christmas ornament patterns from Two Old Bags--these were so cute and they had them artfully hung on a string around their business desk--they obviously were VERY popular because they were sold out by the time I noticed them.

Speaking of ordering, I originally met The Needle Lady at TKGA in New Hampshire. She had a sample sweater in her booth that I just loved--it's made of Colinette Zanziba and Fandango (love the yarns and the names). I search The Market for something similar and was disappointed until Saturday when I took the vendor's guide and looked around for anyone selling Colinette--I hope I didn't frighten the poor woman when I found her because I got so excited...she was very patient with me as I tried to narrow the colorway I wanted--she'll ship me my skeins...very exciting and I only had to pack the pattern book for the trip home.

The other interesting things I purchased were buttons for the Coral Sap Disco Lights sweater, WIP tubes that hold your DPNs for sock knitting and other projects and some mesh frames for purses. Which reminds me, I have to get the purse I'm knitting for my sister out of the trunk of my car. She got taken to the emergency room last week (nothing serious, thank goodness!) and I spent my time there unraveling the mess some unnamed cat made of it (LUCY!).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Swatches from Stitches
I was away four days and Indie had a grand time sniffing everything I brought home with me. Here's a swatch from Stashology 201. My camera doesn't do the colors justice. After comparing my swatch to my classmates', I decided I need to incorporate more novelty yarns--some more bling will be just the thing to take it to the next level. I have some Trendsetter Aura and Kidsilk Haze in greens and some ribbons I was going to use in a scarf--they can kick it up a notch. Now I have to apply my Advanced Design skills and come up with a pattern. And I have to hide the swatch from Indie--he was suspiciously interested in the loose ends. And I have to look for a missing ball of Manos. There was a label for a dark green skein in the bag of oddments I took for class but no yarn. Lucy was suspiciously interested in that...
Stitches Success!
I took two finishing classes at Stitches. These photos are from today's class, The Joy of Finishing with Chris Bylsma. I'm still working on picking up stitches neatly but I really like the buttonholes. And check out the seam joining a "sleeve" to a "body" in my swatch--I used bright pink yarn for the seam and you can't see it. I also have to give credit to Joan Schroder's class Finishing: The Grand Finale for learning the Kitchener stitch and grafting the day before I did these. I "got" some techniques easier than I did other--for example, I could graft off a front and a back needle but made a complete mess of grafting ribs on four different needles. I undid all the stitching and almost saved the swatches to try again on my own, but needed space for new yarns. In the meantime, I have these samples to pin on my wall.
Stitches Midwest

Just got back from Stitches Midwest which was held in Rosemont, IL--it's right near O'Hare. I blame Expedia for the fact that my hotel was far away from the convention center, but I met two lovely women, Marsha and Beth, who graciously gave me a lift to and from the convention center for classes.

Let me start from the beginning. I was delayed getting there on Thursday--work again!--so I missed the first half of Advanced Design Techniques. My hotel was in the middle of nowhere but I was lucky to find Nick's Fishmarket, a terrific seafood restaurant, for dinner. Ahi tuna sashimi, clams casino, a great steak and fine merlot made for a wonderful first night in Chicagoland.

Classes started at 8:30. First thing I noticed was the wizards. Wizard World was also being held at the convention center. I didn't see many wizards per se but there were a lot of Star Wars Imperial Troopers and all manner of sprites and Goth chicks. Interesting. One of my classmates said one of the wizards thought a knitting convention was "weird." Ah huh.

Advanced Design was taught by Barry Klein--a great teacher and an excellent designer. I was a little bit behind the curve because I missed Part One, when the class took measurements and worked on personal designs and because I don't have a vocabulary for clothes construction. I did like discussing the new fashion trends and how they can be adapted for knitting projects. I was so inspired when I got to the market...

More about Stitches later. I need to find batteries for the camera so I can post my swatches and the great yarns I bought.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pilgrim's Progress

As usual, I had an overly ambitious plan of action scheduled to attack the chores I need to do around the house. Every waking hour was allotted to some task revolving around folding clothes, storing clothes, storing yarn, finding yarn projects and doing my personal as well as professional finances (I have to do my expense reports or I'm going to Debtors Prison). I did errands on Saturday, then sort of collapsed. And yesterday I slept until 10--this is unheard of for me but since I worked until 2 AM on Friday, probably not unexpected.

I worked steadily until around 2 PM, then took a shower, fully intending to go back to work. I had allotted an hour for "spa" activities, which includes face and hair masks and body scrubs and self tanner. I started a felted purse for my sister while I waited for the self tanner to activate. Then I went to the movies. I liked The Bourne Ultimatum--I always considered Matt Damon to be too young for me but he's grown up very nicely. That was a nice respite despite the women on both sides of me text messaging throughout the movie and the man behind me kicking my chair.

This is why I'm a fan of Netflix. That, and the ability to knit throughout a movie.

I'm halfway through my homework for Stitches. Just hope I get to go according to new boss wants me to be at a new business pitch. He hasn't been including me in conference calls, creative reviews or other meetings, so maybe...or maybe it's wishful thinking.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It’s not me, it’s the stash

I am trying to get organized. Really.

Somehow my home exploded into abject disarray shortly after Christmas. It took me a long time to put the holiday decorations away and in the midst of this, decided to start organizing my closets, drawers and storage spaces. For a single person, I sure have accumulated a lot of stuff.

I’ve had a Fung Shei specialist in—while there have been no dramatic changes in my life, I have to admit the modest changes she suggested make sense in terms of funtionality, so I thought cleaning up would enhance my chi. However, as I embarked on this, I was unaware of the domino effect that ensues—moving anything anywhere requires me to move something else somewhere else.

Yes, I know, pruning would be a good idea...the whole house needs to be pruned, really, but that’s so taxing…and I like my stuff.

One of the benefits of this ongoing exercise has been a good look at my stash. It’s big. A little bigger than I thought. But almost everything in my stash is destined to become a specific project—I’m not hoarding anything just because I liked the yarn or just wanted it or it was on sale and I couldn’t pass it up.

I do have some fiber choices I’m not so hot on either because the reality of it doesn’t live up to my expectations in terms of stitch definition, general look and feel or the degree of difficulty in knitting it—they will be donated to a craft program as soon as school begins again. I know of one through my New York Sit and Knit group.

I’ve found projects I’d forgotten about completely and projects that the recipient has already outgrown even though I haven’t cast on a single stitch and there are projects I have to rethink because I’ve read ladies with figure types like mine should not wear bulky knit. Some of these can be repurposed and some require more thought.

Meanwhile, there are large Rubbermaid boxes lining the walls of my bedroom. I periodically lift the lids and admire the contents, petting some of the more luxurious fibers. Lucy, my other cat (that's her nesting on my bed), watches carefully for me to neglect to replace the top so she can steal a ball of yarn and completely unravel it. Isn’t it interesting how we all get some kind of pleasure from a single skein?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I consider myself a pretty smart person. I learn fast and have a tremendous capacity to multitask (they call it “bandwidth” these days). But one lesson I simply cannot learn is that I like ombre yarn in a ball and hate it when it’s knitted up. Why can’t I remember it? Why do I set myself up for the same disappointment over and over again? I have a strong appreciation for self-striping yarns these days, but those ombres…uh uh. Maybe I need to put a sticky note reminder on my credit card.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Progress? No progress....

I've been trying out different knitting podcasts to see which ones I should subscribe to and which ones are better off left unaired. I kind of liked Stitch Stud and his Bride--it's produced by a guy--I'm not sure of his name. Anyway, he adapted some kind of personality assessment to categorize the personalities of knitters. He proposed that there were four different kinds--I fell into the "deadline" category. I set deadlines for my projects, hoping this will motivate me to actually complete some of my WIPs. But this is difficult.

My mother used to listen to someone named Ralph Snodsmith on the radio. He had a gardening show and the theme song went something like "inch by inch, row by row, someone make my garden grow." I'd like to replace "garden" with "sweater". I keep knitting and knitting...and we're inching along. It's not like I'm knitting in the round.

So I've made a list of all my potential projects--they number over 50--and put together kind of a calendar that should be reasonable. Oh, I'm sure God is laughing somewhere.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Here are the photos--not particularly good quality for your get the idea. The stripes look better in the photo than they do in the actual piece, but you can't see the beads. It's a lovely fabric though, soft and drapes beautifully. The other photo is the Disco Light sweater. Look for the red arrow--that's Indie supervising production!
Probably not wearing anything knitted to Stitches

I can’t find the cable for my camera so I couldn’t upload photos of the projects I’ve been working on. I’m embarrassed to report that very little progress has been made on any one project. Oh, I did a lot of knitting over the weekend—just not on the same project. I’ve got half of the left front of the Disco Light sweater done and changed fiber on the chevron silk scarf—this next skein is a little thinner—no beads—hoping it won’t change the gauge. I tried swatching some cotton from Big Sky Alpaca for a beach hoodie pattern. I like the look of the stitches on a size 6 needle but get 16 st/4” and I need 15…should I risk it? I have lovely ebony circs in size 6.

Speaking of the Disco Lights sweater—I really have to get better at reading patterns all the way through. I made the right front first and missed the directions for buttonholes, so now the sweater will button wrong. Yes, yes, I know, almost no one will notice. But I’ll know. And now you do, too.

I pulled out a bag of different green yarns. I started the throw featured in one of the Yarn Girls Guide books a while ago, but stopped, oh, roughly 1/8 of the way through, when I realized I would have to weave in all those ends. Daunting. I am considering bringing these yarn to Stitches Midwest for my Stashology class—we’re going to design a vest using stash yarn. How useful. You should know I bought the book One Skein to help me work through my stash but ended up buying new yarn for a few projects.

Better get started on my Stitches homework.

Friday, July 27, 2007

This is Indie, or Indiana Jones as I sometimes call him--he's a very adventurous fellow.

He is my official Yarn Inspector/Taster. His duties include burrowing into my knitting bags, chewing the yarn (don't tell the vet!) sometimes while I'm knitting it and attacking balls of yarn like they are dangerous intruders in our home (I guess you never know when a skein of yarn will turn on you--and we've all had that happen, haven't we?).

I can't answer the question "what's on your needles" because there are so many projects in the works. While I haven't committed to soley knitting from my stash, I've been trying to finish things...I'm headed to Stitches Midwest on August 9th and think it would be nice to finally wear something that I've made with my own two hands, two sticks and some string. But Indie has not been having any of that lately--he keeps curling up in my lap which curtails my ability to knit comfortably. I sneak in some time on the bus and on the Acela when traveling.

My goal is to finish my Tilli Tomas Disco Lights cardigan--it's in Coral Sap, which looks pink to me--so I can wear it during my classes at Stitches. I'm also working on a scarf--it's a pink and brown ombre silk so it won't be too heavy for summer and --I'm playing with stitch patterns. Wondering if it can be lined? I love the front but don't really like the reverse side. I started a scarf with reversible cables over the winter--it's wool so that one is going to have to wait a while.