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.