Monday, November 10, 2008

Back from Baltimore

I've been tremendously busy of late. I changed jobs on October 1 and also signed up for several writing classes. Between work and my homework assignments, I haven't had much time to blog but will make an effort to bring this up to date especially since I've been working on many new projects.

I decided, perhaps too ambitiously, that I would make scarves and neckwarmers for everyone in my family and present them at Thanksgiving (which is, you know, two weeks from yesterday!). I've got three versions of neckwarmers for the ladies: a cabled design with ruffle from Elsebeth Lavold, a pattern from a recent holiday knit magazine (details to follow with photo) and simple circular knits. I'm using a silky blend (new yarn--need to update with the details) with two strands of Koigu for the ruffled neckwarmers--I did one with only one strand of Koigu already and it's okay but a little too short. I got Torino in bright red and greens for the magazine pattern--I have two darling buttons that look like candy cane stripes for the red and got red glass buttons for the green version. The simple neckwarmers are my own (extremely simple) design--I'm using Zara mixed with New Smoking for red and white stripes for one and red and white baby alpaca for the other. I bought some tiny red and green bells to knit into the second one for holiday cheer. I also have some fancy white yarn with little beads that look like snowmen already wound in for one of my nieces.

The scarves for men are going to be more challenging just because they need to be longer. I am making a seed stitch scarf with alternating colors of Frog Tree Alpaca for my dad. You start with 3 strands of color A for 5" then switch to 2 strands of A and 1 strand of B. Then 1 strand of A and two of B, then three of B, etc. I have red alpaca for my brother-in-law and green alpaca for my niece's fiance. And red wool for both nephews. I'm toying with the idea of red and green stripes--need to see how it goes.

I didn't really didn't buy much yarn at Stitches although I did get a kit to make needle felted elves for Christmas as well as molds for needle felting little shapes. I got roving in holiday colors and the molds are leaves and berries and snowflakes--you've picked up on the holiday theme, no doubt. I'm thinking of a red sweater for my youngest niece and embellishing it with these things--but I feel like gifting something like that on Christmas is a waste because the time to wear it is so short. Maybe I'll make it a Valentine's Day theme...

I did snatch up some nice black yarn that has silver flecks in it--knitted up into a shawl, it looks like there are spots of silver on it--very nice for evening wear and it's knit on BIG needles. I also got some new Colinette Zanziba and Fandango. I loved the sample but didn't realize that the pattern was One Size Fits Most. I ordered extra of each yarn (they are knit together) so I could size up a little but have gotten bogged down in the math. The pattern calls for size 19 needles. I'm a loose knitter in general and tend to go down two needle sizes for regular needles and at least one size down for the larger needle sizes. I don't like the look on #19s as it is too loose but can't get gauge on #15 and #17. I'll put that down for a while and focus on other things.

I got some beautiful sweater picks from the Great Yarns booth at Stitches to gift along with the neckwarmers and lovely beaded handles for a bag from the same place.

I had a hard time selecting classes for Stitches this year. There are several teachers who I enjoy very much--Melissa Leapman, Lily Chin, Chris Bylsma (sp?) and Gwen Bortner are a few. One of the things I've found is that the class description doesn't always accurately communicate what the class is about. For instance, last year I took a color class--I thought we were talking about theory and in reality it included intarsia knitting, which I do not know how to do, which frankly blew. So I'm pretty careful. I was signing up for a Saturday afternoon class with the same teacher as the class for Sunday morning. I'd never taken a class with her before and knew it was a risk and (unfortunately) threw caution to the wind and signed up anyway.

What a CRAB!!!!!!!

Our classroom was at the back of beyond and I was a few minutes late. She didn't greet me but was compelled to shriek at me to sit upfront. I don't know if you have ever been to one of these classes, but they are typically set up classroom style and in the manner of first come, first served, people spread out and move their chairs. I was not interested in sitting squished between two people who are already nesting or getting stuck by the table leg and sitting uncomfortably for three hours. And that was just the first three minutes.

After much consideration, I bagged the class Sunday morning and will eventually get around to sending Rick Mondragon a strongly worded letter about this experience.

We had incredibly gorgeous weekend in Baltimore and I set off for home at around nine in the morning; stopped in East Brunswick to pick up my coats that were in winter storage and drove right up to The Skein Attraction in Teaneck, my LYS. There, of course, I was greeted warmly. They were holding a copy of the new Mason/Dixon book for me and I bought more holiday yarn as well as some Manos to make the bag to match the handles I bought at Stitches.

I had seen a lot of ruffles at Stitches and wondered if there were an easy way to accomplish this. They came up with an awesome idea to use Touch Me in between the Manos to create that effect after felting. I'm so excited to see how this turns out. The colors of the beads on the handles are different shades of pink, black and maroon. The Manos is pinky maroon and the Touch Me colors are wine, a similar maroon-ish color and light pink. It might get a bit tedious because I have to increase 50% of stitches when I go from Manos to Touch Me then decrease those stitches when I go back to Manos and I'm going to do it three times. but I think it will be worth it. I ordered the mesh to put in the felted bag from the Yarn Lady today and still need to find someone to line the bag for me and attach the handles, but I'm excited--can you tell?

I'll try to get pictures up this weekend so show you what I've been up to.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Love Sparkly Things

Unfortunately I'm having a problem keeping track of my projects. I started this Artful Yarn shrug--it's brown silk mohair with beads and sequins, but I can't find it! Have to make my way through the piles of summer clothes set aside for the semi-annual closet turnover to try to uncover it as well as my pearls (yes, I'm on a roll--in a downward direction!).

So in the meantime, I started a bolero using Trendsetter Aura. I thought it was a beige color but it ends up being gray. I like it a lot and it's going fairly quickly. However, I only have three skeins and will need more. I haven't checked to see if the color is available--oh I like living on the edge. I'm going to need a metallic yarn in light worsted weight for the trim.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Fall

And where has September gone? I can't really say I've been excessively busy so I have no good excuse for not posting. To catch you up, I mailed the last package to my SP 12 recipient. I'm not sure she liked the last package--she never alerted me that she received it but did mention it on her blog. This time I gave her a hand-dyed purple nubby skein that would make a nice scarf, a skein of ombre sock yarn--I forget the name of it but I was intrigued because the fiber is impregnated with some kind of lotion that rubs off on the knitter's hands to moisturize them and then also moisturizes the feet of the wearer of the socks--so clever! I also put in a tiny skein of novelty yarn--it's beaded and purple. The yarn is rounded out with a purple tape measure, needle sizer pendant and some NYC souvenirs. I hope she likes it as much as I liked my SP 12 packages.

Actually, I LOVED my packages--every single one of them. The last package had some beautiful ombre fingering weight yarn and three (yes, I said THREE!) skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere--oh so beautiful. I swear I went and washed my face so I could rub them on my cheek--they are so soft and fluffy--I love them! There were also other goodies in the package, like a really nice knitting journal and some KnitPick needles and chocolate--a wonderful bar of Godiva chocolate that I ate on the spot and something very unusual--its called Brix. At first I thought it was a bar of soap because it comes packaged elegantly in a box. On closer inspection I realized that it is a bar of chocolate specially formulated to enhance the flavor of red wine. Now that is a wonderful idea, don't you agree? Thank you, Barb (sipknitter)!

Since I cannot ever work on just one thing, I have made some progress on my Rowan Cocoon pullover, the Tahki Bianca/Blue Sky Suri Merino cardigan and that (darned) Log Cabin blanket. I have also started a Snuggle for the Sit and Knit NY group, a hat for Hat Attack 2 and a neck warmer for the Sit and Knit NY exchange.

I love the neckwarmer--I had gotten the pattern in Dallas, TX a while ago and have some yarn to make it with, but never got the chance (or was motivated--I think I was daunted by the cables and ruffles involved). The woman I was assigned wanted cables so I found the pattern, bought some Frog Tree merino at Modern Yarn in Montclair, NJ and cast on. The cable is actually a "mock" cable so it was pretty quick to knit the main body. The first ruffle is knit on the bottom and then a second ruffle is knit along the cast on edge. I finished the first ruffle last night and picked up the stitches for the second ruffle and started working the increase rows early this AM. I'm a little confused because I picked up the 130 stitches on the RS but you're supposed to start on the RS--my fault for not understanding the instructions. So I had made it through four rows of the second ruffle and wanted to finish the last three and bind off at lunchtime today, but realized that I was making the ruffle backwards! So I ripped it back--luckily I just went down to the first row and didn't have to go through the pick up exercise again (that was a little tricky!). So I'm now where I thought I was this morning. Hopefully I can finish it this evening. The exchange meeting isn't until early October, but I do want to wash it and block it nicely. I'm debating whether to crochet on loops for buttons or not.

I have taken two classes at the Skein Attraction in Teaneck, NJ recently. The first one was to make a scarf with a reversible cable in Touch Me. I struggled a bit with the pattern on either side of the cable and realized I was working too loosely. Touch Me has a tendency to worm and even though I'm going to felt the scarf, it would be obvious. So that had to be frogged.

I did much better at the Charlotte's Web class. This is lace knitting using Koigu. I had originally bought yarn in blue colorways and tried making it on my own with limited success. I opted for new colors in an autumnal (browny-beige-greenish) colorway and with the wonderful instructions from Adina at Skein, was able to "get" it. I don't always pay close enough attention and have to do a lot of counting and tinking to ensure I have the right number of stitches but I am in love with it. The colors are gorgeous, if I do say so myself, and this is going to be a work of art (again, if I do say so myself).

The other things I'm excited about the new spiral hat I'm making myself with Kureyon and novelty yarn and the cardigan I'm going to make in Suri Merino in a gray colorway called Fog. I am toying with the idea of cat buttons--I have several that are rather small and each has a mouse dangling from it. I guess I have lots of time to decide since I haven't cast on yet.

And finally, I am dead. I received the death blow from my assassin in Hat Attack 2 yesterday. I have to say though that I am delighted. She knit it in brown and white which are excellent colors for me and the hat is large enough for me to wear (unlike the weapon I got in Hat Attack 1). Unfortunately for my assassin, redhead1968, I haven't made much progress on my hat so I'm mailing it off to her today so she can finish it and "off" my target. I have to say, I didn't mind getting killed when I got the hat!

Friday, August 29, 2008

More SP 12 Questions

The first question was something about your proudest knitting moment. For me, this was when I was showing my mother a spiral hat I knit with Kureyon and novelty yarns. She said "Your grandmother would be so proud of you."

The second question was about the best thing you ever received in the mail. This is a hard one. I love love love getting packages of yarn and chocolate and books and make up. I also like getting postcards and letters from people traveling, especially my nieces and nephews. I'm going to have to think about this some more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The first photo is the beginning of the hat for my younger niece--it's made of Kureyon which is a bit scratchy for a child but we'll see if she likes it. I selected this colorway because it's got a lot of pinks in it. She's a big big fan of pink. She has told me that red is the darkest pink. I'm not sure I agree but don't see the value of arguing that one!
We're all excited because my older niece just got engaged. What kind of knitting does one do for a bride? I'll have to do some research.
Meanwhile, I found a Rowan pattern book for Cocoon. I have two colorways in my stash and love working with it, however, the first project was going to be a lace knit lap throw and I couldn't get past the first 20 rows and the second one was going to be a cabled sweater but I got stuck on the "meandering" part of the meandering cable. There are plenty of really nice patterns inside and they are sized appropriately for me. You have to love that. I'm not sure which manufacturer I love more--Rowan or Blue Sky Alpaca. Luckily I don't have to choose!

Fall is Coming
I've been pondering the state of my wardrobe for the fall as well as the many, many WIPs I have stashed around the house. Inspired by a review of my knitting books, I pulled out some old old old Takhi Bianca yarn originally intended for a sweater for me. This was back in the day when I didn't understand the value of gauge and ended up with something ginormous and promptly frogged it and have been saving the yarn for something new. Sally Melville has a pattern called "not your mother's suit jacket" (or coat) in her Purl book and I've begun knitting away.
The pattern calls for a super bulky yarn mixed with a bulky yarn knit on a size 13 needle at 7 stitches to 4". Bianca is technically super bulky and I swatched it on 13s and 15s by itself and got about 9 stitches to 4" on both. Not sure how that is possible but off to the LYS I went. I went to Modern Yarn in Montclair, NJ. They are open Sundays, have very cool yarn organized nicely and the owners are very nice and helpful. I finally chose Blue Sky Alpaca Suri Merino to mix in--it's 60% baby suri and 40% merino. The color is called "fog"--a very pale gray. It's super soft and a little fuzzy (but not so much that I am picking pieces of it out of my mouth--I hate working with that kind of yarn). Anyway, it's luxurious--it actually says "Opulent meets orthodox."
I started knitting last night. You can't really see the suri knit it because it blends with the black, white and gray of the Bianca. You see a very faint haze right now--I'm wondering if that increases over time. In either event I love it. I'm winding up with a very stiff fabric. I'm making size Large which should be big on me, but I believe if it doesn't work out for me, it is beautiful enough for a gift. Look at the progress I made in one night! I have to admit my hands got sore but I love that there's so much progress. That's about 42 rows. I'm still on the first ball of suri and started the 4th ball of Bianca.
Truth be told, I ordered more suri in "Dusk" which is a charcoal gray, for a sweater for me. More on that another time. I also picked up some red and green Cascade for a holiday pillow I saw online and a ball of Kureyon for a hat I saw online that I'm trying to size for my niece.
Now for my confession. I did not finish a single item that I intended to complete during the Ravelympics. Not one. Never even looked at them. Had the best intentions. Planned and planned and planned to do it. Oh well. There's always 2012. I hear Michael Phelps will be there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

SP 12 Question 10

This week's question is: What Olympic event would best describe you knitting/knitting style? Is there a Stop 'n Start event? I actually signed up for the Ravelympics in the WIP Wrestling category and have not touched a single project that I registered in the event. I have, however, started a brand new project using Blue Sky Organic Cotton for a cardigan for me--I need to look up the pattern--I got a slew of new knitting magazines last weekend and have been salivating over the different styles.

And I made some progress on my Rowan Handknit DK top from BGK--it's a tank top. I'm very proud to announce I used short row shaping for the first time. I watched Cat Bordhi's video instructions on YouTube a few times before I went off on my own to do it. I think it turned out pretty well. Now I just have to keep's going to be time for woolens before I'm done!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I have the best SP in the world!

Seriously. I do. My August package arrived from Bram and it is spectacular! She remembered my birthday is this month and I think she went through my profile and found wonderful wonderful treats to honor each of my preferences. There's a book on dreams, a relaxation CD and scented candle plus some Chanel No. 5 (my favorite!), chocolate biscuits (it took a lot of willpower to not open the package last night), a 2009 datebook, a bookmark (I'm a big reader) and some clean linen scented potpourri. The yarn she sent is magnificent--some Malabrigo--that's something I have always wanted to try--I'm going to make a hat with it because the color matches my coats. It looked like Manos to me but is so so much softer--I kept rubbing it against my face (is that weird?). And then there is some baby alpaca called Fable--I had never seen it before. It too is oh so soft and I love the color. I'm thinking I should make a scarf with it--the color will bring out the color of my eyes.

I love it, Bram. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Finder's Keepers

I brought an aran scarf back from Ireland for my brother. My cat Lucy has adopted it for herself so I'm not sure it is ever going to make it to him. She's actually very shy and well behaved so it was a surprise that she kept pulling it down and wrapping herself in it--I couldn't catch a shot of that but I assure you, it's hilarious.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New SP Question

This week's question is about whether we have ever entered our knitting (or anything else) in the fair and/or would we ever consider it? No, I've never entered anything of mine in a competition for judging. I would however consider it. As you can see, I'm rather pokey in terms of trying to get a project done, but these days, my work is fairly nice. Perhaps not Stitches Fashion Show nice, but nice.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Aran Sweaters

These are awe-inspiring purchases from Ireland. I bought them in a store called Standun in Spiddal in the west--it's outside Galway City on the coast road to Connemara. As previously posted, the prices were great and the sweaters beautiful.

I got the scarf for my brother and the sweaters are for each of my nieces and nephews. There was a very helpful sales woman at the store, which was lucky because the sizes are exactly true because they are handknit sweaters. I think only one of these had the name of the knitter on the tag--how cool is that?

Recent Projects

I made good headway on a felted bag while in Ireland. People were so impressed with the project because of the ombre pattern--I'm using Manos for this. The actual production is monkey work--straight knit on circs which is why I brought the project--it was easy to pick up on the plane and bus.

I also made a little bit of progress on the Rowan ribbon shell. There's a close up of the Artful Yarn ribbon so you can see the colorway.

Monday, August 04, 2008

SP 12 Question 8

What is your favorite supper for a hot summer evening? This is a hard one. Ideally it would be a bowl of steamers enjoyed with a pint of cold beer on the patio of a seafood restaurant off the ocean. From a practical perspective, it is probably grilled steak and vegetables on my patio--I'm in a heavily wooded area and although its very shady, I get the late afternoon sun out there and the light is beautiful. It's pretty quiet around where I live and the river is in my backyard, so I still enjoy the water element.

In knitting news, I'm working on a shell for me (there's a surprise, huh?). The predominant yarn is Rowan Cotton Ribbon although I'm mixing in some ArtYarn fibers--they're all in the same colorway but different weights of silk--ribbon, plain silk and then silk with beads. I just cast on using my own measurements and we'll see what happens. I need to find another needle though--I'm using #6 ebony circulars and one of the joins isn't smooth enough--I keep having to tug which interrupts the rhythm once I get going. I'll photograph it later today.

I also have photos of my trip to Ireland last week. I searched far and wide for Irish wool and let me tell you, it was not easy. Apparently, most of their lamb and a lot of their fleece are exported and there are few mills left. I did get several skeins of brown worsted in a town called Doolin, where Irish is the main language. And I did find a nice kit for making an Aran sweater in a store called Standum in Spiddal--however, the kit was almost 40 Euros and a handknit sweater was almost 40 Euros, so I opted for the sweater rather than the yarn. I bought one each for my nieces and nephews and am now trying to design a sweater for myself. My last name is English in orgin and I'm trying to figure out what the elements of our family crest represent so I can find corresponding cable patterns to develop a pattern for our own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SP Question #7

What is(are) your favorite place(s) to knit? At the beach (notice a theme?) or in the living room in an upright chair. A nice comfy couch is always nice too. What supplies (besides yarn & needles) make the setting perfect for knitting? For me, a good glass of red wine in a Waterford double old-fashioned tumbler--less chance of spills that way.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

SP 12--Question 6

I seem to have missed question 4 (1) What yarn (that you don’t have/haven’t used) would make your stash “complete”? 2) What yarn do you never want to be without? so my count on questions is wrong.

My answers to question 4 are Cascade Venezia--I swatched some one the Stitch and Bitch cruise at the yarn tasting and just loved it. I haven't seen it in any LYS but will have to look it up to see who stocks it in my area. Not that I need to add to the stash!

It's hard to choose one yarn I wouldn't want to be without--I have so many favorites. Sincerely. It may be a toss up between Zara, Pure Merino and Cocoon.

So my previous post on question 4 should actually be labelled question 5 and now I will address question 6: What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/vacation? This is a hard one. It can't be too bulky or cumbersome to pack or to work on in transit (although I'm not known for being conservative in this regard). I generally will pack two projects--one small and portable like a baby sweater or a scarf and one larger project, like a sweater or top for me. My biggest fear is finishing the project before I return home and have nothing to work on during travel time, so I tend to overpack. I'll be honest though--I never seem to work on things that diligently when traveling or on vacation.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SP 12--Question 4

My preference for a vacation spot has always been a beach location. I'd love to visit Nice and Capri and several European spots, but at the end of the day, I like going to Cape May, NJ.

My niece, however, thinks the beach surf is too "risky" and prefers the pool. That's her, registering her complaint.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Life is Hard, Yard by Yard

I'm in physical therapy for my knee three times a week. I signed up for Aquacise at my community pool twice a week--this is not the elegant synchronized swimming I seemed to have imagined it is. And the pool is open late two nights a week so I have plenty of time to get there. That's an awful lot of working out for me. PT and Aquacise are kicking my butt. Need to ice my knee and my foot (separate problem) every evening.

I'm also in organization mode--well honestly, I hired someone else to organize me. She's a wonderful young woman who is working toward her MBA. She's energetic, enthusiastic and she has not uttered the words "you don't need any more yarn." (That's a keeper!) She actually found the patterns for several of my WIPs. So I can resume knitting on them.

Even better, she found the cable for my camera. I'll be uploading some updated photos soon. It was an eye opening experience for me to update my Ravelry pages--I have three times as many projects in progress than I have different kinds of yarn in my stash. Amazing, really.

Things are a bit uncertain at work so I haven't been focused on my knitting. Well, hopefully I can change that soon, right?


That's Indie, BTW, guarding the beginning of a lap throw made of Rowan Biggy Print.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

My Secret Pal 12 Package!!!

I went out to run errands--much to my surprise, a lot of businesses are closed today for the July 4th holiday--my drycleaner and my nail salon. I had to get some good sneakers for physical therapy and wanted to also find shoes that were decent enough to wear on business--this is a big procedure because I need to get a bigger size to accommodate new orthotics--the right foot swells and is tight and the left foot is usually too loose.

So, I was a little depressed coming home but there was a package by the front door. It was from Bram, my Secret Pal 12 person. She sent me some of the most beautiful yarn I've ever seen. There's a skein of Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere in a soft pink and a skein of Baby Llama from Elsebeth Lavold in a creamy white. Both are so soft and luxurious, I'm sure I'm going to love knitting them up into something beautiful. And there is a skein of No Two Snowflakes merino wool in fingering weight--it's a hand-dyed yarn is very soft pinky peachy melony color--so so beautiful!!!!! Bram also sent some Addi Turbos--I'm going to use the No Two Snowflakes to make a lacy scarf for myself--it's so pretty. I'm also going to enjoy the Chocolate Truffles she sent from Utah.

So very kind! A big thanks to Bram.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What a Nice Surprise

I was contacted by three people on Ravelry because I put some yarn up for trade or sale but I ended up just sending the yarn to them. I've got so much yarn to knit through and didn't see myself using these particular yarns any time soon and was glad to be able to give them to people who would use them. Well, guess what. One of them sent ME a lovely package filled with Rowanspun 4-ply along with extra goodies like Blackberry jam, tea and chocolates. It was totally unnecessary but such a nice surprise!

Monday, June 30, 2008

On the Way to Cape May!!!!!!

Actually, I'm home. Spent a lovely long weekend in Cape May, NJ. It's a Victorian seaside resort--apparently the oldest in the USA. The weather was beautiful and I went to the beach with my younger niece and nephew--both are characters in their own ways. My niece and I visited the Fiber Arts Shop ( in town and we bought just a couple of things--some carded novelty yarns--I can make at least two spiral hats for Christmas presents. I also bought a Berrocco pattern book--they had a really pretty sample of a pullover knit in Seduce and Lumina but they didn't have enough of any one color combination for my size.

My niece found Hello Kitty buttons. We bought all of them and then looked for a pink cardigan--yes, I know it's cheating, but it seems to me it will be much quicker to buy a sweater and just replace the buttons.

I'm participating in Secret Pal 12 and we had fun buying gifts for my pal. I'm going to do a holiday theme and started with "seaside holiday." I got her some "beachy" colored sock yarn--it came with a pattern--and some needles. We found earrings in a similar colorway that looked like beach glass, saltwater taffy and a mermaid doll kit...very adorable. I hope she likes them!

Still plugging away on the Log Cabin blanket.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

So Slow

I've misplaced the cable from camera to computer so I've lax about posting, but now I'm behind on the Secret Pal 12 weekly questions. So, in answer to question 2, I looked forward to reading all summer...preferably at the beach.

And for question 3, (What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?), I firmly believe a stash is an ongoing process and there's no way or even a need to quantify the amount. I know this is a vague answer, but I think the beauty of the stash is adding to it, sorting through it, touching it and all those wistful plans we make around it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

SP 12 Question 1--Favorite Summertime Drink

This is a funny one. I always have at least one Gin and Tonic during the summer season. But the drink I really enjoy is brewed iced tea. I like it sweetened with Sweet and Low with lemon over ice. Funny how it's limited to summer time.

In knitting news, nothing very exciting has been happening. My Log Cabin project is going to turn out to be one of the most expensive baby blankets in history but I'm enjoying it. I've been traveling for a few days so I haven't made much progress. Will pick it up again tonight and over the weekend--I'll be out and about in support of World Wide Knit in Public Day on Saturday.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to track down additional skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande in the same colorway that I already have. I had originally bought some of it to make myself a sweater, then bought Big Girl Knits and read that big girls shouldn't wear chunky yarn, so I gave the yarn to my mother who has started a beautiful, luxurious throw for me. We need 5-6 more skeins but the colorway appears to be sold out in a lot of places. I have to say Plymouth was very responsive in getting back to me and accurate as well about where I can find more. It's soooooo gorgeous.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Secret Pal 12

Very exciting!!! Something fun to do and something to look forward to. I've been contacted by the pal who has me already and sent off an email for the woman I'll be spoiling. Following is the result of my questionnaire.

What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Worsted weight pure merino or baby alpaca. I'm make something with Sirdar Sublime that is a DK weight and I love it anyway.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have several nice cases but end up using plastic bags anyway.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for over 20 years and consider myself intermediate.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
5. What's your favorite scent?
Chanel #5, ocean breeze, clean linen
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Love Hershey's with Almonds
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I'm eclectic. I like R&B, class rock and some classical too.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I tend to like beiges, tans, browns, and things in that family. Florescent (sp?) colors unnerve me.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm single, live alone with two black cats.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Hats and scarves for sure; no mittens or ponchos.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Tank tops for me
13. What are you knitting right now?
Log Cabin baby blanket in Wool Cotton, tank top for me in Rowan Handknit Cotton, a cardigan for me in several colors of Sublime
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Love them!
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Addi Turbos
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Oh my! Five years?
18. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. Pretty lights, warmth and good cheer, good smells, good foods.
19. Is there anything that you collect?
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I like it all. I usually buy my magazines at Barnes and Noble--I gather up as many as I can and have a field day going through them.
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Short rows are my next challenge, and intarsia.
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Not so much
23. When is your birthday?
August 22
24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder

My home computer is giving me trouble otherwise I would be posting more. I've been knitting a lot but on several different projects. I am 3/4 up the back of the Cherry Bomb shell I'm making from Rowan DK Handknit Cotton and 1/4 up the back of the Norah Gaughan tank.

I've also started the Charlotte's Web shawl--unfortunately I can't get more than 2 rows at a time done--I swear I've ripped 40X more stitches than are currently on the needles! I'm doing mine in shades of blue Koigu. I had a fantasy of giving the shawl to my mother for Mother's Day--perhaps next year's celebration at the rate I'm going.

I've picked up materials for a navy blue tank--it's ruffled around the hem and the neckline. I was more excited by sample than I am by knitting it--it's using Venezia--a rayon-ish ribbon and it is not sliding smoothly off the Addis. I am using lace needles because they are pointier but of course they are not as slippery as the regular ones.

I also picked up some cotton silk for a tank top--I saw a design in an ad in the knitting magazines and have a modified pattern to try.

I also (I know, can you believe me?) picked up some Berrocco Comfort for a short sleeve raglan cardigan. It's knit top down and it is going fairly quickly. I messed up a row and had to take it back to the LYS for help because after all the frogging on Charlotte's Web, I was not going to the frog pond with this one. It's a plain beige but I think I'll get a lot of use out of it.

Finally, I had picked up some Baby Ull and my mother has knit a baby sweater for someone dear to me at work. He and his wife are expecting their first child in November and I'm planning all sorts of Aunt Judy knitted items like said sweater and a blanket. The Baby Ull items are white and will be well done because my mom is doing them. I am playing around with other ideas. I started a blanket patterned with hearts but I bought Zara which is handwashable or dry clean only so I've scrapped that (a cardigan for my sister's very generous mother-in-law, perhaps?) and am now playing around with the idea of a Log Cabin baby blanket using Rowan Wool Cotton--I have a bunch of random balls that I've picked up because I like the colors. I was going to use it for a variation on the wildly colorful baby blanket featured on but think the Log Cabin will be easier for me to keep track of and they both need to be lined so there's little difference to me (again, I hate the way the pick ups look in garter! I'm sure I've mentioned this).

Anyway, I had also bought Pure Merino in navy blue to match the red blanket so I'm going to have to think about what else can be made. I don't really go for patchwork colorwork.

And I'm patiently waiting for some Zarella (I think this is what it is called). The local LYS had an adorable baby blanket knit on the diagonal with alternating stripes of basic ombre and then novelty yarn in the same colorway. Must try this some day. The diagonal knitting will be good prep for the Sandy Cardigan from BGK.

Speaking of which, I joined the BGK Yahoo group. I'm unclear what our next KAL will be. Must investigate further. Not that I've ever finished a KAL project.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pulse Check
My mother mentioned that a friend of the family may be interested in helping me finish some of my UFOs. So I went through my UFO list and came up with about 10 different things I could just hand over--a black cardigan, a beige alpaca cardi, a throw made of Biggie wool and a sweater for my nephew--and several others. Worth looking into!
The top photo shows the progress on my Inaugural Scarf I'm working on in a KAL. I knit a few rows about once a week on the bus to work. I'm at the end of the first two skeins of Silk Garden and I'm loving it.
The second project is the Cherry Bomb from Big Girl's Knit--I love the help with sizing and this will be the first time I'm trying short rows for bust shaping. I'm using Rowan Handknit DK cotton in a color called Fruit Punch and I'm really enjoying the hand.
I picked up the orange Stain Glass Swing Sweater from my LYS--they put it together for me. It's okay--the color is just not at all appropriate for Spring and the sleeves are a little tight-ish. The thing that really aggravated me though was that they didn't sew on the button--there is only one and I provided it to them and for $75.00 to sew the sweater together, they omitted the button. The yarn itself was over $200 (used Manos and La Gran Mohair) plus the cost of finishing--you would think the button would be included, wouldn't you?
The other potential problem I have is the Panel Jacket I started as part of the Yahoo Group Ample Knitters KAL--I'm using Vanna's Choice which is knitting up nicely. I'm going to have to change needles--it's just not smooth--I've been trying to knit this on the bus too--it's straight garter stitch so it's easy and portable but no so much fun so far. The sweater is made with 10 panels plus sleeves and collar and I'm only on the first panel so that gives you an idea of how it's going. I'll try a different pair of needles before I decide whether to proceed.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Memories of the Stitch and Beach Cruise
It's hard to believe that I got back from the cruise more than six weeks ago. We left out of NY on February 27 and sailed to the Caribbean. While we were at sea, we had knitting classes with Debbie Stoller and Shannon Okey, pictured here below the photo of Bitty and the contents of the goody bag we got for attending.
One of the more interesting people I met was a woman named Laurie who was actually in the service--she is the staff photographer for General Petraeus in Iraq. I didn't know that in the beginning and the other women in the classes referred to her as Laurie, the Photographer. It was only later that I learned why. The group got together quietly and knitted or crocheted squares that Debbie sewed together into the blanket she is holding in the photo. We gave it to her the last night at sea during the final Stitch n Bitch to remember the trip. Very nice work for under a week I think.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Back in the Groove...of Blogging, at Least

I finally found the cable for my camera so I could download (or is it upload?) the photos from the knitting cruise. Here's the cardigan I started in one of the classes I took--it was a Design Your Own sweater class so this will be custom fit for me. I'm using a yarn called Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK. I originally bought the yarn to make a Log Cabin throw for myself but I hated the reverse side of the garter stitch pick up.

I made up the "design" as I went along using several of the slip stitch patterns I learned on the cruise and augmented additional stitch patterns from some design books I had at home. The rest of the rows are 4 rows of stockinette and 2 rows of garter stitch in each colorway. There are a zillion ends to be sewn in but I love working with this yarn--of course I'm using Addi Turbos so I'm sure that helps. I've started the right front and hope to motor through.

I took the Orange Stained Glass sweater to my LYS for finishing and they've called so I hope to be able to go pick it up today--if it fits and nicely done, I'll wear it tomorrow to a Client meeting.

Meanwhile, I've joined the Big Girl Knits Yahoo Group and am enjoying the discussion of the new designs. There will be a KAL soon--we just don't know what pattern yet. I have my favorites I'm hoping for--they're good for the "butt and belly" girls like me. But of course I need to finish the cruise cardi. I also need to decide whether I want to continue the Ample Knitter KAL--it's a nice jacket but it's all garter stitch and it's boring...I may need to switch to Noro or something that will be more interesting for me--it's made in panels so it should be easily portable for the bus and train.

Photos from the cruise to follow shortly!

Friday, April 04, 2008

I Know, I Know

I've misplaced the cable for my camera (I don't make it easy for the cleaning service!) so I haven't been able to update the blog with photos from the cruise or any of my new projects. I will make an effort this weekend to find it and begin posting.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My New Traveling Companion

This is Bitty Baby. She belongs to my niece, Caroline. My parents were going to join me on the Stitch n Beach cruise coming up at the end of February but cannot make it. So rather than sending me off alone, Caroline packed up Bitty with several changes of clothes, including a bathing suit, and has sent her off with me.

I'm fairly certain Bitty won't be knitting but I plan on doing a "roaming Gnome"-like travelogue, photographing Bitty and myself on the cruise and sightseeing. I have signed "us" up for excursions at each port--snorkeling near a coral reef and swimming with stingrays in Turks and Caicos, visiting the Baths in Virgin Gorda on Tortola; seeing both the French and Dutch parts of St. Maarten (trying to fit in two tours--one to a butterfly farm); visiting the historic sites, including a pirates' stronghold, and the beach on St. Thomas and a drive to the rain forest in San Juan. We're going to be very busy girls, Bitty and I.

I'm also signed up for many knitting classes on the tour--provisional cast on, slip stitches, double knitting, felting, learn to crochet, making a capelet, sea socks and basic sweater design as well as a stashbusting sweater class.

There is also a culinary center sponsored by Food and Wine magazine on the ship and I will want to take some classes there too, I'm sure.

Well, Bitty is all packed. I better get started too.

The Weapon That Did Me In

This is the hat that my assassin, dorkasaurus, sent to me. I had been having a sleep study and it just wasn't working for me so I left the sleep clinic at around 2:30 AM and when I arrived home, found the hat from Hat Attack in my mailbox. What a way to go.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hat Attack!

What did you do this weekend? I'm signed up for Hat Attack, a take off on the Sock Wars game where you knit a hat as fast as you can and mail it off to your "target". If you get a hat from an "assassin", you are "dead" and need to send your WIP to the assassin who presumably finishes it and sends it to your target. I used Noro Kureyon to knit up mine--I got gauge before I started knitting but it looks small to me but maybe I'm comparing this against my own big head. I'm mailing this off to Irish99 in Indiana this morning and will be nervously checking the mailbox later in case dorkasaurus, my assassin, finished her hat on Saturday--it was amazing how many knitters finished their hats and mailed them the same day. BTW, that's Lucy inspecting my finished product.