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.