Sunday, December 05, 2010

Oh By Gosh, By Golly
I'm following the 24 Days of Christmas
Advent Calendar Scarf knit-a-long graciously posted by Wollkistchen at
Today is Day 5 but I have ripped back 3-4 times already because Day 2--NUPPS--proved challenging. I've developed the need for perfection over the past few years and needed the NUPPS to be uniform. I started out producing something closer to bobbles, but that was time consuming and less fun. My NUPPS were slightly better until I broke out additional stitch markers so I could differentiate between the yarn overs and the 7 stitch NUPP on the wrong side.
I'm using Lorna Laces Shepherd Sport Solid--it's undyed, so the color is natural and I had some pearlized beads for the yarn. The pattern calls for very small beads (9/0 appeared to translate to 2 mm)--I could not manage them with this weight yarn (the pattern calls for laceweight but I'm {virtuously} using yarn from my stash. Plus, I'm already on size 2 needles for yarn--I would hate working smaller!).
I've got Day 1, the spacer section and one repeat for Day 2 done. Hope to finish Day 2 and 3 today. Since it's lace, I will only be able to work on this in the evenings. Very exciting!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas is Coming
In less than 6 weeks! And I, overambitiously, want to give a scarf appropriate for Christmas for each of my Thanksgiving guests. Only one scarf is done so far...wish me luck.

Happy Halloween 2010
This is the first sweater that is completely my own design. I used measurements for a girl's size 10 although the recipient seems to be thinner and taller than average. This started as a scarf but quickly evolved into something more substantial. I love the sleeves. The pumpkin, bat, spider and trees are all from Barbara Walker's books. That spider was nearly the end of me--I made good use of the YouTube instructional videos for this one! I ordered the buttons online and also found some in NYC. Can't wait to hear the reviews!

Monday, October 04, 2010

So Many Projects, So Little Time

I've started a cupcake hat for my favorite niece in New Jersey and my Christmas sweater. It's the Northern Lights cardi from Nicky Epstein's Knitting on Top of the World. And I'm also working on what I'm calling my Silk and Sari Shell. I've carefully planned out what I'm going to work on from now until the end of the year in order to maximize productivity. I want to have a few things done in time to wear for Stitches East at the end of the month. I also want to finish several Christmas scarves in time for Thanksgiving. I think it will be nice to have them done in time to wear before the holidays.

But I'm obsessed with cashmere. I've had some Cape Cod cashmere in my stash for years--it was originally intended for a Boyfriend Sweater but I was unwilling to work on a size 5 needle at the time. I recently found the Classic Chic Pulli pattern for a top down sweater. I started it last week. I can't put it's gorgeous. It feels like heaven. I can't wait to finish it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That Nicky Epstein
My non-knitting friends (95% of my universe) think it's funny when I refer to famous knitters as "Rock Stars". My recent idol is Nicky Epstein. I've got several of her books and have been reading them--the Tuscany book just makes me long for warm sunshine and good olive oil. I'm dying to make the sequined wrap using Disco Lights.

Knitting on Top of the World has been sooooo inspiring... I'm making my first Fair Isle project out of that book using Rowan Cocoon from my stash, although I did need to buy a few new skeins with contrasting colors. I started with the cuff on one sleeve first; it is turned up over the regular sleeve. I love the diamond pattern. I'm wondering if I will ever memorize the pattern so I don't have to use the chart!

In the meantime, I started a scarf using some Pure Merino from my stash which reminded me that I love working with it. So when I saw the Northern Lights sweater, I decided I MUST make it in Christmas colors. I like that it has a pattern on the bottom which will keep me interested. The sleeves are three quarter length, which I am particularly fond of, since I read that your wrists are the smallest bone in your body and that length is slimming. Haven't cast on yet, because I've been obsessed with the Rowan Earth Stripe Wrap today. Beauteous!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Say Good-bye to Summer
It went far too quickly. There are Fall, Halloween and even some Christmas decorations sneaking into stores. Don't rush me!

I've been working on quite a few projects (of course) but my favorite by far at this moment is a Halloween sweater for my youngest niece. This started as a scarf--I had been flipping through one of the Barbara Walker books and found the lace bat. That lead to discovery of several more Halloween-related images and the purchase of some Mission Falls 1824 Wool. I didn't like the way the reverse side looked, so I converted it to a cardigan.

I started with the sleeves which were easy to finish. Then I started the right side--that's a bat in green on the bottom and a Jack O'Lantern in orange. I have to find the label for the fringe I used to join them (it will also be the trim).

The right side features Barbara Walker's spider--I used some New Smoking to add some shiny-ness and some sequined yarn to enhance the "webs" I put in above her. Let me just say for the record that I don't think I've sweated so much over a stitch as much as I did the left twisted purl...yikes. Thank goodness for YouTube and KnitPurlHunter.

I started to put a cat on the back using the Mission Falls as well as Trendsetter Aura but wasn't loving it. So I switched to twin trees--the branches are bare and intertwined (more cables!). I have some buttons that look like animal eyes that I'll use in pairs to look like creatures hiding in the woods. I hope this isn't too scary! I've ordered more cute buttons to help lighten up the mood as well as buttons for the front closure that look like hard candy.

It's been difficult working with black AND cables, but it is going to be worth the effort.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Thought I Was on a FO Kick, But I Wasn't

I breezed through the Summer Flies "shawlette"--it's a free pattern from Donna Griffin on Ravelry. It involved lace, but bits at a time and it's relatively easy to follow. I used some handpainted merino reclaimed from another UFO and I'm delighted with it.
I found this top down sweater using Manos Serena doubled but I don't know...
I'm also working on one of the Lutz and Patmos sweaters deatured in Vogue with Big Wool. It's double seed stitch and cables--I like it a lot!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Babette, Baby

I think the title of this post is apropos because my blanket looks like it is going to be small and more appropriate for a baby. Sewed together sections 1, 2, 3 and 4. Have sewed section 5 together but need to add to the blanket. I have sections 6 and 7 done as well but need weave in ends and sew together. I love the colors, though. Unfortunately have not made significant progress on the Mondo Cable shell or the Katydid cardi. Plugging along.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button
Sometimes the "accessories" I find inspire design. The first photo features a spectacular zipper I found at Stitches one year; I'm pairing that up with a silk and sequin clutch I'm knitting. The button and Nicky Epstein inspired the concept of a flower that will adorn the purse. Easy knitting; will need professional finishing!
The blue buttons are just gorgeous. They are for a winter cardigan using Manos Silk and Trendsetter Aura. This will be slow going because I'm using size 5 needles so I've started now...
The pink buttons are for the Katydid cardigan I posted about earlier. They inspired the entire project. I just love them.
The brown buttons are for the Mission Falls striped sweater. I don't love them as much as the original ones I bought, however, I can't get enough in any one colorway. I have to reknit the sleeves any way so this one is on hold.
I'm Just Proud

Back to Normal
It's been a wild half a year. I work in advertising and we launched two products in October, then again in February and finally updated all materials for the new sales cycle in June. Unfortunately three quarters of our team has been freelance and I had to fire someone very nice who couldn't handle the job, All this translates to stress, very long hours, and more stress.
I have been knitting all along but making little progress on any one project. I took this past week off so I could focus on deep cleaning and organizing my home, which of course, includes my knitting projects.
I'm happy to report I've got two FO! I've got to weave in ends, then I'll post them.
Meanwhile, I've made progress on several other projects. First, I just love the pattern for the Mondo Cable Shell. I'm using Covington from Classic Elite. It's a mercerized cotton and tends to split easily so I switched to a lace needle. It's knit from the top down but you start with the back yoke, then the fronts, left then right, then you join the entire piece and knit in the round. It's mindless knitting except for the shaping and cable cross but otherwise it's going quickly. You knit in the edging for the neckline and sleeves, so minimal finishing. What could be better?
The next project is a cardigan using Katydid, a cotton ribbon from the Verde collection also from Classic Elite. The pattern is was written for me at The Skein Attraction in Teaneck, NJ and was designed around some wonderful buttons I found there. It's a straightforward knit with some shaping for me, so I can knit on the bus. I finished the back last night.
Next is the Ishbel shawl, pattern from Ysolda Teague. I'm making the small size using some fingering weight merino from No Two Snowflakes by Nicole Feller Johnson. I got this in a Secret Pal exchange and the color is called "Lovely Lady". It knits beautifully and I'm enjoying a project that moves quickly!
Finally, I picked up the sock I began for one of my nieces months ago. I'm using an 8" needle instead of DPNs and they are size 0 which is incredibly difficult for me. I only agreed to do this because she and her brother stood in my LYS shouting "Socks. Socks. Socks." Oh, the things we do for love.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Hip, Hip, Crochet!
I apparently crocheted as a child--I have a dollhouse size blanket and pillow to prove it. I've been trying to pick it up and it doesn't appear hard but I guess you need to practice. I'm feeling like I need someone to work with me on it. To that end, I've picked up a couple of books--Hip to Crochet (I have Hip to Knit and like it), 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet--which looks fun--and the adorable Creepy Cute Crochet--this is beyond my skill set so far but I'm hopeful.
I was going to crochet a tank top from Plymouth's new yarn Sprout, but that first row is very difficult, regardless of the project or the yarn so I've set it aside (although I fully intend to knit the Sprout using the tank top pattern in Hip to Knit). I have some ribbon in my stash that I'll try to crochet when it's warmer and I don't have Spring cleaning on my mind.

It was a gorgeous day today and I used it to deep clean. I put everything that was not stored away into the guest room, which brought to mind my grandparents, who had a bedroom that they used for storage when I was young that they called the "spare room." My guest room is looking pretty similar these days (and this is NOT a good thing).
I'm on a kick to finish the many many projects I have going. I mad
e a list and have enough projects for two to three years--no exaggeration. I just can't seem to prioritize anything. I had taken the Stella Shrug to The Skein Attraction yesterday for advice on how long to make it--the patterns calls for 57 inches from cuff to cuff. I'll need make it 64 inches wide to have it at the wrist, so I need another skein of Kidsilk Haze which is delaying progress on that.
But I finished knitting a bag from Manos del Uruguay and Touch Me this morning--I have to take it to my sister's to felt--she has a washer with a disinfectant setting that felts beautifully. If I ever find the charger for my camera, I'll post a photo of it.

I Won! I Won! I Won!

I went to Shirley Paden's book signing at Lion Brand Studios last night. What a lovely woman.

The ladies on either side of my couldn't praise her teaching skills highly enough. There's no space in her Master Class this coming Sunday but I'm definitely planning on finding classes that she teaches.

Interesting talk and inspiring environment--I couldn't help drifting off as I planned colorways from the thousands of skeins of yarn on the walls.

And, as an added bonus, I won lighted knitting needles--I've always wanted them specifically for use in movie theaters (got to keep these hands busy). This comes at a great time. Both my parents won door prizes at the Cape May Knitting Retreat, so we have a trifecta for the week.

Cape May Finds

There was, of course, no way to resist buying some special items at Fiber Arts. The first purchase was this beautiful bulky yarn called Handspun Bouquet from Pagewood Farms. One skein is 50 yards/5.5 ounces and it's recommended to knit on size 15-19 needles. Eight stitches and I don't know how many rows will produce a nice scarf. Can't wait.
The second item is a kit from Knit One Crochet Two. There are two skeins of cotton--one fuchsia and one mango--and that's enough to make two "fishy" bath mitts. The kit includes a bar of homemade soap that smells great. This will be a filler project but for evenings because there's a pattern to follow.
Lastly, I found these tubes of beads. I want to make the Gleam Evening Wrap from Silky Little Knits and have more than enough Kidsilk Haze for it, but I need 1700 beads. I couldn't tell how many beads are in a tube at the craft stores or online and when I was pricing them out, it got extremely costly so I was delighted when I saw a bin with several tubes of beads at the Fiber Arts shop. Voila! Two tubes of 1000 beads each. Now if I can just talk someone into helping me string these! ; )
Stella Shrug
This is the Kidsilk Haze shrug I'm knitting from Silky Little Knits. It's knit cuff to cuff in the round, flat then round again. The grey at the top is the back and knit flat. The fabric made from knitting Kidsilk Haze doubled is absolutely heavenly--so soft and delicious--like a cloud. I can't believe how much I love it. It's a little difficult to fix mistakes but so worth the effort!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Been So Long

Yes, yes, I know, I've been remiss about keeping up with the blog. But between work, vacation, work, knitting retreat, I haven't had much time.

I've been focused on a good inventory of my WIPs and the projects waiting in my stash so I can get a handle on what I have and what I need to get done. I donated three large boxes of yarn recently and still don't have room to store everything (I refuse to go beyond one room!).

We had a wonderful time at the Fiber Arts Knitting Retreat in Cape May, NJ this past weekend. Despite a rocky start with the blizzard-like conditions and a three-hour shoveling episode, once on the road, travel was easy. I'm listening to Pat Conroy's South of Broad and the miles flew by....

We stayed at Congress Hall, which is the nicest hotel in Cape May (IMHO) and we were greeted by some yarn ladies. There was a banquet and fashion show on Friday night, classes on Saturday and some events on Sunday too. First class, Margie taught us Crochet for Knitters (not my strong suit...yet), then Jim taught Button Making--that was a whole lot of fun. Finally Afton taught Knit One Below (the brioche stitch) after lunch. I did a lot of frogging but finally got it.

There was a trolley tour of the town scheduled in the evening, but we walked around town then went back for cocktails in The Brown Room and dinner at The Blue Pig Tavern.

The one thing that could have been better for me would be availability of coffee at an early hour. The coffee shop didn't open until 7:00 and room service and the dining room didn't start until 7:30--I'm an early riser under most circumstances, so I put on my coat and ventured outside the hotel looking for coffee. Unfortunately there's not a lot of options in February, so after admiring the ocean for a few windy moments, I went back to the hotel and got a cup at Tommy's Folly.

We were pretty much on our own Sunday, so we had breakfast at the Blue Pig then went to the Cape May Day Spa for hand reflexology. What a delight that was! We also wandered around town and of course shopped for pretty little things here and there. We could have visited an alpaca farm which was part of the retreat, but the weather looked rough and we ended the trip with a visit to the Fiber Arts store. I'll have to photograph what I bought so I can show you.

Progress report on my needles: I'm working on a shrug from Silky Little Knits by Alison Crowthers Smith. I'm using Rowan's Kidsilk Haze doubled in five colors. You knit 20 rows with AA, then 20 with AB, then 20 with BB and so on. It's knit cuff to cuff, sleeves in the round and back flat. I'm on the back right now. As part of my organizational attempts, I hope to have this project down this weekend, so I can finish the Prism Stuff Shrug next week. I'll let you know how that goes...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Home Again

I'm back from my knitting adventure on the high seas. Lots to tell but not enough time now. I started my Ravelympics sweater this past Saturday and have half a sleeve done. Need to rip a bit now but I'm loving it!

I'll tell more about my trip later.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Knitting While I Work

I'm in Chicago for almost a week on business. I've been actually too busy to do much knitting but I was able to make some progress on my Prism Stuff Bolero. I started the neck shaping and am moving along on the back. Need 7" then can add stitches for the left side. I'd like to get that done because I'll be traveling tomorrow and will need a project to occupy my mind...I hear there will be snow in the tri-state area, so I'm preparing myself mentally for delays.

Only five more days until I set sail with the knitters.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Woe, Woe

I have been cruising along with my Noro Top-Down V-Neck Sweater and was excited to work on the neck and button bands. The first band went fine. I picked up the same exact number of stitches in the same exact way (pick up three, skip 1) but it was about 3 inches longer than the first.

So I frogged it and started again. It's still about 1-1/2" too long. I don't know what's happening? Do buttonholes through it off? I am flummoxed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm Sailing Away

I have been working 20 hour days this week and there was nothing but madness last week. At around 3 AM one night, I decided I needed to go away and made a list of potential destinations. Atlantis is a favorite of mine and they don't seem to charge a penalty for single occupants. Club Med can be reasonable if you take advantage of the last minute deals but there's no guarantee that a destination I'm interested in is available and there is a penalty (they call it a "single supplement"). And I also considered that traveling alone to these places truly means being alone.

I had found a knitting cruise through a couple of links to Voila! A seven day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the Carribean (San Juan, PR; St. Kitts and St. Martin) aboard the Celebrity Solstice with a group of knitters and classes led by Barry Klein from Trendsetters Yarn and Chris Bylsma. I've taken classes with both and learned so much so this was a no brainer, even though I haven't seen a bit of information on the classes. Based on my "back of the envelope calculations", the cruise was cost $1000 more than my next option when I totaled in taxis to and from airport, cat care and, ahem, liquor.
Around 4 am one day this week I decided that didn't matter--great destinations, great people and I will be out of cell and email range for 7 days (I can get cell service in Puerto Rico but I'm not telling anyone that).
Despite being exhausted when I got home last night, I did the very important inventory of appropriate footwear and found a nice pair of black pumps for evening wear that I did not know I had. I really don't remember when or where I bought them; it apparently wasn't for a particular occasion because they've never been worn.
I got a roundtrip flight on JetBlue through Expedia and selected my seats today. I splurged on the extra $$ for the seat with more legroom--I am a decadent girl!
I also signed up for two excursions--both beach days in St. Kitts and St. Martin. Not sure what I'll do in Puerto Rico--I've already toured the city and the old fort--I guess it will depend on the weather. Next, need to look into the specialty dining options and beverage packages next.
I have to assess my current knitting projects--I've been working on two Noro sweaters for myself but I have three sleeveless shells from last summer that need fronts (I run out of steam after I complete a back) and two sleeveless shells that need to be finished. One is made from Tessa's Silk Merino and the armholes are way too deep, so the top needs to be frogged to the armhole. The other is a tank made from Rowan Cotton. It's the first garment where I used short rows so it should fit nicely.
I'm waiting for some Mission Falls wool to come in to my LYS (The Skein Attraction, Teaneck, NJ and highly recommended) because it is supposed to be the basis of my Ravelympic sweater. The Ravelympics kick off toward the end of the cruise week so I'll have to have some of the project with me. I can also bring a WIP that I can register to be my "event". Prior to that, I thought I might work on socks for my niece and nephew, who insisted I knit socks for them despite that fact that I told them I don't knit socks. I've made one sock in my knitting career and that worked out well because I fractured my foot in cold weather and needed a nice cozy sock to protect my foot in the orthopedic (and oh so comfy) sandal-esque shoe I had to wear.
Need to go to The Skein Attraction to pick up 8" needles for gauntlets and the sleeves of a top down sweater. Soooo close to done.
I vow to finish the Mission Falls striped sweater this weekend.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pretty and Warm

Finally finished the Prism scarf--it was a kit; two skeins of Symphony and one skein of an angora. Really pretty. Not too long (I'm sure it will grow). And wide enough to double around my neck. Since we're having artic weather, that's a VERY good thing.

I have been investigating the Great Balls of Yarn cruise in February...oh could use the warm weather. Can I be that lucky?

Monday, January 04, 2010

A Piece of Pi

Clearly I am not good at focusing my energy on one thing at a time. I unearthed some Koigu KPPPM destined for a sweater with the Noro Kureyon I'm using for the Catwalk sweater and found several more skeins packed away with the holiday knitting from last year. The dye code is 315--cream, taupe and greys--very neutral and subtle. So I started a Pi shawl. After a few false starts with other Koigu colorways, I think I'm going to start with the traditional Pi. The only yarn overs will be the increases. I started on size 3 needles last night and finished five sets of increases (I'm up to 144 and working on the 24 rounds) but had to change to size 4 because I didn't have a larger needles in 3. It's very Zen working straight stockinette in the round. I'm trying not to think about how to finish it off....

I have two other Pi shawls that I need to rip out--they were practice Pis--one is in pink KPPPM and the other in blue KPPPM. There is a third that I started in some delicious Karabella silk merino DK--I think I need to frog half of what I have done...ribbit ribbit.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Top Down Appeal

I was only introduced to top down sweaters in the last year and I am a big fan. Not only do these patterns eliminate the need for seaming and require little finishing, the seem to move a whole LOT faster. Plus, with minimal to no shaping, the knitting is kind of mindless, which is a welcome relief sometimes. Here's my Noro top down--it's growing quickly!!! The picture is a lot brighter than it appears to me in real life--the darker stripes are more dominant. I think there's about 4-5 more inches to go, then I start on the sleeves and the neck and front bands. Have to think about what buttons to use.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide what project to work on for the 2010 Ravelympics. One month one week and two days until the Winter Olympics begin. I am considering the WIP Wrestling event--that would be smartest....but...I have the new Vogue Knitting and there is a cardigan I love--Tanis Gray's XOX Raglan Cardigan. I have some natural colored cashmere I've been saving for a long time as well as some gray suri merino. But...I've always wanted to make the DNA Sweater from Simply Brilliant Knits. It's made with Mission Falls 1824 wool and I've ordered the yarn from The Skein Attractions. Decisions, decisions.

Today I'm going to inventory the smaller projects I have in progress. I need to balance the projects that require thinking/tracking/shaping with straight knitting for bus rides to and from work.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I enjoyed a lovely New Year's Eve with my family. We had dinner at Legal Seafoods and played Sketchy and reviewed the monumental events of our lives in 2009. Now we have a brand new year--365 days and a blank slate to do whatever we want and live however we want.

I'm making simple resolutions this year. I'm not tweezing my eyebrows for 6 months in the hope they will fill in. I will try to take better care of myself (okay, that one's not so simple but I'm using the "schedule time with yourself" technique). And I will not feel guilty about abandoned WIPs or the size of my stash. In fact, I'm going to start being honest about whether I will go back to the WIPs and I am going to donate a whole bunch of yarn.

I would like to finish at least one project a month. For January, I'm hoping it's my top down Mission Falls 1824 striped sweater. I just have the sleeves and front bands left.

But I've started a Knitting Pure and Simple Neckdown Cardigan (#221) for my sister. I had some Koigu KPPPM, Frog Tree Alpaca and Kidsilk Haze that I'm knitting up around these heart-shaped buttons. If she doesn't like this, I also have Neat Stuff and Symphony in "Shadow" (grey) from Prism for a shrug, Brown Sheep Wool in a bright pink and some Wedgewood blue Encore and dark blue Kidsilk Haze that I've swatched--very pretty too.

And I'm working on two Noro sweaters for myself--the Kureyon I posted about before and a top down in Silk Garden. So much fiber, so little time!

Well, here's to 2010--best wishes that you all are happy, healthy, wealthy and wise in this new year!