Monday, May 30, 2005

Three Blind Mice....

I spent Saturday morning making these guys.

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From start to finish, each of the smaller mice probably took me about a half hour each, and the larger one took only a bit more than that. The small ones are being sent to a friend who's cat went nuts over a scarf I made her for Christmas (the pink one is made out of the same yarn, Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande), and the large one is going with me to work where the resident lhasa apsa can go nuts over it (I made a hat out of this yarn, Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, and the dog freaks out every time I wear it). What is it about animals and alpaca, do you think? Maybe alpacas are just a little more wild. I decided not to add ears or eyes. I assume they would just be pulled off, and probably swallowed.

My corner of the world has been covered by a heavy quilt of cloudy skies and doused in rain for the past two weeks or so, so imagine my surprise and delight on Saturday morning when I woke to actual, real-life sunshine! I had almost forgotten what it was like. T and I spent the day driving all over hell and creation, poking around outside. We also stopped at two tiny little yarn stores. I'd been to one of the stores before, and even though I loved it, I never got back to it because it's so far out of the way. The proprietor was most helpful in helping me choose a superwash DK weight wool for the lamb all-in-one I plan to make for a friend.

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I had never been to the other store, and from the outside, it didn't look very promising. Inside it was mostly Bartlett Wool and Plymouth Encore, but tucked into a corner on a top shelf I spied something that looked decidedly interesting.

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It's Noro Cotton Iroha, a yarn I've never even seen before. I bought four skeins for the bargain basement price of $3.98 each! It's a cotton/cashmere blend, and is not self striping. I think it'll make a cute bag.

Yesterday, there was no knitting action, and no yarn purchases. I started my day by taking my nephew to see Madagascar. Poor little guy tried so hard to like it, but I could clearly see he was bored as hell. There were a couple of good moments, but one of those was the preview for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It looks like Tim Burton's version will follow the book more closely. I am ridiculously excited to go see it.

We spent most of yesterday outside, so I will leave you with a couple of shots from our adventures. À bientôt!

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Friday, May 27, 2005

And my Secret Pal is....

I got my final package from my fabulous secret pal the day before yesterday. I was so excited, I took a picture right there at work with my Palm.

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I got some swanky stuff from the Body Shop, Eucalan (I was going to buy some this weekend!), the book Knit Lit, a little pot I can grow lavendar in, and two balls of GH Mystik.

I also got a reveal!!! My secret pal has been... Parikha of Dropped Stitches! Thanks for the amazing packages, Parikha! I definitely felt spoiled. What's most amazing is that she kept up with Secret Pal 4 while in the midst of a cross country move. And I was getting stressed out over a move two towns away! The funny thing is, I had already read Parikha's blog a couple of times, when I was randomly clicking on blogs from the Secret Pals blog. Anyway, she's awesome, and you should check out her blog.

The secret pal I was sending packages to was Lalitha, at Knittylali! I had such a good time picking out things to send. She's branching out into sock territory, appreciates a fine yarn, and is studying to be a librarian. Drop by her blog and say hello!

I've always loved sending packages to friends, and that's what secret pals felt like, even though I wouldn't have known my secret pal if I walked into her on the street. I'll sign up again some time in the future.

Not a whole lot of knitting this week, but I did manage to finish the fronts of Zippy.

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This photo is also courtesy of my Palm. The batteries for the camera are charging.

I broke from tradition and knit the fronts seperately, at the rate of one per night. I was feeling the need for something fast, and thought maybe doing one wee front at a time would be the ticket. And it was! Now I'm ready to tackle both sleeves together. They are casted on, but only about two inches long right now. I'll spare you the picture. The sweater is going to be so freaking adorable when it's finished. I believe I'll be inspired to cast on for a second baby sweater immediately.

I was going to knit last night while watching a movie, but felt so lazy I just watched (half) the movie (before falling asleep). It was one of my favorites: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Anyone who's seen it can understand why I was so disgusted when I saw previews for the "updated" version, called simply Guess Who. The original is a funny movie, but not in a slapstick kind of way, and the acting is superb (I mean, come on! Tracy, Hepburn, Poitier....). If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nearing the finish line!

Over the last week, I seamed up my Ribby Cardi. Here she is, so far, modelled by Betty:

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When I first started this sweater, I thought I would do the large collar in the pink yarn. Now that I see it all put together, though, I think I'll do the rolled collar instead. I plan to make a solid version of this summer, and will probably use the larger collar on that. I still have to pick up stitches for one front band. I forgot that I frogged one of them, because the stitches were too tight and were warping the fabric. I'm taking my sweet time on this sweater now, since I probably won't be able to wear it when it's finished. I'd like to think it'll be too hot outside.

I casted on for the Zippy Cardigan this weekend. The back took me no time at all:

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I'm using the suggested yarn, Berroco Lullaby. While it's incredibly soft (it rivals, though is not quite as soft as, Wendy Velvet Touch), it also sticks to my, shall we say, less than girlish hands. I have dry skin anyway, add to that my finger biting habit and you have lots of little places for a soft yarn to catch. Putting on hand cream helps for a bit. I guess it's just more incentive to leave my fingers be. As soon as the Zippy Cardigan is finished, I plan to cast on for another baby sweater using the Mission Falls cotton I got (cabled, I think). My friend is due in August, so I have some time to get these done, but I'd prefer to not be rushing. Besides, baby sweaters are so fun! When else can you finished a complicated cable design in a weekend? Of course, that's only if you don't use sport weight yarn.

Well, off to work!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

One sock down....

I finished sock #1 the other night and, in what have been a bad move, did not cast on immediately for the second sock.

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I love the bright colors! They've been the perfect antidote to the cold, drizzly weather we've been having. Don't get me wrong, I love rainy days! But it's so much easier to appreciate them after a string of sunshiny ones.

I tried to pick up stitches for the front bands of the Ribby Cardi three times last night before I gave up and knit them seperately. I'd rather sew them on. Since I learned how to seam properly, I've loved the task. I've not yet cast on for the Zippy cardigan, but I did buy some (discontinued!) Mission Falls 1824 cotton for a baby sweater. I have to stop buying yarn for baby stuff for my friend Amy. Baby sweaters go fast, but I don't want to commit myself to too many projects and feel rushed. Besides, her baby is due in August. How many sweaters will he need?

I learned the other day that Lion Brand has discontinued Cotton Ease. That might explain why I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I am bitterly disappointed, and wrote them a letter telling them so. I also mentioned that Cotton Ease is the only Lion Brand yarn I use. They wrote me back, basically saying, "Tough luck, toots. That's the way of business." What is going on with these yarn companies discontinuing their cotton yarn in the beginning of summer? How does that even make sense? They should at least warn people of the impending disaster, so they can stock up while the yarn is in the store. Ah, well. Ebay is my pal... I'm in the running for some CE right now!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Finally Connected!

I'm finally connected to the Internet here at home, and can now bring you pictures!

First up, some proof that knitting has been happening over here.

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The body and fronts of the Ribby Cardi are done! I still need to pick up for the front bands, which I hate doing.

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The sleeves are also done! You know what this means, it's almost time to get some seaming done!

You might be thinking that since it's May, it's going to be too warm to wear my Ribby Cardi when it's finished. Au contraire, mes amis, my apartment is freezing. I'm tempted to make mittens to wear around the house! I only hope this frigid air sticks around in the summer.
Oh, silly me, speaking of the cold, I have a new project!

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I started a pair of socks when I finished the fronts of the cardigan, since I just couldn't face picking up stitches. I'm using some Regia sock yarn in a colorway named after clowns which I looked for for months. I think some nice wool socks are just what I need for keeping my toes from developing frostbite.

For my final photo, I promised I would share my stash storage, and I will not disappoint!

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All of our dishes fit on one measley shelf in this cupboard, and so T suggested I use the space for my yarn. I admitted that I had considered it as a yarn storage space already. The shelves are deep, so my entire stash fits in there with room to spare [insert maniacal, stash enhancing laughter here], and the doors are glass, so I can see my stash at all times. I decided to make those socks next because the yarn kept catching my eye every time I walked by the cupboard. I love it!

So now that I'm connected at home, I will update more frequently and with more photos. I plan to start another project this weekend (or maybe sometime this week); the Zippy cardigan from the Berroco website, using Lullaby.