Thursday, December 28, 2006

Like Buttuh.

IMG_2618.JPG I made myself a hat. I started the hat last week, on a knit date with my best knitting bud. I used Malabrigo angora for the brim, which was so heavenly soft to knit, I didn't even mind when I had to rip out all of my work halfway through and start again. See, I was going for a slouchy, slightly oversized thing with this hat. I hate when hats flatten my hair and stick to my face. What I got the first time was just too freaking big. This one is just right.

365_71 I wanted the angora to be the only thing touching my forehead, since pretty much everything makes my forehead itch, including the buttery soft Malabrigo merino I used for the top. Both yarns are in the Pollen colorway. I have more than enough of the merino left over for some mittens, which have to be next on my list. My poor hands were freezing this morning, wrapped around the icy steering wheel. Don't get me wrong, I love winter! I love snow and cold weather! As long as I am prepared for both. Once I have my fancy new mittens, I'll be into winter again. (And maybe also a nose warmer.)

Thoughts are turning to sweaters, and I am definitely feeling pulled by the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan that has been in my knitting basket for over a year. Before I dive into the cardigan I planned to make with it, though, Amy suggested I check out some of DB's new patterns for this yarn. I do love the cardigan, but maybe she's come up with something I like even more. It's so important to keep your options open, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Something Cool

I've been meaning to post this for days! I found a nice new online knitting magazine called knitonthenet. In particular, I was quite taken with this little number. I'm not sure how practical it is, but it looks like something that could get a lot of wear in spring and fall, when a sweater alone is enough. Or even something I could keep at work, where I am always cold. I'll have to keep my eye on this magazine.

IMG_2307.JPGAnother cool thing: frogged corrugated ribbing! I guess I should have known that this would happen, but I was surprised when the pink yarn just started unravelling without my having to do the white at the same time. Saved a lot on tangles. I also frogged the hair scarf. My progress was pitiful, though I did take a photo (haven't taken it off the camera yet). In the words of a very wise knitter, "Life's too short to knit something you hate." Her reward for showing me the light is the ball of Kidsilk Night I've come to despise. I'm sure she will do something much better with it.

So that means that holiday knitting is complete. I think my first order of business will be a hat for myself, as it's getting cold here, and I could use one. I also need a new pair of mittens. All I have now is a crappy fleece pair (good for fall but useless in winter), and a heavy-duty thrummed pair (more suitable for brutally frigid February). I'm envisioning Malabrigo for both. I'll have a date with the ballwinder and swift tonight! I have a knit date tomorrow, and need to start a project!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Long Time!

I feel like it's been a hundred years since I last posted! There has been a lot going on: shopping, baking, bunny care, and, oh yeah, knitting.
365_59 I made a scarf for a co-worker. I usually give this lady a giant tin of popcorn (her fave), but due to some health issues this year, she can't have popcorn. So I thought a simple scarf would be just the ticket. This used one skein of Colinette Giotto in Lichen, and I knit it using US15 needles! The only US15 needles I have are a set of double points, but faced with whether to obsess over lost stitches or buy a set of US15 straights, I chose obsession. What can I say? I live on the edge. I definitely could have gotten away with a few fewer repeats and had fuller fringe. After blocking, this scarf stretched like nobody's business. It hung down to my knees!

365_61 There's a bit of back story to this one. There's a girl in my office who loves hand knits, and I decided at the last minute to make her something for Christmas. After a brief search, I decided that Calorimetry would be perfect for her, as she is always wearing headbands and rarely wears a hat. I busted some Lamb's Pride from my stash and got started. It was a fast knit, and I finished it in one sitting. I was feeling so pleased with myself for finishing it on Friday and having the whole weekend before I gave it to her, that I decided to give it a nice wash. Uh, yeah... isn't there some rule against wet blocking ribbing? There should be. That poor sucker stretched out so far that it would still be too big if I wore it over a football helmet. I tried felting it down a little, getting it damp, putting it through the washer (!), all to no avail. Calorimetry was a lost cause. Last night I decided I still really wanted to make something for this girl, and remembered a cabled headband from Knitty, Nakiska. I dove into the stash again (this is the kind of emergency stashes are made for!), and came up with a light green acrylic/angora blend by TLC called Cara Mia. As with all good things, this yarn has been discontinued. It's been sitting in my stash for eons, and I'm almost sorry I even chose it for this project, because I'll probably never find any again. This yarn is wonderful! It has none of that plastic-y feel of acrylic, and all of the softness of angora. It reminded me of a cotton/angora blend, but with more elasticity. As an added bonus, it suited this project perfectly, and I ended up with something I'm proud to give away. Please note the five piece luggage set under my eyes. I finished this in a measley two hours, but that put my finish at 10:30pm. I wove in the ends this morning, and decided against blocking. Why tempt fate?

Thanks for the concern over Baxter and Cooper! They are getting along much better with the gate between them (no more attacking the gate), but we haven't put them together again yet. It turns out that Cooper gave Baxter quite an injury on his neck the last time, and we are on a routine of antibiotics and wound cleansing for the little guy. You'd never know he has an issue, though! He is as cheerful and spunky as ever! And, Pioggia, the rats are marvelous! They LOVE all of the wrapping paper in the bedroom, and especially love it when I put a few wads of tissue paper in their cage.

Mrs. Cooper is partial to the tree.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another lesson in gauge.

IMG_2282.JPG What you see in this picture is a tragic lesson in gauge. You'd think that after the many, many lessons in gauge I've learned over the years, I would know better, but no. This tragedy could have been averted by two things: better organization and less laziness. Unfortunately, these two things work in tandem, or I may have had a fighting chance. See, the pattern I'm working suggests a US3 needle for gauge. I know I've used US3 double points recently, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I have about ten sets of US1 and US2 dpn, but only one pair of US3. I still can't find them. Now, don't be fooled by this narrative into thinking I looked very hard. I handily convinced myself that, since I routinely use at least one needle size smaller than recommended in any pattern, I could use the set of US2 dpn conveniently in my hand, and that searching for the US3 set would be pointless because I wouldn't get gauge with them anyway. Yeah, the ribbing seemed kind of snug, but I deluded myself with the magic of blocking and continued. Only when I actually got into the meat of the project did I see the folly in all of my thinking up to that point. The silver lining to this whole sad tale is I rekindled my love of bamboo, and today I purchased another set of US3 needles in bamboo. Also, the knitting will go faster with the larger needles. Perhaps this is my penance for putting down the tangled hair scarf. I hereby promise to do four whole repeats as compensation.

IMG_2265.JPGIn other news, we have a new friend here! Meet Baxter! We adopted him from the shelter on Friday. Mrs. Cooper met him at the shelter with conficting results, so we brought him home to begin the bonding process. The initial meeting at home was less than stellar, but we're trying another approach that seems to be working. Since Cooper doesn't have a cage, we put a baby gate up between the room where Baxter's cage is and Cooper's area, and they interact through the gate. At first they constantly batted at each other through the cage, but now they've been witnessed laying next to the gate occasionally in short cease-fires. Things are looking up!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Baby's First Corrugated Ribbing!

IMG_2255.JPG I've been sitting on this pattern for awhile, and decided to try to pull it off for a Christmas gift. Unfortunately for you, the intended recipient reads this blog occasionally, so I can't say what it is. I can't resist showing off my first ever corrugated ribbing, though! This project was supposed to be the one I turned to as a break from my other project (more on that later), but it was the only thing I worked on tonight. I'm using Dale of Norway Falk, which I love already. It's wonderfully soft and has beautiful stitch definition. I want to make a sweater out of it.

IMG_2252.JPG Now on to the more difficult of my projects. First of all, is it just me, or does this look like a giant tangle of hair? Maybe it's because it resembles the hair I pull from my hairbrush (I dye my hair black). It's actually Kidsilk Night, and the beginnings of a lace scarf (Knotted Openwork Scarf). Now, if you've been reading my blog for a little while, you probably know that I have issues with mohair. Between the slipperiness of the yarn and my own sensitivity, I can only pull off maybe two or three repeats a night. I'm using plastic needles, and I'm thinking of picking up a pair of wood or bamboo needles for the extra grip. Right now, itchiness and sneezing aside, I don't understand why this yarn has such a devoted following. It's made me as careful and precise as a new knitter, watching every stitch, holding the needles with an iron grip. Which, now that I think of it, is kind of nice. I guess we all need some humbling sometimes.

Lastly, and only tenuously related to knitting, does anyone else have the total, crazed addiction to Beverly Hills, 90210 that I have? I drew blood once in a remote war to watch it, and am in absolute heaven that season 1 is on DVD. It's been my constant knitting companion. I only wish they'd hurry up and release more seasons!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Another one down!

365_47 I've worked on nothing else except the socks since my last post, and the dedication paid off! I finished them last night, blocked them, and they were completely dry this morning (gotta love radiators). I just love the subtle color variations in these, and while the stitch pattern became tedious, the effect is well worth it. These socks have all the stretch of ribbing, with a slightly different look. Kinda fancy, but plain enough that my boyfriend will actually wear them. I think my next project will be a drop-stitch scarf with honkin' needles. I need some instant gratification! [edited to add: I forgot to comment on the quality of the yarn after a wash! It did blossom nicely, and became very soft and squishy. I was a little worried that it would develop a serious halo while it was wet, but all fuzziness calmed down after it was dry. I do recommend this yarn, but keep in mind the string factor it has while being knit from the skein.]

I'm already thinking ahead to post-Christmas knitting. I keep finding myself squeezing my sock yarn stash, so I'm seeing some socks for myself in my future (maybe even a completed pair of Hedera). I bought some delicious sock yarn today in a pink and brown colorway, and I also have a very fun yellow/orange mix. Speaking of yellow, it's getting very cold here, so it's got to be time to get going on the yellow Malabrigo hat I've been planning. The other day, while I was at work, I found my mind wandering through the stash, and it settled on some dark red, bulky weight wool I've had for years that I bought at the Champlain Valley Fair in Vermont. It's too scratchy for a sweater to wear close to the skin, but it suddenly occurred to me that it would make an awesome jacket. I made a little sketch on my scratch paper, but I don't know if anything will come of it. I don't know much about design, and I would want this jacket to have princess seams. I'd love any recommendations on knit design books, if anyone has any. I have some basic formula books (like Ann Budd's books), but nothing that really talks about creating something in multiple sizes with specific details. Also, did I mention that my dad wants an aran sweater? This is so exciting, because he hasn't worn sweaters in years! Plus, dude! He wants an aran. He requested something heavily cabled! I'm beside myself with excitement. I'm a bit stymied on yarn requirements, though. My dad is over six feet tall, and like 200+ pounds. I know it'll be a lot of yarn, but how much is a lot? I will cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess. Christmas knitting first! (Notice how I've retained enough sanity that I refrained from adding my dad's aran to Christmas knitting? I think it'll be for his birthday. Kidding! His birthday is December 29.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Like a broken record!

I'm about 70% finished with the second sock (woot!), but it's not very good picture fodder. I'm a little more than 50% finished with the mystery project, pictured at left. I love working on this, but I'm trying to concentrate on gift knitting right now. I don't want to drive myself crazy, but I'd really like to make a scarf, two flower washcloths and a pair of mittens before Christmas. If only I could stop working until the New Year and just knit. Sigh.

365_41In other news, I found a fall/winter use for the fabulous Rebecca tank I made last summer. I got tons of compliments on it, which was nice. And I felt very stylish in my new vest. So stylish that I decided I want to knit a proper one. Now I just need to find the perfect pattern.

And the time!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A surprise entry!

wee hatI really didn't anticipate being able to update this week, but I had to share this tiny slice of cute I started and finished during a movie last night. I got caught up in my own blog post, and decided it was time to contribute to the Caps to the Capital project. Ellen at Purl Diva is collecting the hats and sending them off. I'll be dropping this one off with the Opal Tiger baby hat I made awhile ago. For this little darling, I followed the pattern provided by the Caps to the Capital people, and used one ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. I had so much yarn left at the finish of the hat, I decided to put on a big old pom-pom. My pom-poms need a little work.

I am such a good knitter, I casted on for the second gift sock tonight, and now have a toe. I think this one will go faster. I have experience with the pattern behind me, as well as a perfect model to follow. Taking measurments is as easy as counting repeats!

(I also snuck in a few rows of the mystery project!)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Do men wear knee-highs?

Almost a sock! Well, I was concerned about having enough yarn for these socks, but I oughtn't have worried. If I knit any more on these socks (excluding a 1x1 ribbed cuff), they will be knee-highs. Now, I know I've seen guys wearing kilts who wear knee-highs, but I've never seen my boyfriend wear them (neither a kilt nor knee-highs). It's been a little disconcerting at times knitting these, I keep feeling like I should be decreasing for the toe! I think my best bet will be to cast on for the second sock immediately upon finishing this one. Otherwise, I'm afraid they won't be done for Christmas! One thing I love about these socks, is that one repeat of the pattern is just about one inch. Not only does that make it easy to measure for the foot and leg, but it also makes me feel like I'm getting a lot done when I'm only doing one repeat a night. I love that!

IMG_2073.JPG Work continues on the mystery project. I put it aside for the most part to concentrate on finishing sock #1, but have managed to get a little more done. I might take the teensiest break in between socks one and two to get halfway through this project.

Now, a PSA. I know that for many people, myself included, the holiday seasons leads to thoughts of giving to charity and sharing personal good fortune with others who are not so fortunate. If you are in that mindset, please visit Tammy's blog. She's running a contest for The Dulaan project. The Dulaan Project asks knitters to put their skills to use making warm clothing for the needy children of Mongolia. Even if you can only manage one hat amidst all of the holiday rush, you can know that your hat helps one person be a little less cold.

Speaking of the holidays, I'm not sure if I'll be able to post in the coming week. If I don't, to all of my compatriots, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I can't think of a title today.

IMG_1976.JPGI realized the other day that I'd forgotten to show off my single completed Hedera. Last weekend, I finally decided to pick it up and make the toe already. It feels very comfortable on, and looks pretty (I'm glad I decided to do a few extra repeats on the leg, though), but I'm still in no rush to make the second sock. I like Knitpicks Gloss very much, and I can't wait until they introduce more colors. I'd love to have some in a brighter blue, a true red, a leaf green and maybe even some pastels. Heck, even plain white and black would do. This yarn would make wonderful, practical booties and baby hats, but I like to use more fun colors for babies.

IMG_1979.JPG Works continues on the toe-up socks. I finished the heel this morning, and felt a thrill when I realized I had a foot! The realization that I now have to make an entire leg in 2x2 rib let me down somewhat, but it's really not so bad. At least it's fairly mindless. The only problem with the sock project was the color of the yarn. We were having gray skies around here all last week, and coming home to gray project was sapping my strength.

IMG_1981.JPGSo, I found the best antidote my stash had to offer, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Flames. I'm not going to reveal what this project is yet, just because it looks like it will be interesting to reveal at the end. Let me say, though. This project is not exactly mindless. I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of it, and almost cried when my computer had a tantrum and shut itself off, erasing my (foolishly unsaved) work. I guess I know what I'll be doing tonight!

In non-knitting news, I whole heatedly recommend this recipe. It's a pork tenderloin with pomegranate sauce, and it is unbelievably delicious. I have to note my surprise that every recipe from Gourmet magazine each month is available for free on the Epicurious site. Why the hell have I been buying the magazine?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How Deep Is Your Love?

IMG_1944So, I've been thinking about knitting the Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush pretty much ever since I got the book. I'm not sure how I thought that neat stitch pattern worked, but it turns out that it's basically 2x2 ribbing. I know you feel my pain. I am persevering though, because I do like it. I'm really only using the stitch pattern from the book, since I've changed the gauge and decided to do them toe-up (for the first time! So fun!). I'm using Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock Pattern for the general sock part. Now that I have experienced the delirious joy of making a toe first, I don't know if I'll ever go back to cuff down. I'm also pretty excited by the idea of not wasting any yarn anymore. In fact, I decided to do these toe-up because I'm using a yarn I've never used before, and the skeins look kind of small. I'm using Spirit Trail Fiberworks superwash merino in gray. I love the color; it's slightly variegated, which adds depth and interest. It kind of feels like knitting with cotton, though. The fabric is nice, and I think it'll bloom nicely after a wash, but I really checked the tag about three times to make sure I did, indeed, buy the merino. Stay tuned to see how it looks after it gets wet. Since I took this photo this morning, I've done a few more repeats. I am now at a point where I would have started the heel for myself. But, since these are for my boyfriend, I have a ways to go. And that also explains the subject of this post. What we knitters won't do for love. I would actually love to know the most mind-numbingly boring challenging project you've made in the name of love.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

As one passes, so is another created.

The fingerless glove situation was worse than I had feared. After damage began to show on the gloves, my boyfriend continued to wear them (and says he will continue to wear them!), and it appears there are almost more holes than glove at this point. As a side-by-side comparison, here are the gloves I made for him last year, and the gloves I just finished.

trashed glovesshiny new gloves!

So now I am at that wonderful place where a new project stretches before me like a tree-lined autumn road, and all I have to do is choose which fork in the road to follow. There are so many choices! Do I cast on for another pair of these gloves (my brother tried them on and asked for a pair), swatch for that Astrakhan cardigan (again), swatch for Ivy, or cast on for a pair of gift socks? I feel only the slightest pressure from the holidays. I've completed a stocking, my brother wants those gloves (see how things magically get added to the list?), and I plan to make a scarf for my cousin. I also want to make a couple of washcloths to go with some fancy soap I bought. Nothing big. I bet I could squeeze in a little somethin'-somethin' for myself. Right?

In non-knitting fun, we went to the aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut this week. It was amazing! Mystic in general was fun (though the shopkeeps could use a little friendliness training), and beautiful. Here are a couple of my favorite shots from the aquarium.

Beluga WhaleBashful Fur Seal


Oh! And I almost forgot one other thing! One of the first things I did upon our arrival in Mystik was check the phone book for yarn stores. There was one store in town, called Mystik River Yarns. They had a very interesting selection, including some baby camel yarn that I squeezed five times before deciding it had to come home with me. I want it to be next to my face, so I think a gator is in order. Another thing about this store, and I don't know if they do this all the time, but they had tons of sale yarn. They sold it by the bag, and it looked like it was just leftover dye lots. None of it caught my eye, but there were some very good deals. I also got a good deal on a Rebecca magazine. They had a huge stack for about $10 each. And can I just say? You know the aquarium is awesome when I almost forgot to include the yarn shopping.

mmmmmmm... camel....

Sunday, October 29, 2006

One Down, One Started!

IMG_1832.JPGThe sun graced our presence for about fifteen minutes today, so I took advantage of it and took a quick photo of glove #1. The color in this picture is not at all true. It's darker, a typical, Army-issue shade of green. I am through the cuff and working on the gusset of the second glove. Again, trying not to be cocky, but I think I might get these done on time. That is, if I get back to work right now!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Linkfest!

The other day (or maybe it was just yesterday), I was browsing through my Bloglines roster, and noted all of the blogs I read that have nothing (or little) to do with knitting, but I enjoy nonetheless. Since I don't have any photographic proof that I have finished fingerless glove #1 today, I thought I'd point you to some other people who are interesting.

1. A Dress a Day. She posts a dress (mostly) every day, with comments about style, fabrics and fashion. The designs are mostly vintage, and she's always good for links to eBay sellers of vintage sewing patterns. Every time I read this blog, I want to go home and dust off the sewing machine. Unfortunately, I usually run out of steam when the time comes to pin the pattern. Still, she's made me more aware of what I wear and the choices I make while shopping, for which I am grateful. Oh! Check out the Secret Lives of Dresses, too!

2. Bitch. Ph.D. I've linked you to her introduction post for new readers. This is a feminist blog, and decidedly liberal. That might make it sound exclusionary, but it's not! The comments are fodder for great debate and discussion, and she often posts great links to news and editorials. My favorite posts, though, and the ones where she shares snippets of conversation from her day. She's a good writer, and funny as hell.

3. Bits and Bobbins. This is a blog I just found today! I obviously found it through knitting sources, as her latest post is about a (beautiful, impressive) sweater she designed. A lot of her blog is personal, talking about her move and what furniture she would like for her new apartment, but she also has some interesting posts on fashion and creativity and expression of self through clothes. She also heads up a pretty awesome Flickr group, where people post their outfits for the day. Maybe it sounds superficial and silly, but I find it inspiring to see what people do with the basic wardrobe offerings. Plus, there seem to be quite a few knitters in the group!

4. Tales of the Cupcake Mafia. I just found this blog this week, too. This girl is hilarious. I know she's a knitter, because she's on a holiday knitalong that I'm on (I need to put that button back on!), but I haven't found any evidence on her blog yet. Her blog is like a journal, where she shares overheard conversations, anecdotes from her childhood, and generally funny stories. One of my favorites has to be the one where she talks about her dad's missing food processor. She is a riot!

I will be on vacation next week! This usually means very little blogging, as I gallavant hither and yon in search of yarn, fried food, and good times. As I said, I've got to get the second glove finished in time for Halloween, but I'm not sure what else I'll knit. It's kind of exciting! All of these possibilities... all of this time!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wee Hats

IMG_1772.JPGI only have this one mediocre photo to share. Curse this rotten weather! The mom loved this hat, so now I can pick up a second skein of SWS for some tiny mittens. I wanted to make sure she liked the colors in this yarn and how it felt before I went for a second ball. This is just your basic hat, but it's my first one finished off with icord. I really like this look. It's devastatingly adorable, and I will henceforth use icord (or a pompom!) on all wee hats. You have my promise.

I'm almost through with fingerless glove #1. I anticipate finishing it tonight, and starting on the second tomorrow. I'm feeling a little pressure. I want to take the finished gloves on a trip we're taking on Halloween, and give them to him there. It seems like plenty of time, but I hate to get cocky. Oh! And let me tell you, I think these puppies will wear like iron! The small gauge is stiff, but not rigid, and makes a pleasing fabric.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Let the Gift Knitting Begin!

With my endorphins rushing after I removed the (finally) dry Christmas stocking from the radiator, I casted on immediately for a birthday gift for my boyfriend. Gift knitting has begun in earnest. Expect little else before February (my Gramma's birthday is in January).

IMG_1750 IMG_1752

The 6 in the 2006 doesn't look quite as wonky in real life, but it's also not as good as I hoped it would be. Que sera, sera. DeanB reminded me in the comments that I have neglected to share yarn and pattern information for this stocking! I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in (I believe) Blue Blood Red, Cream, and Christmas Green. One skein each made two stockings, with enough leftover that I could probably squeeze out a third if I changed the colors around. I purchased the pattern as part of a kit at Patternworks, on sale. I don't see it on their site now, but the pattern (or a kit) can also be purchased through the designer's website, Annie's Woolens. She has a lot of other very cute designs. In particular, I'm eyeing the snowman. Most of the pattern is just following a chart, though she does provide instruction for heel and toe. I ignored these in favor of my favorite short-row heel and the standard toe that I know by heart.


Next up is a pair of fingerless gloves for my boyfriend. Last year (or was it the year before?), I made a pair of these for him, and they were trashed by the end of the winter. I used Naturespun sport and US4 needles. They didn't stand a chance. The fabric was too thin, the yarn too flimsy, and the gauge too large. He drives for his work, so the palms felted first, then the knuckles, then the unfelted fabric started to pull away from the felted knuckles. He needs a new pair, but now I'm thinking smart. I'm thinking indestructible. I'm thinking, worsted weight yarn on US2 needles! Mohair (which makes my eyes water and gets me sneezing, but is undeniably strong)! I think these are going to make it through at least one winter. I have about one week to get them done.

Other gifts I'm thinking about? For Christmas, socks for my boyfriend and mittens for my best friend. A sweater for my mom for Christmas (though that may get pushed back). A shawl for my Grandmother for her birthday. I'm trying to keep the list small so I don't drive myself crazy, but I'll probably end up trying to adding a few things as I finish them. I would like to make a sweater for myself sometime, too!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jolly Guts

IMG_1723.JPG IMG_1728.JPG

I was patting myself on the back for finishing my first Christmas gift of the year this evening, when I remembered the ends. I had to share the horror before I buckled down with some America's Next Top Model and Lost.

I have to admit, I had to smile aat that jolly red, green and white spilling out from the top. Next time you see it, it'll be woven and blocked!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


IMG_1711My knitting lately has been bor-ing. To me, anyway. Dude, I have second sock syndrome... and I've yet to finish the first sock. It's not the pattern, the pattern is fun! It's not the yarn, the yarn is delicious and soft. I think it's just the fact that I've been looking at this sock for way. too. long. I'm about one repeat away from doing the toe on this one, and I'm struggling to even get myself interested in that. I will endeavor to do so, though, and then immediately cast on for a new pair of socks. I think after a break, I'll be ready for Hedera again.

IMG_1709In other news, a friend asked me to recreate a hat given to her last winter for her baby. Naturally, he needs a bigger hat this winter. The hardest part was finding appropriate yarn (she wanted something that matched as closely as possible to the last hat). I suspected that the old hat was made with craft store yarn (I detected acrylic content... cheap acrylic), so after hitting a couple of local shops, I hit up Michael's and found Patons SWS, which is a wool/soy blend. It's an interesting yarn to knit, it reminds me of mohair fleece that I've seen. It has a nice shine, and is reasonably soft. I like the drape, too! She wanted a kind of slouchy hat, and I think that yarn will deliver. Also, please note the needles. I have a small weakness for Inox needles, and will always buy a set on sale, even though I have pretty much every size I need. I broke these open because my other US8 double points were being used on the Christmas Stocking (more on that later, over half finished!), and was horrified to discover that they're plastic. I've never used plastic needles before, and was sure I'd hate them (I'm a metalhead). Surprise! I like them! I don't love them, by any means, but I won't give them away.

I picked up my yarn today for a bitchin' bag, along with a skein of this really terrific orange/yellow sock yarn. It'll be the perfect antidote to cold, dreary days.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Things That Make Me Happy

1. IMG_1649.JPGFinished objects! Especially scarves! I finished my Kureyon scarf last night, and wore it all day today. If I ever make another one (who am I kidding? I'll make another one), I'll go up another needle size to a US10. The scarf isn't stiff, by any means, but it would be nice to have a little more drape. I'd love to share the colorways I used, but I let Mrs. Cooper go nuts with the ball bands before I wrote the numbers.

2. I made my donation goal for the memory walk. I've already thanked Tammy, but another fellow knitter helped! A big thank you to Amy! I always enjoy the Memory Walk. Next year, I'm thinking of finding out how to get involved behind the scenes.

3. IMG_1655.JPGHalcyon's annual sale. This is this year's haul. Including the deal of my life! See the off-white yarn in upper left? That's 100% cashmere, bulky weight, which I scored for $6.00 per skein! They only had four skeins, and I snapped them all up! I'm envisioning a nice hat that won't make my forehead itch. A first!

4. IMG_1650.JPGFair yarn! I went to the biggest fair in Maine a few days ago, and was delighted to find the Fiber House. I didn't get a picture, but there was a woman there spinning yarn directly from the back of an angora rabbit! I was excited to find some Cormo yarn, but it didn't come in any colors I liked. The yarn in the top of the photo feels a lot like the Cormo did, so I think it might be that. The bottom yarn is blue faced leicester, which is another wool I've been wanting to try. The Fiber building was mostly geared toward spinners, with the bulk of the room looking like this: IMG_1620.JPG

5. Sheep from the eighties: IMG_1631.JPG

I hope everyone else out there is happy! I am at this moment watching my favorite Christmas movie (Elf), getting into the spirit for some gift knitting!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Book, New Favorite

Last Friday, I got out of work early to take my dad to an appointment. Since I got to town early, I decided a quick pit stop at Purl Diva was in order. This is my new favorite store, for several reasons.
1. When I walked in the door, the owner (whose name escapes me), said hello, clearly remembering that she'd seen me before, and said, "You're the blogger, right?" I had been in there exactly once before. I've been to the other yarn stores in the area (ALL of them) multiple times, and still no one recognizes me when I enter. It's a good feeling.
2. I was looking for something specific, which she didn't have in stock. She immediately offered to special order the yarn, and pointed out an alternative that she had in stock. Now, I've had other stores offer to order in yarn, but never so enthusiastically. And she had no problem whatsoever with ordering a skein or two of a few colors. I could have continued down the road to Halcyon and purchased the yarn there, but opted to wait a few days because of the kindness and courtesy.
3. I love this: while she had the Brown Sheep book out, she asked my opinion on some colors she was going to order for the superwash. I've had a couple of other stores do this, and I always think it's so fun! Looking through color cards seems as though it would be one of the most fun parts of owning a yarn store!
4. The stock is varied, with lots of weights, colors, textures and fibers represented. She has some yarn that is difficult to find in the area, like Lorna's Laces (she even has the worsted!), ArtYarns, and Cherry Tree Hill.
5. THE DOG! She has the sweetest dog EVER. I want to take her home.

So, if you're ever in Brunswick... now you know where to go for yarn!

While I was at Purl Diva, I picked up 50 Baby Bootees to Knit. The weird spelling of bootie notwithstanding, I love this book! There are only a couple of patterns I could never see myself making. I do wonder how practical some of the patterns are; there are some darling shoe shaped booties that look like they'd fall off at the first kick. I'm torn whether I should wait for someone I know to get pregnant before making a pair, or to just make booties with wild abandon and give them away as necessary. There is a pair of booties in there that look like bunny slippers. I think we all know what I'll be making first.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Slowly but Surely

IMG_1617.JPG I've been making decent progress on Hedera and the scarf. I'm starting to remember why I'm not really a scarf person. They seem to take ages, and don't change much. But this one sure is pretty. One of the shades of Kureyon I'm using is very bright, and the other is more subdued. So far, they seem to mirror the first two colors I used somewhat in intensity. It's getting very cold here, Saturday I wished I had this scarf finished already! Speaking of cold and needing accessories, have you seen these yet? These are the armwarmers I was going to design myself, and they will be mine! I'm especially excited by the prospect of trying out Debbie Bliss' Pure Silk.
IMG_1614.JPG I'm onto the foot on Hedera. I was feeling pretty pleased myself, when I realized that I have another to knit after this one. Aside from my very first pair of socks, this might be longest sock project I've worked on. I know it's because of the break, but it still feels long. Luckily, I still love the yarn, and I still love the pattern! I am also completely enamored of Wendy's short row heel from her toe-up sock pattern. It's incredibly well-written, and gave me such clearly defined wraps, I almost felt magical. Next up: try a pair of toe up socks! I have some sock yarn I want to use to make socks for my boyfriend, but I don't know how long the leg will be able to be.

Thanks to Tammy for her donation to the Memory Walk! I really appreciate it, Tammy. Thanks!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

We Interrupt the Knitting for an Important Announcement

Every year, the Alzheimer's Association holds a Memory Walk to raise money for research and support groups. This year will be my fourth walk, and it is in 10 days! If you've never known anyone with Alzheimer's Disease, it is an extremely lonely disease, and so much worse than losing memories. People with this disease forget friends, family, and eventually, themselves. The most heartbreaking moment I've experienced was when I first started at the home where I work. A woman pulled me aside and pointed to a man down the hall she had just met. She said, "See that man? He's an old friend of mine. I know he is. But I don't remember him. I can't remember anything. I don't remember myself. Who am I?" And she started to cry. She wasn't like this every day, but she was cognitive of the changes in her mind, and felt afraid. I will never forget that afternoon. I have been fortunate that no one in my family has this disease, but I've seen the affect it has on caregivers, family, friends, and the person with the disease. I would love all the help I can get raising money toward this worthy cause. I have a web page set up to receive donations here. I can also accept mailed checks (made out to the Alzheimer's Association-Maine Chapter). Just send me an email asking for my address to sassy_spice1975 at yahoo dot com. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Today's post brought to you by the letter "B"

Remember the stocking I had to rip back because I messed up on the letter B?
IMG_1501I finally ripped it back last night. The whole process was painless, since I'm using Lamb's Pride, which is pretty sticky. I was horrified when I again forgot to do the middle line of the B again, but I decided to just do it on the next row, and I don't think it came out so bad. The 2006 on the other side looks kinda wonky, but I really think blocking will make it better. I remember the 2005 looking wonky on my other nephew's stocking last year, and blocking helped. I almost cheated and put 2005 on this stocking so they wouldn't know the difference (they're so young now, I doubt they'd remember they got stockings a year apart), but I decided to be honest about it. I have kind of a half-baked plan to make a stocking for a different family member every year. That way I don't get roped into making 15 stockings at once. Hedera is cruising along, and the scarf is progressing nicely. Right now there's an interesting red/pink pattern going on with the scarf. Too bad it'll be behind my neck when I wear it!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bad Bunnies Are Still Cute Bunnies

A crime against knitting has been committed. The details are pretty gruesome. Those with weak constitutions should avert their eyes from the following images.

IMG_1461 IMG_1462

I have my suspicions of course, as to the identity of the guilty party, but no one's coming forward. Well, one party did seem to be beginning the stages of confession, but it turned out she was just after a treat. IMG_1466

I'm looking at this as an opportunity, rather than a setback. I now have the perfect excuse to knit Avast instead!

There is other, non-criminal knitting news. I'm safe to knit again! So I have actual works in progress photos to share! I'm halfway through the heel on Hedera #1, and almost ready to change colors on my Kureyon scarf. I'm a little concerned about my Kureyon scarf. The colors I chose to begin are pretty staid and conservative. They stay within the same three colors or so, just changing shading. For my second half, I chose Kureyon that has a lot more color changes, but still a lot of red. I guess the only way to see what'll happen is to knit it! Hopefully it'll work out. It's been getting steadily colder here, and I am in need of some winter accessories!
IMG_1473 IMG_1469

Friday, September 22, 2006


Have you seen this hat?
p1010014 I went to see the Rolling Stones on Wednesday, and, knowing it would be chilly, brought my beloved Malabrigo hat with me for some added warmth. In the car on the way home, I was horrified to discover that the hat was no longer with me. In a panic, I scrambled all over the moving vehicle, checking under the seat, by the door, even the back seat. No dice. All I can think is that the hat, feeling unloved by the way it was stuffed into my pocket and went unworn, leapt to the beer soaked floor in the hopes it would be found by someone who loved it more. The other option is that the hat, realizing we were leaving early, even before they (surely) played Sympathy for the Devil (the hat's favorite song), jumped to the seat as I turned to leave. Either way, I will never see this hat again. I only hope that some gentle Rolling Stones fan found it, touched it, and put it immediately on their head (which I admit I wouldn't do). I hope a knitter found it. A knitter who knows that Malabrigo must be hand washed, or you risk having a baby helmet. My fear is that my hat, my precious soft little hat, is sitting in a trash can right now, lost and lonely. I'm sorry little hat. I will keep a better eye on your sister (thankfully, I still have plenty of that green Malabrigo to make another.