Friday, July 28, 2006

Less heat, please.

I know the incredible heat has been the topic of blog-land for the last couple of weeks. Isn't it odd that it seems as though no matter where each knitter hails from, they are experiencing a heat wave? Could it be that we just find heat more insufferable because it interferes with our craft?

It's not interfering with mine. Much. Here's the tank so far:


The stitches do stick to the needles sometimes, which annoys me to no end, but I soldier on. The hardest part of this tank is its slow growth. That's stockinette striped with reverse stockinette. I'm not winning any races. But the finished product is so cute, I just look at the cheery photo in the magazine when I need a lift. (It's the first and third photo.) The sunlight did the color of this yarn no favors. It's actually a pale green, kinda minty, kinda sage-y. I don't usually wear or knit with green, but I find myself being more drawn to it lately.

I haven't cast on for the second Jaywalker yet, because the cotton tank is so much more brainless. My plan is to at least get the cuff (the part I like least) done this weekend. I can't wait to wear these projects!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Welcome to the Jungle!

I've finished the first Tiger sock!


I made just a couple of changes. Firstly, I substituted the dreaded kfb for m1 left and m1 right. This changed the pattern somewhat, as now the decrease section has one raised stitch the length of the sock, and the increase has two raised stitches, but I prefer that to the bars. I did a short row heel instead of flap (oh, how I loathe picking up stitches!), and I also did my first short row toe! I closed the toe with a zig-zag cast off, which was really fun to do, but leaves an obvious ridge. I'll do the second of the pair the same way, and then I'm going to kitchener. The last thing I did was to make the bottom of the sock in plain stockinette. I didn't like the idea of those decreased stitches rubbing my sweet little feet. I graciously took a picture of the bottom so you could see the difference the stitch pattern makes to the striping pattern of the yarn.


Now I like this yarn well enough, but I really think the wild zig zags add a little something, don't you? I don't think I would be so enamored of this sock if it were plain stripes. Plus, the tight stitch pattern makes the most comfortable sock ever to grace my foot. It hugs every curve, without being restrictive. LOVE this pattern!

I got the heel and toe pattern from an online, subscriber-only Interweave Knits pattern, "Priscilla's Dream Socks." They are my new favorite short-row heels (and toes). Instead of the annoying and, at times, confounding "wrap," that pattern has you do a yarnover. MUCH easier, both to execute and to pick up.

After finishing the first sock and admiring it for awhile, I decided not to cast on for the second sock straight away (playing with fire, I know), and I casted on for a Rebecca tank. It's just a few rows right now, though. I'll take some pictures when there's something more than a ruffle!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bad Blogger!

I forgot my camera cord at home, so I can't show you the fabulousness of Grumperina's Jaywalkers in Opal Tiger yarn. As I suspected, the zig-zagging of the sock pattern creates a nice, tiger-y effect. I am loving the pattern! It's fun to do, and as usual with self-striping yarn, I love watching the pattern emerge. I'm already eyeing the sock stash and wondering what other yarns I have would be suitable for this pattern.

Next time I'll remember my camera cord! I'm still looking for a suitable pattern for the Sirdar Breeze. I can't seem to get any more than 5 stitches per inch, and all the patterns I find need either 6 per inch or 4. Fortunately, Bonne Marie has many patterns in that gauge. Perhaps I'll do another ChicKami, or maybe Sitcom Chic (I've been meaning to make that for awhile now!). Another pattern I've been meaning to make (and already own) is Gigi, but Cutaway is pretty cute, too. Oh, decisions! (Can you tell I'm a Bonne Marie fan?)

I hate to have an entirely pictureless post, so I'll go ahead and tack on some belated photos from my yarn expedition to WEBS with Amy.

My companions, Amy and her incredibly adorable and well behaved son, J. I think her baby-carrying device is brilliant! Not only does she get to keep in close contact with her child, but look at all the yarn she can carry with two hands versus one! Amy's always been a multi-tasker.

The spoils. See that wee pile off to the right? That's my stuff. The rest is all Amy's! She was a shopping dynamo! Please keep in mind that she was really Christmas shopping, she really isn't a crazy yarn hoarder (that's my job).

Next time I post I'll show those fabulous tiger pictures. And maybe, just maybe, that Sirdar will tell me what it wants to be.

Friday, July 14, 2006

C'est finit!

So, I decided that simple really was best and just did a single crochet all the way around the afghan. It was my first time crocheting!


The blanket is Mrs. Cooper approved. She is visible in the lower left corner of the photo. From the second that I draped the afghan over that chair, she was under it, on top of it, and generally sniffing it! I hope the recipients don't mind a little bunny hair. I suppose I could always say it's some stray angora....

With that behemouth of a project now behind me, I spent last night and this morning choosing my next project. There are a couple of strong contenders, but in this round of "What Do I Knit?," I decided to swatch first and pick a pattern second. The winning yarn is Sirdar Breeze, which is a dk weight cotton/acrylic blend. Since finishing Green Gable, I've been a little obsessed with making more fun summer tops. Which is good, since I also have a decent stash of cotton and cotton/blend yarns! I'm pretty sure I'm going to find a pattern tonight.

It was such a strange sensation when I finished off the afghan and found myself without a project. Usually I have something to finish, or a project I can't wait to start, but last night I went through all of my pattern binders and a bunch of my magazines and came up empty. That's the truth in why I swatched first. I just wanted to knit something, but didn't know what! (Even though I feel I SHOULD be trying to get ahead and make a Christmas stocking for my nephew or mittens and hats. Try getting excited about wool while you're sweating sitting still!)

Monday, July 10, 2006

She's Done!

I finished my Green Gable, and wore it on a yarn adventure on Saturday!


I went to two yarn stores on Saturday with my partner in crime, and in each store, a staff member commented on my sweater. What was curious, was that each of them asked what modifications I made, as though it were a given that I would make some. The only mods I made were to change the kfb increase in the raglan to a bar increase, and add three extra rows of ribbing to the bottom. I may have also changed a k2tog to a ssk in the waist shaping, but I can't quite remember. I used just about two balls of Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Candy Blue, and got gauge with a US5 needle. This sweater is officially the most comfortable thing in my closet. It's lightweight, and fits just right. I love it!

As for the yarn adventure (pictures will have to come later, since I'm a bad monkey and have not yet taken them off the camera), we went to the infamous WEBS! Amy was smart and brought a detailed list of projects she wants to make (for Christmas! Is this girl sick or what?!), with yarn requirements. I decided to fly by the seat of my pants, cavalierly ignoring Amy's post about being paralyzed by choice when she first went to the shop. I was completely shell-shocked. Everywhere I turned, yarn! Whenever I thought I had finally seen it all, there was more! There was yarn I had never seen in person before! There was an entire back room of yarn on sale! I got a bag of Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton in a deep chocolate hue, and a bag of Jaeger Matchmaker in pumpkin. I also picked up two pattern books (a Dale of Norway and an Elsebeth Lavold), some Dale Hauk for some badass fingerless gloves, two beautiful hanks of ArtYarns Supermerino for socks, and a ball of Meilenweit in a charcoal gray. The staff was great and the store is incredible! It was well worth getting up at 5 am on a Saturday!

After some sustenance, we were ready to hit Amy's LYS, Wild and Woolly. Now, you have to keep in mind that no store can possibly compare to WEBS, so I wasn't immediately taken aback by this store. In retrospect, however, I can safely say that I do wish Wild and Woolly were one of my local yarn stores. They have a nice selection, especially in the Debbie Bliss and Rowan lines. I didn't buy anything there, but I was kind of kicking myself for not picking up some Jaeger Siena while I was there. Now I will have to see if I can find it here.

The icing on the cake was when I went back to Amy's house and she GAVE me a hank of cherished Socks that Rock! I fondled it about fifteen times yesterday, but want to carefully consider my sock pattern options before winding it up.

I spent yesterday trying different borders on the afghan... three in all. One of them was... okay... but I'm having trouble with turning the corners on a patterned border. The short rows I tried were not working. Perhaps mitred corners would work better?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Frustration... but not really

So... I'm sure you expected to see a finished Green Gable by now, and, to be honest, so did I! There was the tiniest of issues, though, when I tried her on and she was just about two inches too short. Which is funny, because I knit the body of the sweater the same length as my favorite t-shirt. But, what can you do. I'm halfway through picking out the sewn bind-off so I can frog and knit again. I would be more than half through, but what with the birthday celebration and 4th of July barbecue, I haven't had much time for knitting. [insert sad face here.]

There has, however, been time for shopping! I don't have any photos of my haul, but suffice it to say, my pattern library is finally catching up with my yarn stash. On my birthday, I hit Patternworks, where they were having a terrific sale! I picked up a Rebecca magazine, a felted bunny pattern, a Jaeger book, and a booklet of Christmas stocking patterns. I believe there are twelve patterns. I also picked up some Patons Fresco because it was only $1.99 a ball and I think it'll make a fun top.

The week before my birthday, I checked out a new yarn shop that isn't exactly local, but it's close enough! It's called Purl Diva, and the owner has a blog too! Fun fact: before the store was a store, I considered it for an apartment! But it was just a little too run down, and the idea of dealing with traffic every morning when I had to go to work was too much. A visit to the store is well worth the traffic though, and the space is no longer dark and run down! She has ample seating both inside and out, and the chairs inside have the sweetest flowered pillows. I envisioned meeting up with my knitting pal for a nice afternoon of shopping and knitting. She has a nice selection of yarn, including Cherry Tree Hill, which I bought, and ArtYarns Regal Silk, which I did not. Added bonus: When I told her about Socks that Rock, she said she would look into it! I'm telling you, if I could find that yarn in the area, I would make a yarn shop owner one wealthy lass. So if you're ever in the area, make a visit. You can't miss it, there's a huge lavender sign on the front of the building that says YARN.

I'm hoping that the next time I post I'll be wearing Green Gable. I've been told that except for the length, it looks very pretty.