Thursday, December 04, 2008

So how's that Christmas knitting coming along: The Sequel

I'm pleased and amazed to say that it's coming along just fine. The key is to reduce, reduce, reduce expectations, both in terms of what I can do as a knitter who also wants to have a life, a job, etc. and what the family anticipates receiving. (In other words, I am not knitting a Clapotis and no one is expecting to receive a Clapotis.) I have knitted gifts (can't say what yet, just in case) completed for my brother, his girlfriend, my sister, some friends, and the children of some of my pals over at Go Get Your Jacket. I am not knitting for my husband and son because I knit for them throughout the year. My husband is in charge of taking care of his own family. All I have left to do are quick gifts for my parents, and that shouldn't take long. And that's a good thing, because we just got a Wii, and I expect that will cut down on the knitting time for now.

Woohoo! Go me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Plan of Action

Today:

  1. Clean up yarn
  2. Make Pioneer Woman Butternut Squash
  3. Make cranberry sauce
  4. Clean up yarn
  5. Go to work at yarn store where there is always the danger of buying more yarn
Tomorrow:
  1. Clean up the rest of the yarn
  2. Make Barefoot Contessa sausage stuffing
  3. Clean up for cleaning ladies (wtf, I know)
  4. Panic
What's your plan of action? If you don't have a craft room, what do you do with your yarn if you're having a lot of company?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote!

obamasweater 010
obamasweater 010,
originally uploaded by Marisa Lynn.
I have pretty strong convictions that one should not put political stuff on children's clothing, but I was perusing the projects on Ravelry tagged with "Obama" and this toddler sweater of awesomeness came up. Can you believe the amount of work and craftsmanship that must have gone into this? Amazing.

Go vote, if you haven't already!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Toddler knitting conversation

In between Trick-or-Treaters, I knitted a hat and supervised The Toddler's dinner. He noticed the hat and asked "Henry knit?"

Me: Yes, when you are a bigger boy, you can knit.

H: Henry knit!

Me: What will you knit?

H: Red yarn

Me: But what will you knit with the red yarn?

H: Red. Red Choo-Choos! Henry's yarn.

I leave you with The Reluctant Yoda. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Autumnal

I think I’ve been frogging more than knitting, so I don’t have much to share these days. I had a moment with myself and got real about my knitting basket and the number of WIPs in it. I ripped a few things that I had to admit weren’t going to be finished any time soon, including the lace ribbon scarf I agonized over the yarn choice at the beginning of the summer. Then I re-took my own measurements since my weight has been yo-yoing up and down this year and ripped out all, yes ALL, of my sweaters in progress to be reknit at my current size.

I do have one completed project to share, Jared Flood’s Turn-a-Square hat:

I have matching Turn-A-Square Elizabeth Zimmermann mitered mittens in progress, or at least I did until I realized this morning that I mixed up the order of the decreases.


It’s finally turned crisp and autumnal and I feel like knitting beautiful fall items. On a whim, I whipped out this Halloween-y Mitered Hanging Towel from the new Mason-Dixon book. It’s, uh, supposed to look like candy corn

.

I also have to start a baby gift for a dear friend who is having a girl next month. When I asked her if I could use non-superwash wool, she replied “I’m Polish. We launder well.” That’s music to a knitter’s ears.


This morning, The Toddler looked over at me as I ripped the mittens and said “Mama yarning!” Yarning indeed!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meeting Jared Flood

On Friday, I took a Top-Down class with Jared Flood at Yarns Unlimited. Honestly, I didn't want to go and be all swoon-y and stalker fan-like, but I came home a bigger fan than ever. The beauty and simplicity of his photography shines through in his personality. He's actually kind of shy and nonassuming in a very charming way. I knew he was about 25 years old but I didn't know he'd been knitting seriously for only 4 or 5 years.

He was a patient and kind teacher. We learned two new cast-ons and he came around the class and helped people individually (HE TOUCHED MY HAND, OMG). His taste is impeccable. He passed around a sweater he'd done, a simple V-neck, rolled hem raglan, and it was gorgeous. The class was officially "knitting from the top down," but toward the end, people asked such good questions that it turned into a lovely lecture on seamless knitting as a whole. Everything was firmly grounded in Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmerman, but he knew contemporary designers and offered a lot of information on how to adapt patterns.

Overall, it was lovely. I knew the Walker and Zimmerman stuff in theory but it was incredibly inspirational to see someone who clearly had a passion for that kind of knitting explain and demonstrate it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The "books" part

It’s with a mixture of sadness and exhilaration that I write that the formal “books” part of my books, cats, yarn life has come to an end. At the risk of sounding trite, after a lot of soul-searching, I came to the decision to withdraw from my Ph.D. program. I am grateful for every single class I took, the exceptional lifelong friends I made, the amazing professors who taught me, and the joy of discovering my dissertation project (a subject that I will always love), but in the end, I do not think I am suited to follow an academic path. It’s exciting and scary at the same time to be at this point in my life, but I look forward to seeing what’s next.

Books will always be a great love, particularly now that I can read for pleasure without guilt! As for the yarn part, I’m increasing my hours at the store. I’ll be there most Tuesday afternoons, Friday during the day, and Saturday, with some other days sprinkled in there as needed. It’s a time of transition, and I have to admit, as much as I know that this is the right decision for me and my family, it is closing the door on something that used to be very important to me.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Say Cheese!

I have three somewhat substantial blog subjects floating around in my head, but for now, I'll condense them into three brief talking points. (Have I been watching too much cable news this election season? I just used talking points in a sentence.)

1. I finished the Big Boy version of the Super Natural Stripes sweater for The Toddler. He learned from Elmo's World that the thing to do when you see a camera is to say "CHEESE," so that's the only pose I can get him in these days. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Organic and Dyed Cotton.


2. Here we go again with the MDK Crack. I am still very, very, very bitter that the moths got, of all things, my huge stash of dishcloth cotton, but I managed to salvage some of it. I'm feeling my loss in a big way, though, now that the new Mason-Dixon Knitting book is out, but I was able to come up with this. Miters and dishcloth cotton all in the same project! Woohoo!


3. I Tim Gunned my knitting basket. Did a lot of ripping and frogging. Looks like I'll be reknitting a lot of my sweater projects in a smaller size.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I love my cats, but.....

....not when an unnamed cat throws up all over my Rockin' Sock Club binder! After getting up with The Toddler who woke up early due to a leaky diaper, I came downstairs to find the puke mess. Lesson #1: Don't leave your RSC binder where a cat can get to it. Lesson #2: Be thankful that the binder wipes off easily.

It's 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning. Can I get a do-over?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can you O.D. on Socks that Rock?

Warning: Rockin' Sock Club SPOILER AHEAD!


I've been running around like Cornholio all morning because I received not one but two packages from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.



No, this isn't all mine! After sorting out what Lisa and Michelle ordered, I was left with this.


The Lightweight: Gingerbread Dude, Flower Power, KawKaw, Downpour, Jubilation, and Oma Desala


The Mediumweight: Treehugger, Oregon Clover Honey (which I don't even remember ordering, so my subconscious must have clicked the button), Rook-y, and Rauen.


The September Rockin' Sock Club: Tide Pooling!

It's all I can do not to cast on for anything new, but I'm making myself finish up at least three WIPs first!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I loves the green

I was kitchnering up (is that a word) my Spring Forwards in Smooshy in the Happy Forest colorway and realized I have an awful lot of green sock yarn.





And yet somehow, when I shop, I seem to forget that I have all this green sock yarn at home and immediately pick up the green again. Really, who has this many green socks? Anyone else have a strange fascination with a colorway that you'd never wear in a store-bought sock?

Monday, September 08, 2008

I can haz Ravelry bag?



It's official. I am a knitting bag whore. I've been waiting for months to be at the right place at the right time to score a Ravelry Knitting bag (to the point where Lisabee and I were stalking Very Important Founders of Ravelry last May at Md Sheep and Wool to find out how to get them) and mine finally arrived this morning.

This makes
  • one prized Jordana Paige bag
  • one floral bag purchased at Handmade Arcade last year
  • one huge Md Sheep and Wool bag
  • one bag from the old Pittsburgh Knit and Bead
  • one sock monkey bag from the Chewy Spaghetti Blue Plate Special Club
  • one plain old tote from Target that was supposed to be The Toddler's beach bag
And despite those seven bags, I still coveted and desired a customer's beautiful Namaste bag at the store last week. I need help.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mama's work? Yarn? Buy it?

In other words, The Toddler is explaining that he went to Natural Stitches to choose the yarn for his Tomten jacket. The Toddler is still a fan of The Opinionated Knitter, and keeps leafing through it, chanting "red sweater? red sweater?" So I had my husband bring him in at the end of my shift yesterday so he could see all the reds for himself.

I told him he could choose his red yarn, and he replied "Hmmm," putting his finger to his lips and looking carefully at the yarn. He pointed out various cottons, saying "This is coot [cute]. This is a red one. This is a purple one." I don't know where he got the cute remark; I'm thinking he's been shopping with my sister. But for those of you looking for educational opportunities for your small children, a yarn store is a great place to talk about colors.

His choice, after a consultation with the staff of Natural Stitches and one black bunny visiting for the afternoon, is Cascade 220 Superwash Handpaints in the "cherry pie" colorway, a vibrant mix of reds. I think it will be a lot of fun to knit up as I tackle another Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Top-Down Tuesday

I put the finishing touches on three children's gifts last week, all knit from the top-down. I am loving making garments this way, and I think it will be rare if I ever make a sweater from the bottom up with seams ever again, with so many great alternative construction methods out there.

Girlfriend's Swing Coat Sweater
, made for a new (well, not so new now) big sister in Cascade Sierra, a cotton/wool blend. Cute, cute, cute. I want a grown-up version for me.

This Super-Natural Stripes was knit for her baby brother in three shades of Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, which is my absolute new favorite cotton to knit with.


And finally, this Mossy Jacket for Miss Corinne, made with Malabrigo Merino Worsted.


The last two patterns come from f.pea's free pattern fridays, and while I don't want to diss the patterns because they are so cute and I am thrilled with the final result, I do want to give a heads up to newer knitters. Remember: free blog patterns haven't always been test-knitted to the extent that patterns for sale are (or at least should be) and there might be typos in the stitch counts, or instructions may not be as clear as you'd like them to be. I ran across a few glitches in these two patterns, but because I understood top-down construction, they weren't a problem for me.

I had a pretty relaxing holiday weekend full of knitting. I worked Saturday and Monday at the store, and learned an important lesson: don't rearrange and fluff the pretty alpaca roving when you're wearing black pants! Sunday I got together with a few of my knitting peeps, where I learned another valuable lesson: don't drink too much coffee when casting on for a top down sweater or you might forget to mark for something important, oh say, a shoulder. Since The Toddler is not a World War I veteran, I had to frog the whole thing and start over so he'd have two good arms in his new sweater. Hope everyone else had a nice weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tomten?

Is anyone -- particularly the moms of The Toddler's real life toddler peeps -- interested in doing a Tomten Jacket KAL? Since The Toddler asked for a "wed one" [ahem, red] after perusing Elizabeth Zimmermann's The Opinionated Knitter, I've been studying the pattern and thinking of yarn possibilities. I don't have enough thick red worsted in my stash but at work today, I considered:

this Merino 5 Print



or this Cascade 220 Superwash Paint


My other idea is to wait until the new shipment of Dream in Color Classy comes in and hope for some Lipstick Lava (and hope that the batch we get doesn't look this pink).


Thoughts? Anyone else in?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I must be doing something right

I sat down last night to start a Baby Surprise Jacket for Levi, and to my great surprise and delight, The Toddler abandoned Go Dog, Go, and The Little Engine That Could and became enthralled with Elizabeth Zimmermann's The Opinionated Knitter. He loved it! He pointed out all the babies and the mamas and the dadas and the grandmas. He talked about all the colors of the sweaters in the pictures. He asked for a red sweater after seeing the Tomten jackets, so I guess I have to find some red yarn. I had to pry him away from the book so he could take a bath. I'm just tickled to death that he enjoyed it so much.

I'm whipping through some socks and finishing up some baby gifts this week. Just a reminder, if you have entered the Summer of Socks and Lace contests at Natural Stitches, the deadline to bring your projects to the store to be weighed and entered is this Monday, Labor Day. I'll be there Saturday and Monday, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the entries.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Picking myself back up

I'm not part of the Ravelry Olympics, but I cast on for these Spring Forward socks on Friday night as I watched the opening ceremonies of the 2008 games. The yarn is the July selection of the Rockin' Sock Club -- these are really not my colors, but I'm enjoying the yarn and making peace with the blue spiral pooling, which seems is what the yarn wants to do. It's a fast, fast knit and the lace is easy to memorize and read as you go.

As for my online silence, well, all I can say is that it was so much worse after all. We've been battling moths of all kinds for weeks, and I've lost a lot of finished objects and some stash. The upside is that it's really, really made me reconsider my yarn buying habits (yes, again) and I realized that I need to enjoy what I have. Yet I wouldn't wish this on my worst knitting nemesis, if I had a knitting nemesis, that is. Wish us luck in getting rid of this problem for good. I'm already on a first name basis with half the employees of Terminex already!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It could have been soooo much worse, I guess

We had a bug infestation in our rice recently (lesson learned: those big bags of rice Costco aren't such a good deal after all; better to buy small quantities and keep them stored in glass containers). So that made me a teensy bit paranoid about my stash, and I decided to take a look yesterday.

It's a good thing I did. No, my stash hasn't been eaten through entirely, but I was forced to confront The Shame of My Stash. See, long ago, before my wedding even, I bought a very expensive Colinette AbFab Throw kit at the height of their popularity. If you remember those, you remember how expensive they were. Anyway, I bought it and then abandoned the project about six inches into it. I know, I know. I never even entered it into my Ravelry Stash or Project page. I just stuffed it in its original plastic bag in the bottom of my cupboard and pretended it didn't exist. Guess which plastic bag had a hole in it? Guess which project had the tell-tale signs of, gulp, moths, on one of the skeins of yarn?

To my credit, I didn't freak out. I brushed off the visible moth....stuff outside, put the offending project in a new plastic bag, sealed it, and put it in Time Out in the deep freezer in the basement. The rest of my stash appears to be unharmed. I vacuumed the living daylights out of the stash cupboard, put in a ton of cedar blocks, and made sure everything was securely packaged in ziplocks. The sweater quantities are okay. The Precious Sock Yarns are tightly wrapped and then stored in plastic boxes with snap-on lids. I think it will all be all right. I hope.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A knitter's rite of passage

Was it Debbie Bliss who admonished that handknits can be absolutely ruined by a poor choice of button? Whoever it was, I totally took that to heart, and so projects that are otherwise finished languish in my knitting bag because I haven't found the best, 100% most perfect button for them. Thus, I've had this Baby Surprise Jacket all but done for weeks and weeks until finally, I sucked it up and picked out buttons at regular old Jo-Ann Fabrics.

It's not bad for a first attempt at an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern (even though I totally used a spreadsheet to keep track of where I was on the pattern and sent several desperate, frantic e-mails to poor Michelle who had taken the Baby Surprise class at Natural Stitches). My biggest observation is that I understand why The Yarn Harlot only does the top three buttons, as I think the way the fabric pulls, at least on mine, wants the sweater to be open at the bottom. I didn't do any of the optional finishing work since the garter edges look crisp and tidy. I can definitely see myself doing more of these....spreadsheet in hand, of course.

The yarn, Brooks Farm Solo, was an absolute dream to work with, very soft and squishy and the hand-dyed colors blend beautifully. The DK weight means this is a newborn sized sweater, so I'm not sure if any of the summer babies will be getting this one. The yarn is also not superwash, so it's definitely for someone who knits and understands how to care for natural fibers.

And finally, the yarn is purple and brown. Is that gender neutral? Talk amongst yourselves. I'm going to be doing a blog post for Go Get Your Jacket about gender neutral knitting for children soon, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Okay, really, this is out of hand.

New Knitty came out this morning! Usually I see a lot of things I like that I'll queue for later. Now there must be something in the air because I love these socks and want to cast on for them RIGHT NOW. I think part of the appeal is an easily memorized lace pattern (I have three pairs of Boring Socks on the needles right now...come to think of it, the fact that I have three pairs on the needles at the same time is probably a clue I have no business looking at sock patterns just now); part of the appeal is that it's written specifically for Socks that Rock, so it takes the yarn's tendency to pool into account. All my lovely STR from Md Sheep and Wool is calling me...... Must, not. cast. on. Must. not. cast. on.

Work continues on my February Lady Sweater. I've lost count of how many times I've cast on for this, and I'll have to rip and cast on once more, since Version 2.0 came out yesterday. It's definitely worth it, though. I remarked on Ravelry that this is the perfect Liz Lemon sweater: smart, cute, hip without trying to be hip. I can't wait to wear it. And hey, we have a Ravelry Group KAL for the sweater, so come join us! And stop by the store if you're making this because a bunch of us are working on it there as well.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Everyone else is doing it

The February Lady Sweater was in 500-something queues when I saw and queued it this morning. When I got to work and showed it to Kelli, it was at 600-something. By the time Lisa showed up and cast on for it, the number had risen to 777. As of now, 6:00 PM, it's in 937 queues. Is this some kind of new record?

Natural Stitches had a run today of Dream In Color Classy because of this sweater. I bought some In Vino Veritas for my Lady Sweater; Lisa bought Dusky Aurora for hers. And then! We got to meet PAKnitWit from Ravelry, who brought in her socks to be measured for our Summer of Socks contest; she took one look at the pattern and bought some DIC for her own green Lady Sweater. We love to enable. It's a KAL after all!

As if the Startitis weren't bad enough

Jeez. I love to start projects, but I rarely see big projects, like sweaters, that make me shriek and exclaim "I must cast on for that RIGHT NOW." Usually I need to ruminate on them, look at the patterns for awhile, see how other people interpret them, think carefully about yarn choice, etc. etc. etc.

Until today.

I logged onto Ravelry and hit my "Friend Activity" tab, which is seriously greater than Facebook and Myspace and all those other things put together, and saw an adaptation of Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Baby Sweater on Two Needles for grownups in, like, five other people's queues. It's the February Lady Sweater!

I need yarn. It's a good thing I work at a LYS. It's a good thing I work in a LYS today, like in an hour. Anyone up for a KAL?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Srsly? My knitting has gotten away from me

Okay, srsly? How many WIPs are on that sidebar over there? I have to finish a lot of those for gifts in the next few weeks, plus I need to start another gift for a baby who should be here any day now. And I haven't even started any of my Rockin' Sock Club projects. And yet this morning I had a hankering to cast on ANOTHER project: The Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty. I need more market bags. More importantly, I need to do something, anything with the humungous storage container of Sugar and Cream and Peaches and Creme from my days of the Mason-Dixon Bib and Warshrag Crackwhore Period, and wouldn't this be a great way to use some of it up?

I think, no, I know this is the worst case of Startitis I have ever had. Help.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Knitting for children

I've been "invited" to be a guest blogger for a new blog, Go Get Your Jacket, in which a bunch of us take a step back and scrutinize the clothes, gear, and stuff in general that we buy for our small children. I've done a few entries so far, but I thought readers of this blog would be interested in my first of a planned series of posts about knitting for children.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Speaking of color

WARNING: ROCKIN' SOCK CLUB SPOILER AHEAD




The latest shipment of Socks that Rock certainly didn't skimp on the color. The colorway studies continue, this time in purple.



Check out my Flickr photostream for better pictures. I love this and was saddened to read in the Dyer's Notes that this is probably the last color study for the club this year.

Better?

Thanks, all, for confirming what my gut was telling me. The Chewy Spaghetti yarn didn't want to be a lace ribbon scarf. Perhaps it wants to be a pair of Monkeys?

Take 2 is knit in Gloss, a wool/silk blend fingering weight from KnitPicks. The Lace Ribbon pattern is fun to knit. I haven't exactly memorized the pattern, but it's very easy to "read" the knitting and take a quick glance at the chart to remind myself where I am. I have a feeling there are a lot of these scarves in my future: it uses up sock yarn and makes a great gift.

And it's orange! Orange has never been one of "my colors" (too close to yellow, which has never been and I can say with certainty never will be one of my colors) but recently I've been drawn to it. Has that ever happened to you? I usually go on "color jags" and pick up certain colors like a magpie (see my haul of green sock yarn, for example). This fairly recent orange (extending to pinky-orange and red-orange) binge has really surprised me.






PS: I'm sure you all have heard this by now, but if you haven't, I was saddened and stunned to hear that the Malabrigo mill caught on fire earlier this week.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Your honest opinion, please



Yellow is not one of my colors, so I'm having a hard time seeing this project objectively. Is this working for you? The pattern is a narrow version the Lace Ribbon Scarf from the current issue of Knitty (sized down because the yarn was pooling really badly with the original number of repeats). The yarn is the Chewy Spaghetti Blue Plate Special for February 2008, seen in its original condition here:


The whole point of a club, at least for me, is to work with colors and fibers that you might not have chosen on your own. I'm already breaking my personal sock club rules by not knitting the pattern that came with the yarn. This yarn up close is stunning, a silk and wool blend with a beautiful sheen and a soft hand. I love it. But....yellow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Noro Socks

The Noro socks have been slow-going, mainly because they've been my downtime project to work on at Natural Stitches. Yesterday, though, I decided to push through so I could wear them to work on Saturday.

Forgive the bad picture on this cloudy day, but it's enough to give you an idea of the vibrance of the colors. I've read conflicting information on various Ravelry boards about the color repeats, but mine was more than enough to do a matching pair. I used 2/3 of the skein to make socks for my size 9 feet and have enough to make a third matching sock, should the mood strike me (for the record, no I don't think the mood will strike me to make a third sock, but you never know).

Overall, what is lovely about Noro is what works against it as a sock yarn. However, working with the yarn was a pleasant surprise. Part of the beauty of Noro Kuryeon is the rustic texture, but that doesn't always equal a pleasing fabric that can be worn next to the skin and it certainly doesn't have the squooshy, springy, smooshy quality I've come to love in sock yarn. While the yarn itself was rough as it went through my fingers, it knitted up into a surprisingly soft fabric. I plan to soak the socks in Eucalan before I wear them, but I honestly don't think it's necessary to do so. They do, though, need a good blocking, but that's because my inexperience with the Magic Loop technique caused the creases you see in the picture.

The biggest problem I had with this yarn was the extremes of the thick and thin, to the point where the yarn verged on slubs. I had one unfortunately placed slub on the heel turn of my first sock; in retrospect, I should have just cut the yarn, but I was worried about disrupting the color repeats, and I hate weaving in extra ends, particularly on socks.

Really, though, these socks are stunning. I plan to make another pair for my mother, and I'm excited to see the Noro Silk Garden Sock when it comes out later this year. Martha has already ordered bags and bags of it, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I finished the Christmas Knitting!

Christmas 2007, that is.

Actually, I didn't even make my Mother's Day goal. But it's done. The Clap is finished!

As for my other "goal," you may have noted that I wore nothing hand-knitted to Maryland Sheep and Wool. My Flair is languishing in my knitting basket. I'll finish it, really, I will.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Maryland Sheep and Wool Wrap-up

Happiness is an armload of Socks that Rock yarn.

Standing in line at The Fold was not how I planned to spend MDSW, but I finally understand what all that chatter about “yarn fumes” is about, because I was high on something when I got swept into that line. How could anyone resist the colors, the smooshiness of it all?

It’s a testament to the general good hearted nature of knitters that the line to pay for the STR at the fold went out of the barn and stretched outside down past the next barn and no one seemed to be just grabbing an armful of sock yarn and making a break for it. Instead, everyone got her yarn in an orderly fashion, took it outside, and stood patiently in line. Some people knit, other people had their arms too full of sock yarn to knit, but everybody was in good cheer and chatted pleasantly with their neighbors in line. It was a surprisingly lovely experience.

As for the rest of the haul:

From Brooks Farm, assorted colorways of Solo, their wonderful DK single ply

From Tess, well, a lot, two skeins of sock yarn, two skeins of laceweight merino (dude, I don’t even knit lace), and two absolutely divine skeins of Silk and Ivory, a gorgeous silk and merino blend.

From Just Our Yarns, some green cashmere laceweight (again, dude, I don’t know how to knit lace).

From Cloverhill, a bunch of indie dyer sock yarn

From Spirit Trail, two skeins of beautiful sock yarn

And from the Barefoot Spinner, a stunning skein of handspun, hand dyed sock yarn (and if anyone has a tag from her yarn, please weigh in on the comments, as I don’t know how much yardage I have).

It was a great time, if not a bit overwhelming. Ideally, I think the perfect day would have been to have Saturday’s selection with Sunday’s crowds, as Saturday was a mob scene, but things looked pretty picked over the next day. But in short, A++++ would attend festival again!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Random stuff

If you're as perplexed by some of The Drama on Ravelry lately as I am, check this out for a most excellent laugh.

And now, for a "book" part of this blog, I recently became an "advance reader" (actually, I'm not sure what my title is) for Random House. This means that every so often, I'll get some advance reader copies or uncorrected proofs of upcoming books in the mail, and in return, I am to blog about them. If you click on the Good Reads widget on the side of the blog, you'll see a link to the non-fiction selection, The Billionaire's Vinegar. At some point, I'll post an actual review.

Also at some point, I want to blog about my Noro sock experience thus far. If you've knit with this, I'd love to hear your comments.

Finally, it's primary day in Pennsylvania! Be sure to vote!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mindless Garter Stitch....

...can be really beautiful and soothing. See?


(Lucy the Cat would like to point out that she is very beautiful and soothing as well.)

The first is the bodice of Juliet, knit in this gorgeous red colorway of Malabrigo I picked up at the Pittsburgh Knitting and Crochet Festival. The second is the beginning of my Knitting Rite of Passage, my first Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket, knit in Brooks Farm Solo, also purchased at the Knitting and Crochet Festival. (Please note that not only am I knitting from the stash, I am knitting with Precious Things from the stash.)

Both projects are really beautiful, but both have been a wee tad bit stressful in different ways. The Juliet is knit top down, and the beauty of that method is that you can try on as you go. So I tried on.....and realized that the bust measurement given by most designers must assume that the arms are toned. Um, mine are not, and so the underarms of the bodice are way too tight. At this point, I have to decide if I just rip back a few rows and continue with the increases. Or I can frog the whole thing and knit the large, but then possibly not be able to make the sweater as long as I'd like it. (And it turns out that the downside of knitting with Precious Things from the stash is that you can't just run down to the store and get more yarn if you run out.)

As for my Baby Surprise, well, I was surprised that getting started is a lot more complicated than it looks. I got confused by the third row. After a frantic email exchange and a phone call from a Concerned Michelle, I figured it out (the text of one email from me was, and I quote: "*$_)_)&$^#*#!!!!!") and am now rolling along with the help of a cheatsheet from Ravelry. Does it still count as a successful rite of passage if you use a cheatsheet?

I leave you with a delightful "perk" of my new job. I was the first to open the box of Noro Kureyon Sock when it arrived, and I bought the first one. Isn't it pretty? I'm Magic Looping for the first time, so wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love/Hate

I love the color and stitch definition of my Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton that I'm using for my Flair. I hate how hard it is on my hands as I'm using a size 6 needle to get 4.5 stitches to the inch; I can do only one or two rows at a time before I have to put it down and give my hands a break.

I love my KnitPicks Harmony Options set, for the most part, really, I do. But I hate that a wooden needle part pulled out of the metal join in the middle of a row. I was going to frog my Talia anyway because I'm not sure I'm doing the YOs properly in the purl rows, but having the needle fall off mid-row was the last straw.

I love Ravelry, but my goodness, people, the drama on the boards lately.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cat's out of the bag

I can finally end my radio silence on all the Secret Knitting I've been working on. The last project was delivered yesterday.

Presto Chango, knit in Punta del Este Yarns South American Cotton for Peanut Sprague. Presto Chango is a really fun knit and the lace panel is surprisingly easy. The yarn is stunning with the depth provided by the space dying process, but I apologize to Bethie in advance for the hand-wash only care instructions!










Miss Dashwood, knit for Miss Sophia, who is finally home! Love, love, love this pattern and love it even more knit in Malabrigo. However, it took me three hours to cast on -- yes, that's right, three hours! -- because I'd never done a picot cast-on before. The K4TOGTBL (srsly, who thinks this up?) round nearly did me in so I skipped the bobbles in favor of a seed stitch band.




Seyi's hat, for Miss Seyi's first birthday. The pattern is the Children's Cotton Hats from Last Minute Knitting Gifts. It's become my go-to gift, and yet.....dudes, this pattern is all jacked up. I can't get gauge with the yarn it calls for and the eyelet holes are messed up. Why isn't this in the LMKG errata? Still, cute, cute, cute.










And I think that's it for the Secret Knitting for awhile. I have a baby gift coming up in June, but I feel pretty confident that the recipients don't read knitting blogs. I'm going to challenge myself with a Baby Surprise Jacket or the Pea Pod baby set. And other than the *$%_@+ Christmas 2007 knitting (yes, 2007) I have to finish, I have time to knit for me, which is a pleasant surprise.

For those of you who don't know, I just started work at Natural Stitches. I'm there Mondays in the daytime for now, so stop by and see me!