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


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!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What Not to Wear: Md Sheep and Wool Edition

So, what does one wear to a knitting festival? Seriously, I’ve never been to a major one, just the Pittsburgh Knitting Festival. Poking around on Ravelry and talking to real life knitters yields two schools of thought on the upcoming Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival:
  1. OMG, a knitting festival, I have to wear hand knits! How else will everyone know I’m a knitter? (Um, by the sack of yarn you just bought hanging off your arm?) Seriously, this fascinates me. Is it a desire to show off a little? (And I’m not saying this is a bad thing because knitting can be darn hard work and of course you should be proud to wear what you make.) Is it to establish some kind of street cred? I really want to know. I’m participating in this by casting on for Flair, hoping I can get it done in time to wear to the festival. But school #2 gives me pause….
  2. Wear your precious handknits? Are you insane? This school of thought implies to me that this is not a simple trip to see sheep and buy yarn. No, we are preparing for a great journey to the wilderness. We must pack a sherpa with water, wear good hiking shoes, dress in careful layers, and be prepared to get really, really dirty. In all seriousness, this seems like excellent advice because I don’t want to ruin my handknit socks in the mud, I don’t want to pay inflated prices for water, and I don’t want to get overheated in my handknits and pass out, therefore missing the booth with the Socks That Rock.

So is there a common ground for these two schools of thought? What do you wear to a knitting festival?