Wednesday, February 28, 2007

KFKS no more

I had high hopes for the KFYS (Knit From Your Stash), for those not in the know, but I failed miserably this year. So I've decided no more. Joanne had the right idea of not feeling guilt about buying yarn and I've decided to adopt this same attitude. Even with some stash busting efforts last year and then lots of yarn buying, I found that I used more than I bought and that's all I can really hope for. I'm good with that. The yarn that did me in was a purchase of Touch Me. I finally caved and got some Touch Me to make Vintage Velvet from Scarf Style.

I also did finish the My So-Called Scarf and added fringe. I'll try to get a picture up by the week's end. I've also been working on finishing up the Fair Isle Jazz scarf, as it needed something on the bottom. I tried making the tassels, but apparently I am a bonehead, as I couldn't get it to work right, so instead I'm also fringing the scarf, but with the multi-colored strands from all colors used in the scarf. I really like the design of the scarf and love that I did this Fair Isle work, but the scarf is really not functional. It's far too wide to be used or worn with my coats and jackets, so I'm not sure what the purpose of it was, other than to be completed. Which is not terribly bad, but I was so excited to finish it and then realized it's just not functional for my day-to-day wear. Hence, why I bought yarn to make the My So-Called Scarf. I just need to block it and it will be ready for its debut.

The Rasta hat is nearing completion. I've decided to work the brim on the hat, but I'm a bit unclear on the instructions. Once I get it figured out, I shall be done with it.

Although I participated in KFYS, buying sock yarn was still allowed as part of my rules. Well, I think I really overdid it in 1.5 months time.

I bought (for the first time) some yarn from Adrian of Hello Yarn and oh, my goodness, the package and everything was beautiful. It came in a Priority Mail box, but with chocolate tissue paper covering the yarn, which was enclosed in clear plastic bag with a postcard thanking for my order and a pattern for socks as well.

The color is called Staggering and it certainly lives up to its name. It is staggering to me in its beauty. I thought that perhaps I shouldn't buy it, but then a lot of her items go fast and so I went for it. I'm very happy that I did. I love it. I may even attempt a pair of Jaywalkers, but I'm not sure of the sizing of that sock. It calls for 74 or 86 stitches and I've never knit a pair of socks for myself with that many stitches, but I recall that there were alternate sizing out there (in blogland), so we will see.

The next beauty is sock yarn purchased from Fearless Fibers. Can I tell you that I love this stuff? The color is Brick House, and it's sort of muted and vibrant reds/oranges. I love it. It's 100% merino wool superwash and it contains 550 yards! People this is a great deal! I'm always excited about a perceived bargain. So I'm sorry if I come off a bargain 'ho, but I truly love a great deal. This stuff, $14.50 for 550 yards, you can knit a beautiful scarf or socks out of this. You can even knit thigh-highs with the yardage. Yeah, I'm pretty excited. I'm actually planning on knitting a Forest Canopy Shawl with it.

Some friends and I went in on a box of Socks That Rock and basically placed one large order of Socks That Rock. I splurged and got two skeins, one in the colorway Nodding Violet and the other in January One colorway.

Lastly and certainly not least, were some splurges with Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn. This stuff comes in some great colorways. One of the main reasons I splurged on this stuff, while I love the colorways, it does retail for $20. Not bad, the price, but the yardage is about 300 yards. Not very much. But my LYS had their annual end of year sale and with 35% off, it was less dear. First I bought one skein, then a few weeks later 2 more skeins jumped in my hand when I was returning some other yarn.

Flanking the Colinette on both sides, are the two skeins of STR. In the middle, there is Colinette Castagna, Blue Parrot and Copper Beech. I'm ready to dive in and knit tons of socks now.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

So-Called Quick Knitting

I never got around to posting about the projects I started last weekend over the holiday weekend that I thought I might get finished. Well, that pipe dream never came to fruition. Although I did start two new projects, not so much are they finished, even a week later. Hmm. So much for that thought.

One of the projects I started was the My So-Called Scarf pattern in some new-to-me, Sheep Shop Yarn Company yarn is colorway F79, should you happen to check out the link. I love the muted brown with copper highlights peeking through. The scarf is a lot further along that the picture below shows as I've had made more knitting time as I would like to finish this scarf.

I have an older scarf, about 4-5 years old, made when I first starting knitting from some discontinued Noro. It was a solid color coppery-brown wool with white angora bits. See the dirty word, angora. I completely forgot about this and wore the scarf the other day as it perfectly matches a brown leather blazer/jacket I have and I love the combo together. Once again, the stupid angora gave me horrible fits and I felt so sick to my stomach, I really thought I was coming down with something. Then it dawned on me (and yes, I know I am slow) that it was the angora in the scarf. Since I knit this scarf so long ago and at that time, I didn't have an issue with angora, it totally slipped my mind that this scarf might have angora or could be a problem when I jauntily threw it around my neck. That sort of hastened my need for a new scarf, although I don't wear them that often. Sort of screwy that theory of "needing" a new scarf, but I do want one and feel the need to wear one with the never-ending snow that is called winter in these parts. I've also discovered that I really don't like long scarves. I'm not one of those people that wants a scarf to wrap around my neck 2-3 times. I'm rarely ever temperate in temperature, always too hot or too cold. Hence if it's cold outside and I've got a wool scarf wrapped around my neck a few times, I will get to hot and rip it off. I like a scarf to crossover my neck perhaps, but not wrapped, or it can just hang down, but not wrapped. The first skein of this yarn yielded 31 inches, but this scarf will not be 62 inches. At last measurement, the scarf was 52 inches, it may make it to 54 inches and then a bindoff and some fringe and this baby will be through. I can't wait.

The second new project is a Rasta Hat from Knitty Gritty. Shannita Williams-Alleyne is the designer of this pattern and I absolutely adore it. I've been working on it in small snatches of time as well. I'm using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and this yarn is absolutely delicious to work with, so soft. As this pattern requires 8-10 inches of length for the lion's mane of hair I have, I've got a bit to go with it, but I think it will be great. I can't wait to wear this as well!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Weekend Knitting (Or An Ode to Sock Knitting)

Is it just me or when faced with a long weekend you think that you can get something finished? That you can start a project and finish it in that time frame? Not that it isn't possible, certainly. But perhaps because I feel a bit stymied b/c my knitting time is scarcer than before. Also the cardigan that I am knitting is a top-down one, so it doesn't go as fast as a pullover that is in the round. You switch back and forth with purling and knitting and having all of the body stitches on one long needle. It goes more slowly and that is a bit taxing. I know in the end I will love the sweater, but it certainly doesn't go as fast. Speed is not the end result of my knitting, but I'm used to it going quicker than it is. Each row takes 10-12 minutes, so progress, she is slow. It's a good thing I like that project. It does mean that whenever I start Ariann, I will need to remember that slowness thing.

With that in mind, I've been really interested in a)making smaller projects and b)a quick project. So far, I've cast on for another pair of socks! (I know, I have half a sock in the cat's paw lace to complete, the mate to the Monkey sock, as well as an Opal sock "to-go" in my car for those small moments to knit a row or two). I started to berate myself about having so many socks on the needles or in queue, but what the hey? It's only socks and I do always finish my socks. Those never not get finished and none of these are on a deadline, they are just for my feet, so when I get them done, I'll have more socks for me, except for the Regia Banner socks, those are for M2, but it's not as if he asked for them. Since I'm about to start the toe on this sock, I'm sure I'll be more motivated to work on the cat's paw lace sock to get that foot done and then I will have a completed pair of socks.

Sorry for that whole foray into socks. Yesterday Norma talked about sock knitting and how she doesn't have the thrills and chills that other sock knitters talk about it and it got me to thinking. I don't think that I have thrills and chills, but I do enjoy the finished object so much in the end.

When I first started knitting, I joined a group of knitters that met twice a month at the local Borders on Saturdays. I met a lot of knitters that had been knitting for years and were very experienced. Many of those ladies knit socks at the group meetings and it seemed the perfect project to work on while knitting in public, especially a good stockinette sock! I really enjoy a plain sock. Even though I've ventured into knitting patterned socks, my favorite is my old standby. Once I learned how to knit socks, it's a perfect on-the-go project, perfect in its portability, doesn't take up much space and easy to whip out and knit a row or two. I can knit while waiting, on the train, at group knitting, on the plane, standing in line, waiting in a Dr's office. And when you're finished, a warm, toasty sock that when I wear them make me so happy. They are the bright spot in an otherwise dreary day and looking down at my feet, I get so excited (it's always the little things that make me exceedingly happy) to see something I made. So when I think about what my favorite knitted item is, it's not a sweater I made (although I do have many that I love), but it's socks. Darn, I wish I had a pair on today.

So I'm curious, why do you love knitting socks, if you do? If you don't what is it that turns you off from it? I'll be back a little later this week with the rest of those not-so-quick knitting projects that were started this weekend.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Warm Hands, Hand Warmers

It's been so cold lately here in the Mile High City that some additional layering items have been needed to combat the cold. Enter entry no. 1: The ubiquitous fingerless mitts. I used this pattern, which while good, I should have made it a tad bit longer. I do like them and they were fun to make using Regia Banner Color. I have enough from using one 50 g ball of sock yarn to make a pair of socks (as I bought the yarn for socks, I have 2 50 g balls). I think these socks will be for M2. He already liked the yarn.

I thought about making a hat out of the remaining yarn, but Cyn deterred me from that notion. I still think it would have been fun to make a hat, but I do think the stripes would be much thinner, so I might not like that result if I pursued it.

Oh and thanks for the comments on the last post, although I think some of you might have been confused. The reason the lace is dejected is because of me. I found that using the Angora Tweed yarn that I'm, in fact, allergic to angora, as well as mohair. The hairy yarns and I don't seem to be getting along all that well, although alpaca seems to be fine. I'm just not that keen on all that shedding, but I can use it. I wore an alpaca scarf I have today just to test it out and I suffered no ill effects. The angora yarn will be given away. I left the lace project lying around for almost 1.5 weeks until I finally ripped the other night. Just ripping the yarn and winding it into a hand-wound ball seemed almost too much for me to bear.

In other news, lots of knitting has been happening, but in fits and spurts. Still working on the Top-Down Raglan Cardi, although the progress since the weekend has been nil. I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but back in November I took a new position within my same company. It is still doing customer service, but as an email writer. My position is rotational, so phone time is still required, but there are days where I'm not on the phones and do email instead. This has been a nice change to the work routine, but does slow up my knitting during the day (I know, no one feels for me). This week I've had little to no time to knit during the day and no time to knit in the evening, so I'm suffering from withdrawal.

This past Sunday, I started a new project, Rambling Rows Afghan, just to start working on my leftovers, getting that stash of leftover yarn down a bit. I think the whole thing might not be a thing of beauty whenever it is finished, but it would be mighty warm and that's the most important thing to me.

I also started a new sock for M2 out of the above sock yarn for the hand warmers. I'm ready to turn the heel now. If I ever finished picking up the stitches around the heel on my cat's paw lace sock, I could hopefully finish it soon. I'd really like to get back to my Monkey sock. It's so unusual for me to have 3 socks on the needles in various stages of finishing or not even started. Just not enough time to knit it all.

That's about it for now. Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dejected Lace

I might have left you with a bit of a cliffhanger in the last post. My lace shawl and I have not been getting along. But not for the reasons you would assume. The lace and I aren't getting along, things are tough at home, it's a rocky road, not feeling the love for it anymore. No, no, no. It's sadly that the yarn I chose for this project and I are simply not getting along. It's really too bad.

As you can see, the color is absolutely beautiful and I couldn't be happier with it. One small problem is that I keep feeling a burning sensation and getting headaches when I knit with this yarn. Hmm, sounds familiar? Sad but true. I appear to also be allergic to Garnstudio Angora Tweed. I really should have known better. I kept hoping that the angora wouldn't cause me any issues, but after the mohair debacle, I'm not sure why. No way to know of course if it would bother me but to try to knit with it. I did go into this project knowing that it could fail, but if it was successful, I would have a most beautiful shawl that would be warm and cuddly. I was really looking forward to using this yarn and having the shawl. I will definitely still make the Wool Peddler's Shawl and I will need to search for new yarn.

When I return the yarn I bought for friend's baby gift last week, I may use that credit to get some different yarn for the shawl. Still not buying new yarn, but unfortunately my friend lost her baby and I learned that difficult news last week. I feel horrible and that I cannot keep the yarn I slotted for her baby.

Also, something I never mentioned on the blog last summer was when the Mason-Dixon knitting book came out, I went wild for it and bought tons of Sugar 'N Cream cotton yarn. I never did anything with it until I made the baby bibs last month. Now, I've decided to knit dishcloths with the yarn as I feel if it's there, it needs to be used up. I have a goal now of knitting one dishcloth a week. Since the inception of my once a week dischloths last week, I've knit two.

The dishcloths are fun and quick to knit. I think they will be more useful in the kitchen than the sponges we currently use and easier to clean and nuke them to kill any germs.

That's all from the knitside today.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Something to Talk About

Man, in my head, I've blogged a few times, but in reality it's a been over a week. I guess life just happens. From the last post, you don't have to worry, I haven't lost that knittin' feeling, but just wasn't feeling the love for the baby hoodie sweater. Once I put that down, I started feeling better about knitting some new projects for myself.

After finishing the first Monkey sock, I went back to an unmated sock that I put down right before the crazy Christmas knitting. Back to my Regia Stretch socks again. Now, that I've picked them up again, I'm feeling the love. Plus, when I finish this sock, I'll have a finished pair and that always makes me happy. As I wear my store-bought socks more and more, I find them lacking. Lacking in warmth, lacking in proper fit, heels that sag throughout the day, socks that the cuff is too high, too short, not the right color. Not what I want, just not wool. I do love my wool socks and as I foray into handpainted sock yarns, the colors are so vibrant and pretty and looking at it makes me happy. I know that knitting socks from them will make me even happier.

I am knitting a patterned sock using the cat's paw lace pattern that Wendy charted on her blog a few months ago when she knitted socks from STR in the Lucy colorway. When I saw it, I had the Regia Stretch that was similar to STR but the brown in my sock yarn is much darker. I really like it and am enjoying the lacy pattern in the sock.

Since 2007 is the year of Knitting From My Stash, I've been good with knitting from my stash and haven't purchased any yarn until yesterday. Well to begin with, sock yarn doesn't count as stash, one of my rules. There has been a lot of sock yarn purchased this month. Much more than I would normally allow. At last count, there were 6 skeins of sock yarn that have found their way into my stash. So the stash depletion isn't necessarily working so well.

Another friend is having a baby and has requested a baby blanket. Some of you may know that I don't enjoy knitting baby blankets and the last one I did was for my nephew. Since the mother has specifically requested a baby blanket and knows that I knit, as I am always knitting around them and I see them often, I feel somewhat compelled to knit it and I think I will like the end result, so I am going to do it. I know that I don't have to, I sort of want to. Hence the yarn purchase was for a gift, as I do have yarn that I could have used for a baby blanket, but that yarn is already set aside for a sweater for me (Candy Blue Cotton-Ease). I felt somewhat mollified by the yarn purchase that it was on sale, but I would have bought it regardless since it's for the babe. I do have some lead time on this, the baby's not due until end of May. If I get started sometime this month and work on it sporadically, I should be able to finish it in time. In lieu of a baby sweater, I will probably add a baby hat and baby socks, once the blanket is finished. Not a layette, but an ensemble, if you will.

Lastly, I started another project for myself. Yay, my favorite recipient. The project is the Neckdown V-Neck Shaped Cardigan in Classic Elite '03 Tweed. I really love the color, but the yarn is a bit stiff, but that is the fabric of the yarn as it's a tweed. I can't wait to wear this one.

I expect to have another update soon as I have tragic news for my latest lace attempt. Have a great week!