Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My New Yarn Came!

I have been spending most of my time lately working on the "Large Rectangle with Center Diamond Pattern" shawl from Victorian Lace Today (is it just me, or do the shawls in that book need better names? This particular one is on page 20, if you own the book) and my Pomatomus socks (first one was finished Monday, hopefully casting on the second sock tonight - I love how they look in the STR Seal Rock). This means there aren't really knitting pictures to share. But my shipment from The Loopy Ewe came and I can share those pictures!

Loot from The Loopy Ewe - 1 of 3

Lane Borgosesia Cashwool in White for Mystery Stole 3 (off of the ballwinder at this point)

Loot from The Loopy Ewe - 2 of 3

From left to right: Apple Laine in Vanilla, Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering in Peppermint Mocha, Louet Gems Fingering in Burgundy

Loot from The Loopy Ewe - 3 of 3

Again, from left to right: Dream in Color Smooshy in Petal Shower, Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Peridot

Additionally, I received my skein of Vesper Sock Yarn in "Knit and Tonic" from Knitterly Things (I had been around for a couple of updates, but had been trying to not break my yarn diet - since it went out the window last week, I figured why not with this one). Plus the yarn for some bags for my sisters either were purchased or arrived. I may start those soon.

So, lots of yarn for knitting (not that I didn't already have enough)! Tonight will be another night of sitting in my air-conditioned room (I put in the air conditioner for the first time in 3 years, due to the heat wave we're having right now), listening to music and knitting. I just have to get through the rest of the work day....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties

The cardigan is not cropped. And I didn't get a picture of me wearing it. I do however have a picture of it with the dress I wore:

Cardigan with leaf ties

Pattern: Knitty
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk, Cream, about 8 skeins
Needles: US 7 (and a 3.75mm crochet hook)
Project Timeline: 4/27/07 - 6/19/07

It wound up being everything I wanted it to be - a nice cover-up that did not hide my dress. I hope to get a lot of future use out of it, too, because it is so cute, soft and warm. I may have to purchase Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits, which is where the pattern really comes from.

As I already said, I did not make it cropped. I lengthened the body and the sleeves to be, well, full-lengthed. Because of the extra length on the body of the cardigan, I had to figure out something to do with the edges, and I wound up using a crochet border. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably add a few stitches on either side as I knit to create a garter or seed stitch border, or picked them up BEFORE fastening the ties to do one of those things. But this did the trick.

This sweater was several first for me - my first cardigan, my first sweater with sleeves, my first real seam (the ipod cozy that's still in progress doesn't really count, my first hemmed edges, and my first applied i-cord edging. Wow.

I haven't decided what my next sweater will be - a summer tank (I have the yarn and patterns for several) or A Cardigan for Arwen, from the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits. I'll let you know when I decide. :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Sock Yarn

I'm not sure that many people read this, but in case people do, and in case those people are in the BMFA Rockin' Sock Club, I have pictures of the June kit later in the post. I figured I'd give fair warning.

The yarn diet is completely out the window now. Whee!

Here's the thing. I joined Mystery Stole 3, because I've been wanting to knit more lace (and Melanie's patterns are gorgeous - I will eventually be buying Scheherazade and Hanami). She recommended either white or black laceweight, and since the shawl I'm currently knitting is in charcoal (KSH Anthracite, to be exact), I thought I'd go with white. The Loopy Ewe carries Lane Borgosesia Cashwool in White, so that was to be my yarn of choice. But ohh, a $75 order gives me free shipping, and new products went up last night. In the end, I spent about $120 and got several sock yarns that I've been meaning to try, in addition to the laceweight:
  • Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in Peppermint Mocha
  • Louet Gems in Burgundy (destined to be a gift)
  • Apple Laine in Vanilla (also destined to be a gift, and not socks)
  • Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Peridot (the name of my birthstone!)
  • Dream in Color Smooshy Sock Yarn in Petal Shower
I'm a sucker for pretty colors.

But! At least I received sock yarn yesterday that I have already paid for! I really do like the June kit from the Rockin' Sock Club. The color, called Firebird, is gorgeous (pretty much anything with reds in it will get my attention), and the pattern - The Solstice Slip - looks interesting enough. Even though options appear for knitting the sock toe up or cuff down, the Dyer's Notes say it was originally written just toe up, so that's how I will knit it. I am not entirely sure, but I MAY add calf shaping, and knit until the yarn runs out. It would be my first modification of that sort. Ohh, and I'm also going to learn how to cable without a cable needle, probably using Grumperina's tutorial. That will be the next pair of socks on the needles (after Pomatomus, and I'm only on the leg portion of the first sock). The kit also came with a card that shows pictures of lots of skeins of Firebird in various poses - I love it!

Here are some pictures (some have flash, some don't, and I can't decide which show the colors better):

Rockin' Sock Club - June

Rockin' Sock Club - June

Rockin' Sock Club - June

Rockin' Sock Club - June

That last one is my favorite. :-P

Ohh, and the inside of my ball band says "Indian".

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Can't Help Myself

Well, I went and signed up for the Chewy Spaghetti Sock Club as well. At least I'm spreading out my sock club love, signing up with different indy sellers. This one is only three months, and the price was reasonable - so even though I've never used her yarn, I think it will be fun. I totally don't need more sock yarn, though. :-)

The Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties is done as of yesterday. I am not entirely happy with the crochet edging I did, but I think it will help with the curling (and blocking should help, too - that's what I'm doing tonight. I kinda wish I'd made the last couple of stitches either seed stitch or garter stitch. Or that I'd picked up stitches, did a seed stitch edging, and THEN added the ties. Live and learn - I still love the cardigan, and if blocking helps the edges, it'll be fine. Pictures will probably come next week, since I'm wearing the cardigan for a wedding this weekend.

My sister received Convertible, and sent me an email - she said that it's "really cute" and "so soft". Works for me. I emailed her back, asking her to send a modeled picture, but we'll see if she ever does. I'm glad she likes it, though.

I should probably get back to work now....

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Broke My Yarn Diet

*Sigh* I guess it was bound to happen. I signed up for the Yarn Pirate "Booty Club". I told myself I was done with sock clubs, because while it's nice to get surprise yarn in the mail, yarn diets aren't any fun, and it would be nicer to shell out $20-$30 for a sock yarn I know I will like each month (not that I'm really all that picky - besides, if I don't like a color, I know I can always find someone who does like it). But the Yarn Pirate club is a good deal I think - $80 for each three months - and I figure that if I'm really disappointed by the first set, I can always cancel.

At least I've decided that I'm NOT going to sign up for the Sunshine Yarns Harry Potter Sock Club. While it might be my only opportunity to get Gryffindor self-striping yarn (I was hoping to make a friend a pair of socks out of it - might have to just see if I can find yarn in those two colors), I just can't justify the cost.

Ahh well. I'm just going to have to work $80 every three months into the budget. :-P

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Convertible (Finally)!

I remembered to bring the package for my sister, which will go out in the mail (all the way to Los Angeles!) later today, so I can FINALLY write about Convertible.

I. Hated. This. Project. :-) Don't get me wrong, the wrap came out beautifully. In the end, all the work was probably worth it. But it took me forever to get the yarn (I had to special order it from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and it took awhile to figure out what my color options were). The color was not what I expected it to be. The first skein of yarn (wound by hand) ended up a tangled mess. The yarn was splitty. The lace pattern was difficult to memorize. I was always forgetting to add the button holes. And on and on... it's no wonder that this project took me forever!

But now it's done, and it's beautiful:

Convertible - 1 of 2

Pattern: Knitty
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Bambu, Lucy in the Sky, 2 skeins
Needles: US 5
Project Timeline: 10/06 - 4/29/07

The only changes I made were that I added 13 stitches in width, and therefore only had enough yarn to complete a total of 16 pattern repeats, instead of 17.

I even found some nice silver and mother of pearl buttons to create the "cufflinks":

Buttons for Convertible - 1 of 2

The bamboo yarn is very drapey, but as I already said, very splitty. This project reinforced my belief that I am a process knitter (much like everything else in my life), and if it's not fun, I don't want to knit it.

Here's an up-close shot of the lace pattern:

Convertible - 2 of 2

I hope my sister likes it. I, for one, am glad to have it out of my house, and if she doesn't like it, well, I never have to know. :-P

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Knitting Books Don't Count in a Yarn Diet, Right?

I bought a knitting book yesterday. I had vowed not to buy anything knitting related while I wait for my passport, but I couldn't resist! I bought Folk Knitting in Estonia from an Amazon Seller. It says the book is in new condition, and the price is right, plus I have developed a strong love for anything Nancy Bush (I already own Folk Socks, Knitting on the Road and my favorite, Knitting Vintage Socks). I can't wait for it to arrive - the patterns I've seen from it are beautiful, and folks on the internet seem to think it's a real treasure to read.

Yesterday and Monday I seamed up the sleeves on the Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties (which is not cropped, and has full-length sleeves). I probably should have blocked my swatch before knitting this, because it definitely grew with a washing. But I think it'll work. I had done very little mattress stitch up until the other night, and I must say, I'm really happy with my seams. Tonight I'm going to start tacking down the hems - not sure how much I'll get through - and then the next step is the leaf ties/i-cord edging. I'm hoping to add a crochet edging to the two unfinished edges in time for the wedding I'm going to next weekend (which I should probably try and book a hotel room for...). Success with mattress stitch makes me want to knit more sweaters - it really wasn't that scary!

Assuming I remember to bring it to work tomorrow and therefore get it in the mail, there will be pictures of Convertible tomorrow (everything is all set to go, I just forgot it this morning).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Knee High to a Grasshopper

I need to get these posted before the new shipment arrives (which I think is sometime next week)!

I finished the Knee High to a Grasshopper socks a few weeks ago, but just got around to taking pictures this past weekend. I decided that I would knit until I ran out of yarn, and what do you know, I ended up with (nearly) knee highs from the one skein! Woohoo!

Knee High to a Grasshopper - 1 of 2

Pattern:Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Rockin' Sock Club April Pattern)
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks That Rock, Walking on the Wild Tide, 1 skein
Needles: US 2.5 (US 1.5 for cuffs)
Project Timeline: 5/18/07 - 5/29/07

I made a few modifications to the pattern, of course. I knit the medium size, and knit an extra 6 rows after I finished the toes. I now kinda wish I hadn't done this, because with the amount of stretch in the socks, it looks like too much. Not a huge deal, though.

The knee high part of the pattern called for a whopping 7 calf increases - I only did four. I think the medium size was actually too big for me, but the extra width on the sock ended up being good for stretching lengthwise, so I'm happy that I chose that size. I only got 13 rows of ribbing out of the yarn - I probably could have done another - but that's okay (my goal for 15).

Here's another shot of the socks, which show the pattern a little closer (and you can sorta see the seam down the back):

Knee High to a Grasshopper 2 of 2

The pattern went by pretty quickly, as the 11 day knitting time shows. I didn't even mind that it was mostly purl stitches, and I love how the seam looks going down the back. I knit the socks SORTA two at a time... I did one sock up until the regular size point (2 calf increases), then put the stitches on a holder and knit the other sock from the other end of the yarn ball. After that, I went back and forth until I was running low on yarn.

Here's how much yarn I had left (and this is after I wove the ends in and cut off the rest):

Yarn left from Grasshoppers

The Silkie yarn was fun to work with. I am not really a fan of the two-tone nature of the yarn plies, but you can't really see that in the knitted fabric, so it's fine. I think the silk content and open pattern will make these socks good for many seasons. I'm happy that the Walking on the Wild Tide color striped for the most part (and the pooling from the calf increases is fun), and in general had a pleasant experience with the new yarn base.

Here's hoping the next pattern/color combination are just as fun. :-)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Only one more to go....

Here's the May shipment from the Sunshine Yarns Sock Club:

Sunshine Yarns Sock Club - May

The color is called "Colorful" (which it is) and it came with a set of Size 0 DPNs. I am glad that this was another skein of the "Soft" base yarn. Not that I've tried out the "Twist" yarn yet, but I really do love this yarn.

Since this was a six-month sock club, there's only one more shipment to go. Since I haven't knitted up any of the skeins yet, I'll be able to show them all together! Once I get that last skein, I'll probably give an overall view of what I thought of the experience.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Baby Things!

Ever since I started knitting, I've been hoping my friends would hurry up and have babies, so that I could make them cute tiny things. Well, FINALLY, in December I found out my friend Jaime (from high school) was expecting! I was back home in Illinois later that month, and got a little bit more scoop (due middle of may, they didn't know what they were having, decided to go with green for decor since Jeremy, her husband, didn't like the idea of yellow), and made up my mind to make a baby blanket and hat.

I started the blanket in January. I was SO SURE I'd be finished by mid-May, which would give me plenty of time to mail out the presents before the baby was born. After deliberating, I went with the Pinwheel Blanket I have seen all over the internet, in Shine Sport, because cotton is washable and cool for summer. Six ball of green for the body, two balls of cream for the garter ruffle, no problem.

Then I remembered that I. Hate. Cotton. Ugh. It hurts my hands so much. And this blanket? It grows faster than you think. By the end, I was lucky to get two rows done in one night. TWO ROWS! Before I started that garter stitch ruffle, I had 740 stitches on a 60-inch size 4 circular that was very much under duress (enough that I broke the joins on not one, but TWO of my 60-inch Knit Picks cables). Six balls the green was not enough, either - I had to order three more midway through the project, and even that didn't give it that much extra diameter (I was getting less than 8 rows per ball of yarn by the end). I ruffled only once - bringing the stitch count to 1480 stitches. Originally I wanted to do two increase rows, but there was NO WAY 3000 stitches would fit on one of those cables.

Here is the blanket before I sent it through the washer and dryer:

Pinwheel Blanket

Pattern: KnitList
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport, Grass, 9 skeins, and Cream, 2 skeins
Needles: US 4
Project Timeline: 1/26/07 - 5/21/07

It shrunk up a little in its wash (one trip through the washer, in the dryer until it was damp, laid flat to finish drying), and while I didn't get another picture, it was a little cuter. The ruffle firmed up enough to not look so floppy, and it ended up being almost exactly 36" in diameter. Perfect for the little boy Jaime had on April 22nd named Cathan Jeremy (yes, that was three weeks early).

I also made a hat, somewhere in the middle of all the blanket nonsense (on a, I just want to finish a project, damn it, day, and decided I'd have to START something in order to FINISH something):

Umbilical Cord Hat

Pattern: Stitch n' Bitch
Yarn: Dale of Norway Stork, Light Green, 1 skein
Needles: US 7
Project Timeline: 4/14/07 (1 day!)

I mailed everything out last Wednesday via Priority Mail, so Jaime must have received the package by now. I hope she loves it.

The next friend who has a baby? Definitely getting the blanket from Stitch n' Bitch, which I love and is knit on US 8 needles - I don't care how much I have to pay for all that Koigu.