Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting back on track....

I've been a bit negligent lately (just the past couple of weeks, I guess). There are two reasons for this: a ton of work (which means less knitting, blogging and photo time) and Ravelry - my invite came last Friday. So I've been busy putting my stash and my projects in there - and I'm still nowhere near done! The stash is going to take F.O.R.E.V.E.R. - and I'm sort of afraid of what I'm going to find going through all of my yarn. So that will probably slowly evolve. I'm not going to forget my blog, of course, but Ravelry is fun for cataloging things and getting inspiration. So, if you're on there, look me up under Lizzardie. :-)

Ravelry also gave me the final push on upgrading to a Flickr Pro account - I did that this morning, and I'll have some organizing to there, too. The organizing really never ends it seems (let's not talk about the organizing I conveniently ignore in my apartment)!

My absence has led to a slew of FOs, though (okay, maybe not a slew, but there will be several that I'll be posting about this week and next). And I've been chugging along on the Mystery Stole - I finished Clue #4 yesterday, so I'll try and snap a picture sometime this week.

And here's the first FO: Dublin Bay socks for my friend Corinne.

Dublin Bay Socks - 2 of 3

Pattern: Mossy Cottage Knits
Yarn: Yarn Pirate Merino Sock, Primrose, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5 (US 0 for the cuffs)
Project Timeline: 5/29/07 - 6/16/07

While Corinne's birthday was in early July, I didn't have a chance to give these to her until last Friday, hence the late posting on them.

Initially, I wasn't overly impressed with the Yarn Pirate yarn (which everyone raves about). It has four distinct color repeats (and this seems pretty typical of her colorways) and it took me a bit of time to find a pattern that showed off the yarn but didn't blur the pattern, AND didn't bore me to tears like plain stockinette would have. The Dublin Bay pattern wound up being perfect (and fit in with a nice flower theme), particularly because the socks wound up striping so nicely.

The yarn was pretty stringy to work with. It has nice stitch definition and a good amount of twist, but I wouldn't consider it all that soft to work with, even though it's merino. It softened up considerably after a bath, though, and I really love the nice, cohesive fabric it made once it was washed.

Dublin Bay Socks - 3 of 3

The biggest problem I had, though, was that the yarn bled an INSANE amount in the wash. I use SOAK with warm water, and the color of the water in the first wash was very dark. And there was still bleeding in the second and the third AND THE FOURTH washes, as well. Finally, after a fifth full sink of water, the water ran clear. But the color had faded considerably from its original intensity:

Dublin Bay Socks - 1 of 3

I emailed both Georgia of Yarn Pirate and Sheri at The Loopy Ewe where I purchased the yarn. I didn't want to sound like I was complaining, but I did want to let them know, because this really shouldn't happen (at least, that's my understanding). They both sent very lovely responses back, and it's nice to know that they care. Since the socks were definitely still in good enough shape to gift (and Corinne seemed to like them), I'm satisfied overall. I just hope it doesn't happen again - I have several more skeins of Yarn Pirate in my stash (with some that I bought this weekend on the way)!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Mystery Stole

As promised, here is a shot of my stole after the third clue:

Mystery Stole #3 Progress #3

I still have NO IDEA what the theme is. I see curly things at the bottom, and then what looks like a honeycomb pattern, followed by what may be little flowers (they look like crabs on the chart, but flowers once knitted up, I think). So what does that have to do with something that will only fit the theme perfectly in white/off-white or black/off-black yarn?

I think the clue we get on Friday will be a little longer, and I'm hoping I'll have a better idea of what I'm knitting then. I really like how it's turning out, though, and do plan to one day go back and knit it again with beads.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mystery Stole #3 - Clue 2

I don't actually like posting WIP pictures. It's not fun for me to take the time to lay out the project so that what I'm doing is visible. And typically by the time I get the pictures uploaded, I'm way past the point I was at, anyway, and I don't want to write about things that may or may not be relevant anymore. :-)

I did commit myself to posting pictures of the Mystery Stole #3 (which is the first one for me, so it's a little weird to write that all the time). But... I'm behind. :-) I didn't "pose" the shawl until Saturday, when I was getting ready to start knitting Clue #3. But now I'm all caught up, and I took the time to get a shot of the stole yesterday (after I finished knitting Clue #3), so I will post that one tomorrow.

So, after two clues we have:

Mystery Stole #3 Progress #2

I took the time with this shot and the one I have tomorrow to not only use the blocking wires, but also to put the stole on a darker background. I am not sure if that background will be available much longer, though, because it's a chair! I'm thinking that next time I'll throw a dark blanket on my bed, because the shawl just didn't show up well against the light green sheets.

I am still enjoying the shawl. Both last weekend and this weekend I alternated knitting on the shawl with work, which made the shawl a nice break for me. The last two clues have consisted of 50 rows, so I broke that into 5 "sections". Each section took me a little less than an hour (my knitting probably would go quicker if I didn't watch TV while doing it).

I'm also making quite a bit of progress on The Solstice Slip socks - I'm partway through the cuff on the first sock. After about five inches of cuff (I think I'm at two), I will probably set the first sock aside, and knit the second sock to that point, and THEN decide exactly how high I want these to go. The pattern is not as much fun as before now that it goes all the way around the sock - this week I may alternate pattern repeats on the socks with pattern repeats on the shawl I've been neglecting since I started the mystery shawl. :-)

And the Pomatomus socks are washed and blocked - I just need to get up early enough one of these mornings to take pictures before work.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How About More New Yarn?

I recently placed an order with Blue Moon Fiber Arts - it was a reasonably big one, given that I was using my 10% off coupon from the Rockin' Sock Club, and I wanted to get my money's worth. My order came today, right before I left for work, so I quickly snapped a picture:

My New BMFA Yarn

From left to right we have:

Kidmo in Backstabber
Socks That Rock Lightweight in Titania
Socks That Rock Lightweight in Metamorphic
Socks That Rock Lightweight in Pebble Beach
Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Lucy
Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Pink Granite

I also bought two patterns, Marble Arches and Titania's Revenge, which were my favorites from last year's sock club (that I did not join). This is why I bought Titania and Pink Granite. :-) I was happy to see that just like with the sock club, these patterns came in protective plastic sleeves, so they went right into my Rockin' Sock Club binder. I'm going to have to get some plastic sleeves of my own, so that I can file away other loose patterns I have.

I started The Solstice Slip last night, as I was hoping. I'm getting a gauge of 9 spi, instead of 8 spi, but I don't want change needle size (I'm using a US 1.5 circular from Knit Picks, as usual), so I was hoping to just choose my sock size accordingly. I started with the large, and got through the toe and two pattern repeats before realizing the sock was way too big, and I KNOW that if 75 stitches is too big on my foot, then 85 stitches are going to flood my ankles (but then I'm sure will be too small just a little ways up on my calves). So I started over - I've now got the toe complete on a medium-sized sock (65 stitches, much more like it), and I'll start pattern repeats tonight. I am really liking the pattern, though, and cabling without a cable needle is nice, at least for these 1-2 cables. I'm not sure I'd want to do it quite yet for more than a 2-2 cable, but who knows how I'll feel with practice. I used Grumperina's tutorial, and I found it really easy to follow.

Maybe now I will try to focus on work instead of knitting for the next several hours. :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another Pair of Socks Finished

I finished my Pomatomus socks last night during the All-Star Game (I found myself really conflicted on who to root for in this one - great job by both the Cubs and Red Sox players, and the Cubs have been doing well lately, but the Red Sox are running away with their division right now, what to do, what to do). I ended up knitting five more rows on the second sock before the toe decreases, and then going back to redo the toe on the first sock, and I'm glad I did. In fact, I think I could have done even more rows and it would have been good - for some reason with this pair, I just couldn't get a good read on when the sock was long enough. I wound up with plenty of yarn to spare - not a lot, but enough - and I knit the sock as written for my size 9 feet. I had been worried, because I'd read about people only knitting two pattern repeats on the cuff, instead of three, with the Socks That Rock Mediumweight, but I didn't have any problems with yardage.

Hopefully I'll be able to wash and block the socks in the next coupla days, and take pictures by this weekend.

And I can't be without a pair of socks on the needles, so I swatched Firebird for the Solstice Slip socks. This is my first time using Socks That Rock Lightweight, and I'm really liking it. More like sock weight than the mediumweight, but with the Blue Moon colors and that night tight twist. Hopefully I'll be able to get those started tonight.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I won a very special contest

I recently won this yarn in a contest:

I have quite a few knitting blogs on my RSS feed, and several of them started talking about Claudia's MS Ride. She was trying to raise as much money as possible to show how generous knitters can be. As incentive, she offered a TON of prizes that would be raffled off after the bike ride. Well, I finally got around to donating sometime in mid-June, and I ended up winning something!

This skein of undyed, 75% wool, 25% bamboo sock yarn is courtesy of Holly and came all the way from Germany!

And even better than that, Claudia raised more than $40,000 for Multiple Sclerosis. Thank you, Claudia, for doing the ride, and thank you, Holly, for the wonderful prize. :-)

Friday, July 06, 2007

So many WIPs....

Work is interfering with my knitting time lately (I didn't get to stop working until 10:20pm last night, and I try to go to bed around 11pm), so I haven't had as much to show lately (and probably won't for awhile, though I finished some bags this week - if I get them in the mail next week, I'll post pictures). In the absence of FOs, here are shots of my current high priority WIPs:

Pomatomus WIP

These are Pomatomus socks in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight, Seal Rock. I've had the yarn in my stash for these socks since last summer (I think), and I'm finally getting around to them. The pattern is great, but it sure is hard on my hands! I love the striping on the cuff, but on the first sock, I had major pooling on the foot. I assume the second sock (which I'd like to finish sometime next week) will do the same thing.

Stole WIP

This is the "Large Rectangle with Center Diamond Pattern" from Victorian Lace Today (page 20). I'm using Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Anthracite (my first time with this yarn) and I'm 2/3 of the way through the main rectangle - after that I'll have to knit the border. I chose something simple for my first VLT project, because I've never knit on a border before, and I'm still pretty new to lace. This is then going to work to keep my warm on chilly days (which are most days).

Mystery Stole #3 Progress #1

Ahh, Mystery Stole #3, courtesy of Melanie at Pink Lemon Twist. I'm using Lane Borgosesia Cashwool in White (Melanie said that only whites and blacks are authentic to the theme, which we don't know yet) - no beads - and this is my progress after Clue #1 (Clue #2 came out early this morning, and I have not gotten to it because I have a job). I'm enjoying this - Clue #1 was done in just a few days (I alternated some rows of it with some rows on Pomatomus), so I'm hoping it can be a "side" WIP - work on it a couple days after the clue comes out, and then put it aside because I don't know what to do next!

I know there is a long list over there of other WIPs, but, uhh, yeah, I don't really mess with those. :-P

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sunshine Yarns Sock Club - Last Package

It's been more than a week since my last post, huh? Yikes! The thing is, I do most of my posting at work (because I want to do mostly knitting at home), and work is busy during July. So, maybe less posts this month (or not, depending on the number of FOs I have).

Anyhow, I received my last skein from the inaugural Sunshine Yarns Sock Club:

Sunshine Yarns Sock Club - June

The color is called Daring (and it's in her Soft yarn), and it might be my favorite, at least in the "I would never buy this but I really like it" vein.

Here are all of the colors from this sock club:

Sunshine Yarns Sock Club - All

In case you need a memory refresher, the colors are Sweet, Fresh, Deep, Airy, Colorful and Daring. The first two were in the Soft yarn, then two in the Twist, and the last two in the Soft.

Now, I KNOW that when you sign up for a sock club and you're getting mystery skeins, you don't get to be picky. So I'm not complaining, really, I got exactly what I paid for (which included some goodies, and I love my sheep notepad).

But. Do you notice the amount of blue in the skeins? All but the second skein had some blue in it. Two of the skeins are predominantly blue. I like blue (and pink for that matter, because there's a lot of that, too). But I also like red and green and purple and neutrals. I just would have LIKED some more variety, that's all I'm saying.

I still love her yarns. I'll still probably buy more (though right now, unless I see a must-have colorway, I'm holding back, because I currently have 16 skeins of her yarn, in addition to a ton of other sock yarn). And I bet there's someone out there who loved all six skeins and was absolutely thrilled. I just wanted to give my opinion.

I have the Yarn Pirate Booty Club starting up this month (this week, hopefully) and the Chewy Spaghetti club next month. And I still have the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club, which I have just loved being a part of. We'll see what those bring me - I do love getting the surprises in the mail, so at least there's that. :-)