Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Once upon a midnight dreary....

The October shipment of the Rockin' Sock Club came last Wednesday, and it definitely met expectations:

Rockin' Sock Club - October 2007

The color, the first anyone has seen of the new Ravens series (except the little teaser in the adds Blue Moon has put out) is wonderful, and it marks the second color of this club that I have absolutely adored (the first was Firebird). Also, it's in the Lightweight version of Socks That Rock, which makes me happy (I was afraid it would be in Silkie, which I do not care for).

Both color and pattern are called "Lenore" (guess where from), and the pattern was designed by the Yarn Harlot herself. I love it, and do not actually understand those people who don't. :-P I'm really looking forward to this one (though I am a package behind, and this one will have to wait a bit).

The spiders were a nice touch.

Here's a better shot of the beautiful black and red colors:

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight - Lenore

This ALMOST broke my resolve about not joining the club for 2008. But I'm a good girl, and I realized I could buy the entire Raven series (and maybe a skein of laceweight?) for less money. At least I've enjoyed my time this year!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Openwork Rib Socks

In case you haven't seen enough finished projects from me lately...

Openwork Rib Socks - 1 of 2

Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Chewy Spaghetti Spaghettoni, Frivolous, 1 skein (from the Blue Plate Special Sock Club)
Needles: US 2.5
Project Timeline: 9/24/07 - 10/6/07

This pair of socks was finished more than three weeks ago, lest you think I finish projects that quickly. If you recall, I completed almost the entire first sock traveling from Italy back to Boston. Because it's sportweight yarn, it knits up pretty quickly.

I'm reasonably happy with these. The yarn is nice and soft, which makes for cozy socks. I'm starting to really love socks where the pattern starts right away, and there's no separate ribbing section (which happened with these, only because I didn't have US 1.5 needles with me on my trip). I used most of the skein - there was a little left, but not much, which is impressive for top-down socks (and I never separate the yarn into two equal balls). These aren't my favorite colors, and that's really my only complaint, but that's what you get from a sock club!

Here's another shot, up close on the stitch pattern and gusset:

Openwork Rib Socks - 2 of 2

In other news, I'm wearing my Knee High to a Grasshopper socks for the first time today. The verdict is that while they don't fall down right away, they definitely don't want to quite stay up. SO... I think I might get some elastic thread, and weave it into the top ribbing, to see if that helps. When I get around to this, I'll let you know how it works out!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mystery Stole #3 - The Epilogue

Well, the adventure that was Mystery Stole #3, now known as the Swan Lake Stole, is over. The stole was blocked this weekend, and I must say that I'm really happy with the experience. I hope Melanie at Pink Lemon Twist does it again (even though it seems as if it was a ridiculous amount of work to run!).

Here's the stole before blocking:

Mystery Stole #3

And during its transformation:

Mystery Stole #3, Blocking

This is one of my favorite blocking shots:

Mystery Stole #3, Blocking

And then, finally, I got this:

Mysery Stole #3 - 2 of 3

Pattern: Swan Lake, from Pink Lemon Twist (aka Mystery Stole #3)
Yarn: Lane Borgosesia Cashwool, White, 1 skein
Needles: US 4
Project Timeline: 6/29/07 - 10/7/07

I wasn't sure what I would do with a white merino wool stole, but I do really love it, and I think it will be great with jeans and a t-shirt, when I just want a little something extra to keep my arms warm. I'd love to knit it again, either in its pure form or the Wings of a Dream version (I will eventually purchase the pattern), and definitely in a silk blend with beads. There are lots of lace projects ahead of it, though!

Here's one more shot, this time of me wearing it, conveniently with jeans and a t-shirt!

Mysery Stole #3 - 3 of 3

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Diagonal Lace Scarf

I knew my roommate's birthday was in October, but it wasn't until we were on our Italy trip that I found out it's at the BEGINNING of October - the 8th, to be precise. My typical "first knitted gift" is a scarf, but time was short. Luckily, I was able to order yarn from Handpaintedyarn.com (the Merino Bulky, one of my absolute favorite yarns), pick a pattern, knit the scarf and block the thing to 9 feet with about a day to spare (though luckily her shindig was a week later, giving me time to wrap it and improve upon the presentation of shoving it into her arms).

Diagonal Lace Scarf - 1 of 2

Pattern: Midnight Purls, found courtesy of Ravelry
Yarn: Handpaintedyarn.com Merino Bulky, Verde Marino, 2 skeins
Needles: US 10.5
Project Timeline: 9/29/07 - 10/4/07

The color was chosen to match a handbag she bought in Italy. I think it might have ended up being a little too dark, but she says it's a great match, and I think she really loves the scarf.

I was a little apprehensive about making a scarf with bulky yarn that has so many yarnovers, but since it's so long (yeah, 9 feet) and can wrap around her neck three times, it seems like it will be good for all but the bitterest days in Boston (and we don't get that many of them).

This was a stealth project, which is hard to do when you live with someone. Luckily, Steph was really busy the week I knit it, so she wasn't home a lot, and the one time she came home while I was working on it, she didn't even notice!

Here's another shot (one of my all-time favorite shots of my knitting):

Diagonal Lace Scarf - 2 of 2

Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn? It is so soft, and the colors are fantastic. Plus, it's a 6-ply, so it's nice and even (not always a feature of the yarn from Handpaintedyarn.com). This pattern appeared in the most recent issue of Knitty, which has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I definitely intend to knit this someday, and a curse because everyone else seems to have the same idea - there isn't much of this yarn available on the site anymore! Luckily, they do custom orders (shipped directly from Uruguay at $9 for up to 10 skeins), and I definitely will be taking advantage of that once I get rid of some of my current sweater yarn stash!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sock Club Stuff

First, last week I received my October installment from the Yarn Pirate Booty Club:

Yarn Pirate Booty Club - October

The yarn base is the Fingering Superwash, and the color is Killer Bees. These are not really my colors, but I have a friend that I think will love them. She may eventually get a pair of socks. ;-) The needles are also super pointy and the cables are nice and flexible - plus I don't have needles in that size (my Knit Picks needle are US 1.5 and US 2.5, and these are US 1 and US 2, respectively). The button is probably going to a friend who loves pirates, because I already have a button.

If anyone is interested, the Yarn Pirate is going to open up club subscriptions again in mid-December.

There will be more sock club packages arriving this week, I think. My last installment from the Chewy Spaghetti Blue Plate Special club has already shipped. I have loved the first two installments (I even have a complete pair of socks from the first skein, which hopefully I will have photographed and up here soon), so I'm looking forward to the final one. And also shipping this week is the October installment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club. It's supposed to be something from the Raven series, which is exciting.

The bad news... I am poor (new car, recently completed expensive vacation), so I need to cut back back on the sock/yarn clubs. I'm keeping the Yarn Pirate one, because I think the cost is right, but I probably won't be signing up for any more clubs, and... I hate to say it, but I will not be renewing my Rockin' Sock Club membership. That one was a tough decision, but I think it's the right one. For 2008, they have said the base yarns will be the Lightweight, Mediumweight and Silkie. I love the Lightweight and the Mediumweight, but I'm not so enamored by the Silkie (in fact, while I'm looking forward to my Raven yarn, I am hoping it is NOT in the Silkie base). I just don't like the different colors in the different plies, normally. Also, BMFA makes sock club colors available after a year, so it's not like I couldn't purchase the club colors at a later date (and in the base yarn that I want). Plus, while I have generally liked all of the club colors to date, and there are two more to come, I have only LOVED one of the colors (Firebird).

If I was going to join another yarn club right now? It would totally be this one. In Autumn. :-) Again, I realized I cannot justify the cost, but it seems like so much fun.

Ohh, and speaking of my expensive vacation, if you're interested in pictures, they're here. I have only labeled a handful of the pictures right now, but they sure are pretty. :-) There are about 650 of them spread out in 11 different sets by location in Italy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gryffindor Stripe Socks

Work has been getting in the way of blogging. I hate that!

Anyhow, I actually have a good number of things to show you, it's just a matter of how much time I'm going to have for blog show and tell! Hopefully I'll be able to sneak in a post here or there, though, like I am now. ;-)

First: these are my version of Gryffindor Stripe Socks:

Gryffindor Stripe Socks

Pattern: My own; Mostly 3x1 rib, switching colors, with a short-row garter heel and a garter toe
Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering, Burgundy, 2 skeins, Mustard, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5/US 0 for the top ribbing
Project Timeline: 7/27/07 - 8/29/07

I made these for my friend Jeff who loves maroon and Harry Potter. I really wanted to get some of Sunshins Yarns' self-striping yarn, but it goes so quickly! I made do with the Louet Gems, though, and it really is nice yarn. I hope it holds up well. I didn't bother to try and fix the jog when switching colors, because of the ribbing.

Ohh, the ribbing... when I started out, I didn't use ribbing, but they looked HUGE. I know Jeff has big feet, but I wasn't sure how big, and I didn't want to make something that wouldn't fit. I figured a nice 3x1 rib would look nice - wouldn't break up the stripes too much, but would make the socks nice and snug. And they are - they fit snugly around my legs but hopefully stretch big enough to fit Jeff.

I haven't heard if they fit or not. When I gave them to him, he said he would use them as mittens (I hope he was joking). I was too tired to argue - it was when he and Kristen brought Steph and I to the airport for our trip!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

While I was gone...

... yarn came! Yes, I couldn't go two weeks without receiving an order of yarn, even when I was out of the country!

The first thing I saw was the latest shipment from the Yarn Pirate Booty Club, a skein of Merino/Tencel in Butternut:

Yarn Pirate Booty Club - September

Then, when I returned to work, I was able to open my latest order from The Loopy Ewe, which was four skeins of Wollmeise!

Wollmeise Handgefarbte Sockenwolle

From left to right, we have Amazonas, Brombeere, Zenzi and Granatapfel.

I'm really excited about knitting with the Wollmeise, because I've heard such great things about it (the colors, which I agree are splendid, stay that vibrant, plus it's super squishy and has a ton of yardage), but it will have to wait until I get some other projects finished up. :-( (But I love my current projects, really.)

Speaking of, I finished Mystery Stole #3! It's not blocked yet, so hopefully I can get that done next weekend and I'll have pictures next week! Woohoo!

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm Back!

Okay, so I've been back for over a week. What can I say, I've been busy! I didn't want to do a post without pictures, and I have A LOT of pictures to get through. But I couldn't stay away forever!

The trip was fun, very busy, though. Details will eventually be on my personal blog and pictures will be up on Flickr, so I won't bog this blog down with details. One thing I will say is that I got way less knitting done than I thought I would. The trip was very busy, and when I did have down time, I just didn't feel like knitting (shocking, I know!). But here's what I did accomplish:

Italy Knitting

The sock on the left is the Openwork Rib Socks pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, done in Chewy Spaghetti Spaghettoni, Frivolous colorway (my first Blue Plate Special skein), and the sock on the right is Wendy's Southwestern Socks, available from The Loopy Ewe, in Fiesta Boomerang Misty Morning.

In order to knit on the airplanes without worrying about getting in trouble, I ordered some Crystal Palace Bamboo DPN from The Loopy Ewe before I left. Sadly, they did not arrive in time (my fault, not TLE's, because I entered my zip code wrong), so I bought some needles last minute at Woolcott and Company in Harvard Square (my default LYS). I went with some Brittany Birch 7in DPN in US 3 and 32inch Addi Naturals in US 2.5. I would have finished the Southwestern Socks, but I broke not one, but TWO of the Brittany's (one on the first day, ugh) and was unable to continue. I have emailed about replacements (their policy says they will replace them for five years free of charge) and hopefully I will have those replacements soon. In the meantime, I started work on the Openwork Rib Socks with the Addi Naturals, which I LOVE. Nice pointy tip with all the benefits of bamboo AND magic loop, yippee!

The picture lies a little. I did finish the first Openwork Rib Sock before I got back to Boston (that one was started in the Rome airport)... except for grafting the toe. Also, the next day, I took out the toe and added four rounds, then did the toe again and grafted the toe before taking the photo. But it's BASICALLY what I did during the trip. :-P

Next week: pictures of yarn received while I was gone, plus I will get back to showing completed and ongoing projects. Since returning, I quickly ordered yarn, received yarn and knit a scarf, all for my roommate's birthday (which it turns out is Monday). Now, I'm on a mission to finish a good number of the projects shown in my sidebar! Let's hope this turns out well!