Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Yarn Pirate

Here's the April shipment of the Yarn Pirate Booty Club (I just got it yesterday because the executive assistant at my company doesn't feel the need to check the mail everyday):

Yarn Pirate Bamboo/Merino - Sweet Lime

The yarn is the NEW Bamboo/Merino/Nylon blend (no idea what the percentages are) in a colorway called Sweet Lime. Nearly all of the photos on Ravelry led me to believe this color was a pastel, so I was actually surprised yesterday when I opened the package to see how bright it really is. I think I did a good job of capturing the actual colors.

I was considering cancelling my Booty Club subscription after this round (which ends in June, so two more shipments). It's not because I don't like it, it's because I have way more sock yarn than I can knit any time soon, and even acquiring stash at 1 skein/month is ridiculous lately, because I've been wanting to work on other things (that are not socks). However, I know it's a great deal (greater than I thought even - skeins of the Merino/Tencel and Bamboo/Merino blends were selling for $30/skein + shipping yesterday in her Etsy shop, and I pay $80/3 months for whatever base yarn she decides to send us), so I'm conflicted. And this blend is awfully nice, I can't wait to make socks out of it! I'll probably make my decision at the last minute - definitely after the next shipment reaches me, at least!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell Is No More

I had to frog it. :-( While I did swatch, I totally misread the gauge listed on the pattern, thinking it was 20 sts/4 inches, when it was really 17 sts/4 inches. While I could knit the Bamboo to that gauge, I don't think it would look good (it really wants to be 5-6 sts/inch). I'm considering knitting a larger size (48 inch bust) which would work out to the 40 inch bust in my gauge, but I'm not sure if I'll have enough yarn (860 yards required versus the 750 yards I have), particularly with my condensed row gauge (which is something like 10 rows/inch). So I'm holding off for now. Maybe I'll find a better project for the Bamboo or a better yarn for the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell, but for now, I'm going to focus on the projects I already have on my needles (which I should have done in the first place).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WIP Update, April 2008 Edition

More than a week later and I'm finally getting around to posting about my WIPs. I've really been neglecting this thing, huh? I've also been neglecting Ravelry and other forms of communication, and I'm still behind on my RSS feed. One day maybe I'll wake up and be caught up and ready to communicate again! Hopefully soon.

Anyhow, I have a gazillion projects going right now (or at least it feels like it). I'd like to get some things off the needles, but it's been slow going. I think it's the restlessness of spring. Come to think of it, most of the abandoned WIPs were cast on during some spring or another, so maybe there's something to that!

First up, the Cherry Leaf Shawl:

Upated Cherry Leaf Shawl in Progress

The pattern comes from Victorian Lace Today, and it's being knit with laceweight merino from The Plucky Knitter. I like the yarn and I like the pattern, and the 18 repeats of the main pattern went by quickly. I just haven't felt like doing the border, partly due to needing a modification, since there's no way I'm crocheting a picot edge on afterwards (I'd rather do a knit picot cast off). I think I'll finish it pretty quickly once I pick it up again, but I'm not in a hurry (since I don't wear lace shawls that often anyway, though I'm hoping to change that this spring/summer/fall as my collection grows).

Then, a Washcloth Trio:

Washcloth Trio in Progress

Ugh. Why I ever thought knitting washcloths in cotton would be a good idea, I really don't know. These patterns come from Mindful Knitting, and while I like the final product, I don't like knitting with cheap cotton (Lily Sugar 'n Cream in this case)! I'm trying to make myself do 10 rows a day (err... most days) and so far that's yielded one washcloth and a little bit of progress on the second. I think this method will allow me to finish this very old WIP by the end of the year, which is the only goal I've set for myself. :-P

Next, some Stockinette Anklets:

Ankle Socks in Progress

I had one skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Baby Stripe, and since the stripey yarn doesn't really go with anything, I decided I would have to make a pair of socks out of the one skein, which meant anklets. Unfortunately, my US 1 (2.25mm) Knit Picks Harmony circs broke going through airport security a few weeks ago (I do not know how) and I've been forced to knit these on US 0s, which I don't really like. I'm going to do the second sock before I do the ribbing on the first (to make sure I have enough yarn) but I'm just not motivated to cast them on. I'm using the YO short-row heel/toe from Knitty's RPM, because I happen to like it.

Another "no pattern" project, a Continental Garter Stitch Scarf:

Continental Garter Scarf in Progress

I'm going old-skool with this one. :-P I want to do some fair-isle garments, and to make them go faster, I want to use the two-handed stranding method (where you hold one strand in each hand). Only problem is that I don't really know how to knit continental! That's where this scarf comes in. It will be knit continental to force me to really learn and stabilize my gauge. I even went back to bamboo needles (better grip) and I wound the yarn by hand! My biggest problem with continental knitting is that tensioning the yarn is totally different than when I hold it in my right hand, and I'm really struggling with the first and last stitch of each row. I'm trying to remember to do a few rows a day and I'm hoping blocking will fix the tension issues once I'm done with the scarf. I'm thinking this will make a good scarf to give away for charity (the yarn is Handspun Bulky in Cardenal, but it reminds me of Carnelian stone when knit up).

And a sweater, the Notre Dame de Grace Pullover:

Notre Dame de Grace Pullover in Progress

I'm using Carodan Farm worsted weight yarn for this project, and let me tell you, it's not soft! My hands don't feel rough from using it, though, and my gauge swatch tells me that it softens up quite a bit after a nice bath. I'm hoping the tough yarn will lead to a very durable pullover. Also, if you like sheepy yarns, this one is for you, because it smells quite a bit like sheep! I think I'm a little more than halfway through (assuming I don't run out of yarn, which I'm starting to worry about), though I'm starting to get bored with the double seed stitch. Which is why I couldn't help myself and cast on for the next project last night....

Finally, the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell:

Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell in Progress

It must be spring, because the call of the bamboo yarn was pretty strong. Also, I saw some pictures of this tank elsewear (*cough*Ravelry*cough*) that were much more attractive than the one pictured with the pattern in Interweave Knits (note that this pattern and the one above are both from the Summer 2007 issue of IK, so I must really like that issue!). Note that I didn't like the rolled edge on the bottom of this, so I'm doing a simple picot hem instead. I'm barely passed that point, and I'm going to try and focus most of my energy on finishing the above sweater before it gets too warm (this was supposed to be the big project I cast on AFTER that), so this one might only get a little bit of work in the short term. Another modification I'll make will be to adjust the decreases so that there are more of them and so that they fit my row gauge, which does not equal the row gauge in the pattern (as is typical of my knitting).

I have a couple other WIPs that are still being completely neglected, but that's okay. My goal still remains to finish all pre-2008 WIPs by the end of 2008, except for the Log Cabin Blanket (that's just to use up leftover sock yarn).

Also, thanks to the three-day weekend (yesterday was Patriots' Day here in Massachusetts), I got a good amount of stuff done around the house, including blocking two scarves and a pair of socks! So there will hopefully be some FO pictures/posts in the near future (assuming I remember to create entries here!).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thank goodness for Sock Clubs

My sock knitting mojo might have been slowed to a crawl (I don't even really have a sock on the needles right now, though that's more because I need to cast on for a second sock), and so has the sock yarn-purchasing, but that hasn't stopped me from getting some sock club goodness!

This is the March Yarn Pirate Booty Club shipment:

Yarn Pirate Merino Sock - Emerald City

It's the Merino Sock yarn in Emerald City. As one of my friends said, it's themed for St. Patrick's Day, without being over the top in themeness.

Ohh, and while it might seem like I'm late posting this one (since the April Booty will arrive soonish, I imagine), I only just received the yarn last week due to another mail snafu (I seriously hate everything having to do with the USPS these days). Luckily, Georgia is awesome. :-)

I almost opted out of the sock club when it came up for renewal in March (it renews every three months) but decided I'd stick it out. Georgia has said that the April shipment will be a new base yarn, so I'm glad (as of now) that I've continued to stay in the club. Stay tuned for what the new yarn is!

The second package is not from a sock club, per say, but rather is a "consolation prize" for not getting into The Loopy Ewe Sock Club. I have to admit (which I might have said before), I was kinda relieved to not get into the sock club - I really do want to cut back on my sock yarn purchases given how much stash I have - but when Sheri offered a consolation prize (basically equivalent to being like a one-month sock club for those of us who did not get in - I couldn't pass it up. The kit became available Friday night, and I had it in my hands yesterday evening:

The Loopy Ewe "Don't Be Blue" Kit

The kit contained a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in Don't Be Blue (dyed special for this package), a body kiss from this Etsy seller, a notions bag, a key chain, Loopy kisses and a sock pattern called Ankle Biters. I'm still glad I'm not in the sock club this year, but maybe I'll try again next year!

Since I've finally uploaded some photos, I'm hoping to do a WIP post later this week....

Monday, April 07, 2008

I have a knitting blog?

Ohh dear, I hadn't realized it had been over a month! I think a combination of not really finishing any projects, loss of my knitting mojo for a bit and vacation has contributed to my absence. In fact, I'm not sure if my knitting mojo is entirely back. That's not to say that I'm not knitting - I am. Not finishing any projects has made me incredibly bored, though.

And yet, I HAVE finished a few projects. In fact, a few weeks ago I decided I needed a quick project just for me (even though I've been mostly knitting projects for me lately) to cheer myself up.

I ended up making this:

"Endpaper" iPod Cozy

Pattern: Stitch pattern taken from Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts
Yarn: Small amounts of Wollmeise Sockenwolle in Brombeere and Dream in Color Smooshy in Petal Shower
Needles: US 1.5 and US 0
Project Timeline: 03/19/08 - 03/20/08

I chose this because I wanted something quick (as I already said) and I'm planning on knitting the actual Endpaper Mitts with these two yarns, but wanted to see how they worked up together first (I love it). Plus, because the Wollmeise skeins are giant (550 yards) and I have so much leftover Smooshy (from both my socks and from my Loopy Ewe swap pal) that I figured I could fit in a small project. My iPod loves it. :-)

And I learned a new skill! I decided I wanted to try a tubular bind-off and I think it looks great. I used TECHknitter's Tubular Cast Off and it did turn out very nice. The only thing is that it's TIGHT! I'm shocked my iPod fits in the thing, but it does and it's secure, so that's all that counts (the iPod is inside the cozy in the picture above).

Lately, though? I cast on three projects from Thursday to Saturday (a sock I had to restart, a scarf I'm using to teach myself how to knit continental so that I can do faster colorwork and a sweater), which should give you an idea of how restless I've been with my knitting. I'm also working on finishing up old projects still, although the current one is a set of washclothes, and my fingers can only take so much cotton on small needles in one day. My trip to Atlanta a week or so ago did produce another FO (started at Logan airport the day I left, finished the day after I returned), but that's for another entry since the project did not turn out exactly the way I thought it would. Oops! (Don't worry, I found the project a happy recipient, so I guess it's a happy ending.)