Sunday, March 28, 2010

Been So Long...

It's been just past the point of embarrassing since I last posted. There's been some knitting. I will have to update those things at some later date.

Cause now I have a
Serious Project and will likely need to keep track of it to ensure things work out as well as anything completely insane could possibly do.

Here's the details: Somehow, inexplicably I found myself agreeing (volunteering?) to make a co-worker a stole for her wedding. We looked through Ravelry and agreed that the Hanami Stole was lovely.

Here’s the buts/ands:
  • but, I’ve never knit a stole before
  • and, I’ve also never really done a lacy project
  • and, now that you mention it, lace actually terrifies me, thankyouverymuch
  • and, also I’ve never knit with beads before
Clearly, I need to handle these issues so I can get to work on her wedding stole. Otherwise, how can I be sure it is done in time...
  • but, she’s getting married “sometime in July, I think”
  • and, she’s not picked out a dress yet
  • and, she’s not sure if she prefers pure white, or creamy white or silvery white
  • and, she’s not sure she won’t opt for a beaded bodice, etc.

Practically, no casting on until these things are decided. Her choices will dictate what yarn, beads, etc I will need.

Soooooo, I am going to try a practice Hanami since it’s been in my queue since the 12th of forever.

3/26: practice yarn bought! I got some insanely delightful Baruffa Cashwool. It was so lovely I actually bought two skeins.
(apparently I am going to start knitting lace all the time now.)

To Vic’s in the evening with the intention of casting on. I will need some help to learn this beaded cast on business.

Except, I need beads.

Thankfully, she has beads and is generously offering them up.

Except, none fit on the tiniest crochet hook I’ve ever seen. Argh.

3/27: Explain all of above to housemate and convince him to come to craft store with me.

Ummm….He may not have been the best companion. He was as seduced by beads as I was. Some $65 later, we leave with beads in abundance.
(apparently, I am going to start knitting with beads all the time now.)

Armed with Melanie Gibbons’ exceedingly awesome instructions and a good deal of chutzpah, I attempt to teach myself the beaded cast on…

...and succeed!

Later that night…1st repeat of basketweave done. I cannot express how tiny this yarn is and how huge and clumsy I’ve learned my fingers are.

I’ve decided to add more beads because I really want to get the whole working-with-beads thing down. I even taught myself a way to add them mid-row. Score! Now I need to figure out some sensical way to use them.

3/28 have decided to add a bead above each sk2tog,psso. We’ll see how that turns out.
(apparently, I am going to make things up as I go along all the time now.)

I have determined it takes me about 18 minutes to do a pattern row and its partner purl row. The pattern is written with 498 rows.

That’s 4482 minutes or 74.7 hours if I do everything as written.

But wait, now I’m “that girl” - who modifies things despite not having a clue what I'm doing in even the most basic sense.

One thing my co-worker did know was that she wants the stole longer. Fantabulous. So I’ve already determined to add an extra basket repeat, some extra SS rows and will add rows to the flower side to even it out. More than likely I will add 8 rows to each chart through F then do chart G 4 times a la spinayarnforewe’s mods.

So that’s say 84 more rows, or 756 minutes, or 12.6 more hours.

Ummm... for a total of 582 rows, or 5238 minutes, or 87.3 hours

So yeah.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

oooh babies...

People around me are having babies. A co-worker and a dear former housemate. Perfect excuse to make baby things - yahoo!

It seems everyone who knits must make at least one thing designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman. And among those, it appears 99.569% are compelled to make a Baby Surprise jacket. Who am I to fight the tide? And well, it helps that it was the July KAL at my LYS. I started writing about it at the end of July, so this will be repetitious if you've read the earlier entry...

I grew wildly fond of the yarn. It's Boomerang from Fiesta Yarns and is so smooshy and nice to the hands. The colors are pretty awesome as well. TBH, I've never been entirely sure what all the EZ fuss was about. I mean, I know she revolutionized knitting and get the historical legacy bit. However, I've never been so sure what distinguished her patterns.

And then I began the BSJ. Oh holy mother of all knitterly things! What kind of mind conceives of such a thing? It's knit flat, all one piece and when you get toward the end of it, it's shaped kind of like a giant manta ray. Then somehow, you fold it up and surprise! - you have a baby jacket. I mean seriously, it's designed in 3D! That's it; I've drunk the kool-aid. Elizabeth Zimmerman is pure genius.

I scored the buttons at Vickie's and really, I adore them.

I also finished one of my test knits. Karen, from my Rav group (who designed the Viking Bag of last summer) designs such lovely things. I was very honored to test knit for her. And lookee what Val's yet to be born baby girl gets:

The pattern is called Verdandi. It was a great knit and my first time knitting a top down sweater. Annnnd get this: it has absolutely no seams. That's right - no finishing except for weaving in ends, adding buttons and blocking (which by the by, I did not do...yet)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

drive by...

ugh! i've been crazed with work and the never-ending housemate search. but, one of my co-workers is celebrating her 60th birthday tomorrow. she is one of the most vibrant, colorful women ever (and swears like a sailor, which cracks me up to no end). she wears bright colors, seems to favor blues and greens and also sports fun socks frequently. so, in honor of her landmark birthday, i made her:

yep, yet another pair of broadripples!!!

because i'm too tired/lazy/behind on life to be original, i swiped from my project page...

Soph’s bday is 8/17; nothing like waiting til the last moment…(note: i started these 8/4)

I’ll be trying my hand at magic loop for the first time.

changed to DPNs for heel because i couldn't imagine how the whole magic loop thing worked through dividing for heel, working gusset, etc.

8/12 riiight, it will be nothing short of a miracle if these get finished in time. started the second sock (without being completely done with the first) @ 8pm. yikers.

also just remembered this is the yarn/pattern combo that led to my knitter’s stigmata. ouch.

8/14 wowsa! somehow finished with time to spare. and really finished, as in all ends are wound in & they are ready to go. holy smoly.

i still believe this yarn/pattern combo is absolutely to die for. seriously. even my LYSO who strongly dislikes the fixation yarn found herself thinking about casting a pair on. if you (or the intended recipient) can enjoy bright colors, you just can’t go wrong with this combo.

word to the wise though - i feel the yarn really sticks on bamboo needles, so tend toward my nickel plated DPNs. however, with the stretch factor and k2tog’s i did find myself with knitter’s stigmata from pushing those pointy needles through. using the magic loop method on the legs helped a great deal. i think slightly more blunted any metal needles would be wise. darn, darn my love for super pointy needles!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Clap update

Quick clap update. while in DC visiting mom I thought I was going to finish that clap finally. In my zeal, I was whipping along and got to the last skein. I knit it in and was closing up on completion...when I noted I still unaccountably had two skeins left.


Yeah, waaaaaaaaaay too small.

I couldn't bring myself to rip out the entire skein. Just. Could. Not. So, it went for a long nap. Thankfully, Gail from the LYS knitting group apparently really likes rippping things back (huh?). She did it in about 3 seconds this week. It is on stitch holders (the needle having been immediately used to start the BSJ) until I can face it again.

Oh, baby, I'm surprised...

My dear old friend/former housemate is having herself a babeeeeee!

Just in time, my LYSO announced Elizabeth Zimmerman's much made Baby Surprise Jacket as the next KAL. Since I've been working the test knit baby sweater, I almost resisted - until Vicki made me touch the suggested yarn. Whoa nelly, I could not wait to get my hands in it! I am using Fiesta Yarn's Boomerang in Caribbean. It is so super yummy. Bright, delicious colorway that will work whether Heidi births herself a boy or a girl and fabulously soft and springy.

I've been unable to put it down. This pattern is insane. How on earth does anyone think out such a thing? Seriously, it is designed in 3-D. You get some weird schmooshy thing that somehow folds perfectly into a sweater. I get why EZ is considered a genius now.

So, I was tearing along. Bought the yarn last Thursday and it looked as though I'd finish it tonight except...I am about two (maybe three) bloody yards short on yarn. ugh. I've sent Vickie a message asking her to pull some out for me to pick up tomorrow. Soooooo close....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Test knitting???

I've often seen projects tagged as 'test knits' on rav. It has struck me as exciting to be among the first to try out a pattern. Alas, it has also seemed to me that those who test knit ought to be very, very good knitters, with a fine eye for detail and a good degree of perfectionism. So, you know - very, very not me.

Yet somehow... there are two projects I've started - as a test knitter. My dear friend Karen from the Rav boards (who designed the Viking Bag) teased us with a photo of a baby cardigan featuring the viking cable. I immediately wanted to make one up in a pink yarn. She hadn't written up the pattern at the time, but said she planned to do so. Soon after the tease, a co-worker shared she was pregnant with a girl baby. Well, I became very ardent in soliciting the pattern, in English and she finally wrote it up and translated it to English. All she needed was test knitters. Can you say amen?!?!? So, now I am test knitting it. I fell in love with a deep magenta yarn from Jojoland.

Karen is a goddess of design and so I expected absolutely no snags. She's got that eye for detail and perfectionism I wish I had. I was weirdly proud of myself for finding a tiny miscount/typo and alerting her. It made me feel useful in an odd way. Now, I've never knit a top down sweater and am a little nervous now that I've gotten to the section that divides out the sleeves, etc. Thank goodness she's just an email away to talk me through it!

At the same time, my favorites list was exploding with shawls in my attempt to find the perfect project for the Silk Noir I'd picked up. I think I've fav'd well over 100 shawls trying to find the one that would demand to be made - while also getting me past my fear of large lace projects and triangular knitting. And then I came across the perfect, dreamy beyond dreams shawl...

And it was available for free download...!

ummm... in Finnish.


So, being tenacious (right?) I began scouring the net for an English translation. And... there was none to be found. I wrote pretty much every English speaking person who'd made the shawl. None could provide a translated pattern. Most said it was easy enough to follow the charts. That's great, except I've never done a large, lacey, triangular shawl and so charts without very detailed instruction were insufficient - no matter how clear they were to others. argh, argh, argh.

Eventually, I wrote the designer, expressing my deep admiration of her creation and asking her to please let me know should she ever translate it to English.

Lo and behold, as it turns out she was in the process of translating it and needed.... (can you guess) test knitters! I explained I was a complete novice at large, lace, triangular shawls but was willing if she felt such a perspective would be useful. I got the pattern two days later - yahooo-ey!!!!

Here's the super yummy Silk Noir:

Fingers crossed!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Almost forgot this in all the excitement I felt over Caden's sweater! But, in other news, I wrapped up a long standing, just knit on it randomly project. It's called the EZ Gansey (not Elizabeth Zimmerman, just EZ as in takes almost no actual smarts, per se):

It's super comfy.

But really, it's all about Caden's RHJ for me. That, I love above all knitted things right now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A little hooking

I've been wanting to learn to crochet forever. I really like the look of crocheted projects in general, but also looove knit projects with crochet accents. I've even got a nice set of hooks. I've been going back and forth on actually learning and then stumbled upon a really cool site with videos. I taught myself how to make a chain and then how to work one stitch - the single crochet stitch. I made a little headband:
hee hee...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Caden's 2008 Sweater - complet-o

Okay, a lot to catch up on and I'm way tired so, first things first...

Caden's 2008 Sweater. I was zipping along nicely having chosen to frog the original in favor of a cable-filled sweater with a bulkier yarn. I'd chosen Cascade's Bulky Tweed in a yummy red. I loved it and was moving along quite well when I realized I was going to run out of yarn long before completing the project. I was also due to head out of town and thus found myself needing to get some and quickly. I found some online on ebay and I ordered it right up. The seller was super nice and sent it out pronto once I explained my dilemma. Good to go, right? Eh, not so fast...

I'd failed to note the seller was selling the 220 Tweed... and I had the 128. So, while I got some yummy Cascade 220 in plenty of time, I still did not have what I needed to complete the project. I spent the next several days calling and driving all around MA in search of my yarn and.... none to be found. I mean 'none' and I went everywhere (including into Boston during rush hour - ugh). There was not enough time for an online order and I was stuck.

But, I am tenacious. So, I went onto the Cascade website, noted all the potential sellers along the route from here in Boston to Mom's in MD and began calling...

I finally found a seller who assured me she had plenty in stock and double checked to make sure she had the correct color, etc. and she did. And, she was going to be open late the night I was driving down to Mom's. Yay! The fantabulous seller was Woolworks, Inc - outside Baltimore.

Now I just had to make it to her in time...

Let me tell you, I flew on the drive down. I'm not sure I've ever pushed my car and the laws of traffic so hard. I made NJ in under three hours. Let me restate that: I drove from Boston to NJ in under three hours, with traffic. Nuts. But I made it in time and even scored some Alchemy yarn...

I have declared Alchemy Silk Purse as my absolute dream yarn. I cannot imagine when I'll be able to afford enough for a pattern I want, but I love, love, love it. They had some Silk Purse at the store, but only in a cream color. I adore the Desert Song colorway. They had Desert Song, but only in the Silk Straw. One of the women assured me it was yummy when knit up so...

Isn't it lovely???

But, back to Caden's sweater. The woman at the store had pulled the yarn for me and so I got back to work. The hood d*mned near took me out. Hoods are hugmongous in ways you'd never expect. A hood in moss/seed stitch is close to torture. But lookee here....

back - mmm, I LOVE cables
front - and really love how they flow into the hood...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Just another Monday night...

Just another Monday night in my neck of the woods...

I came home tonight to signs on my street saying "No Parking for Sunsetters." I'd no idea what that meant and was pretty much too dog-tired from yesterday's drive up from DC to care. I thanked the universe once again for off-street-parking and went up. I was just settling in for a little nap (did I mention the monstrous commute from DC last night?) and suddenly heard something I couldn't quite identify. Imagine my (happy) surprise to step onto my porch and see this:

Aren't they cute? They're called the Sunsetters. Here's a blurb on them from my city's website: The S********* Sunsetters are a youth performance troup, performing a mix of classic Broadway show tunes and modern musicals for residents throughout the summer. Comprised of 30 members, ages 11-18... The Sunsetters were a popular singing and dancing group throughout the 1970s and 80s, and has since made a popular comeback. In addition to shows in residential neighborhoods beginning June 26th, the group will perform at the city's Independence Day Fireworks Celebrations, ArtBeat, and the Mayor's Senior Picnic.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Caden and the Clap

The clappie continues onward. I am closing out the 3rd skein. I think I've decided to go with five skeins instead of six. It feels like it will be plenty long after five and I'm not entirely sure I have the need or stamina for six. The color variations among this same colorway, same dye lot yarn continue to obsess/amuse/frustrate me.

I'm currently pretending that the color changes won't be as dramatic once all the dropped rows are dropped and it's blocked out. Or that I actually find them interesting and character-giving. Or that since I kind of love each variation individually, having them all on one project is fine, just fine-thank you very much. Or... well, I dunno, whatever will get me through the urge to frog and/or cast on a new one I might like better.

In positive Clap news I really, really, really like how sharp the pre- and post-dropped rows look. I'm twisting the stitches before and after on both the knit and purl sides. I think the result is a much crisper line. I'll have to take close up photos to convey what I mean. This silky mal is actually letting me drop rows, too. It might be that I've learned the yarn more, but it seems more than that. I am pretending it's the difference in tension due to the wonderfully twisted stitches.

And for a little clap break, I finally really, truly decided I deeply, irrevocably disliked working Caden's 2008 sweater (found here) and came to accept there was no way I was going to force myself to finish it before 2009 ended. While at Windsor Button for WWKIP/Pride, I scored some yummy yarn.

It is Cascade Yarns 128 Chunky Tweed. I got it cause I grew a little fond of tweedy yarn working on Emma's Viking Bag. And I figured I needed a quick knit - and a kid's project on bulky yarn should be that. And I didn't want to give him another blue sweater, so the red appealed to me. And it was on huge, mega-sale. Score.

I'd fallen in love with Zoe Mellor's Robin Hood Jacket (RHJ). Unfortunately, it's a pattern I can't just download on Ravelry (gasp), and I was feeling pressured to start a project. I hunted around literally through several hundred patterns on Rav. I found many I adored, but the RHJ kept calling to me. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought her book, Adorable Knits for Tots: 25 Stylish Designs for Babies and Toddlers. It's a great book with a lot of awesome patterns. Unfortunately it runs sizes 1-3 years and Caden is three next week. Thank goodness I tend to knit big.

So with yarn in hand and neat, shiny book for pattern, I finally cast on Caden's 2008 sweater-Robin Hood (for real this time). I got a good start on it on the needle size suggested, but it looked a little sloppy-ish to my eye. I frogged it and went down on needle size and like it far more. I've gotten as much done on it as I had on the Devan and am not feeling overly fatigued by it yet. Good sign.

I have about 1.5-2 pattern repeats til I'm done with the back. Unlike what I do historically, I am going to mix it up a little and work a sleeve, then front, then sleeve, then front. I am constantly getting the back and fronts of something done and then thinking "Yay, only sleeves left!" and then getting completely thrown (and often disheartened) by how long sleeves actually take to knit up. Hopefully, this will make it all move more smoothly. Overall though, I've no real complaints. The yarns feels good and knits up nicely and I still really like the pattern. Some had written how much attention it required. I'm not really finding that. I'd pretty much learned the pattern before completing the first repeat of it. I think it's because I can read the cables now (thank you Must Have Cardi and Viking Bags; I do believe I've got the cable thing now!). I am still amused by working with a tweedy yarn and it's coming along quickly thus far. The only caveat I'd add is that I'd forgotten how bleeding heavy cabled bulky yarn can be. Oy, it's murder on the wrists after working with the silky mal.

Soooo, WIPs currently going now include (but are not at all limited to, since I know there's a bunch hibernating and/or forgotten): halloween orange clappie, red clappie, blue/green/purple clappie, Caden's 2008 RHJ, Emma's Viking Bag, my WEBS score jawbreaker, the KAL swirl shawl (though I am 99.7777% sure I am going to frog that baby), the Pink Amanda hat, my new Cookie A socks (more to come on those later) and a pair of surprise gift socks. Oh, and I still need to find the perfect project for the Silk Noir I scored a couple of weeks ago! So, yeah.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a little something new

got home and couldn't sleep. also couldn't contemplate the many colored clappie (though i love how nice the stitches on either side of my ladder rows look. more on that later...) somehow it made random sense to me to try something new, as though that would help me sleep.

i've been getting lots of nudges and supportive pokes to finally try my hand at crochet. a former co-worker taught me a basic stitch, but i promptly forgot it. so i checked out a few videos on youtube and after many failed starts made this little bit:

it's just a tiny little thing, but it's a start!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

silky mal misgivings

i am having some silky mal misgivings. i am referring to the silky merino yarn from malabrigo. i've written about it several times - both this specific yarn and malabrigo wools in general. i extolled their virtues, marvelled over the colorways and softness. i still feel strongly that their yarns are about the softest i've ever laid fingers on and their colorways are among the most beautiful i've ever seen. but i am having misgivings.

it seems to me the good people of malabrigo may have decided that since they make some of the most beautiful, deliciously soft yarn, they can afford to be a little 'sloppy' elesewhere. specifically, i have two pseudo-complaints.

tangles. i bought six skeins of the silky mal on my last jaunt and have spent just over six hours detangling yarn. more than an hour a skein does not a happy girl make. not all were unwindable, but of the two that were - they were a real mess. one took over four hours to get wound. not okay.

variances in colorways. okay, let me repeat, i looooove this 'indiecita' colorway. i love it in all it's varied representations. unbeknownst to me, i managed to buy three very distinctively different versions of the indiecita colorway. all contain gorgeous shades of greens, golds, purples and blues. all contain various hues of these colors. but of the six skeins i bought, two are distinctly more purple, two are disctinctly more blue, one is ultra green and one is mostly green. this is after we made sure all six were from the same dye lot and then also did a visual check for uniformity. not okay.

now of course i didn't note these hugmongous color variations until well, well into the second skein of my clappie. somewhere close to 80% into this skein, i stopped to look at photos i'd taken just after adding it. imagine my surprise to see this:

riiiiiiiiiiiight, my clappie went from bright primarily green to bluish purple. yeah, super. but i was about 80% into the bluish purple skein and hadn't yet wound the others (cause did i mention the tangles?!?!?!? after the two hour untangling debacle i'd decided to only wind two at a time, to preserve my sanity). i looked at them and it seemed the rest were more bluish. so i had options, frog the entire thing (um, did i mention this is the third clappie i've cast on in two weeks - no way!) or decide that i fully intended one brighter, greener end, with darkening, bluing happening as i went.

so yeah, let's try that.

however, when i went to wind another skein today, guess what? yep - that's when i discovered my third color combo. i decided it would be wise to wind em all and see what i got and try to do some planning. after 4 hours - yes i timed it - untangling yet another skein, i realized the three distinct color variances i acquired from one bloody dye lot. i tried to photograph one of each, but with another overcast day, this was
the best i could do:
alt text

counter-clockwise from the bottom, we have: kinda green, primarily blue and primarily purple. these are far more distinct IRL. the photo is the suck, but is as close as i could get to capturing the differences. and none of these is really even vaguely the same as the super happy ultra greenish-blue i started with and was so pleased by:

since i already have greenish then bluish, my plan is to go forward with the two purplish, then go out with blue and then green on the end. we’ll see.

i’m kind of bummed about this, but am moving forward nonetheless and hoping for the best.

in any case, lesson learned. we did make sure all skeins were from the same dye lot and double checked for colorway uniformity, but apparently that is not suffucient. not by a long shot. i will never again use this yarn without winding all skeins beforehand and triple checking.

naturally, i will have to devote an entire day to this because of the endless detangling.

after which i will likely not even want to knit whatever bloody thing i bought the yarn for in the first place.

so, ummmm....yeah, silky mal misgivings.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

and now, it seems i have a wee clap problem

soooo, i have been working the clapotis shawl finally. i do believe i was the last known knitter on the planet who hadn't worked this shawl. seriously. i'd been super excited last summer when i decided to do one post ravelympics. i spread my excitement to kimberli (ravelympics creator and team, then group leader) and a KAL was planned for last october. i was all kinds of into it and got the supremely delicious malabrigo silky merino on the cheap online, in a colorway i was sure i'd love.

and then...

and then life happened and somewhere between october and last month, i barely touched needles, nor yarn, nor even took a very deep breath.

but i've slowed things down a bit, am regaining my equilibrium and getting things back on track overall - including knitting.

so naturally, i got all excited about the clapotis once again, spread it again and am now in a small KAL. after a good deal of support, i finally wound up my silk mal. it was as soft as anticipated. dreamy soft. heavenly cloud soft and light as a happy thought. i cast it on and it was like knitting a tiny bit of heaven. it glided across my addis like skates on fresh ice. nirvana.

but then...

but then i realized that what appeared (on my monitor) to be a deep orangish-red was, in fact jack-o-lantern orange. and kinda bright. and - to me - kinda nauseating. i sought out my partners and they encouraged me properly - keep with it, i'm sure it'll grow on you,etc. several even commented they liked the colorway and would be willing to receive the shawl once completed. so, i kept at it. at one point, i noted there was alot of orange in my life - much of it by my choosing. so clearly i don't dislike orange per se. maybe it would all work out.

but also...

but also, the dreamy shiny yarn is a bit...sticky. the halo is part of why it's so super soft, but it sticks to itself. this is terrific if you're prone to dropping stitches, which i naturally am. stitches hold even if they're off the needles - in fact, they hold on as if for dear life. this is generally a good thing. but let's remember the pattern:

see those arrows? they are rows of dropped stitches that are dropped and then laddered all the way down. it is kind of what makes the clapotis a clapotis. it adds more drape and drama and is lovely. but with sticky yarn? pure, unadulterated unfun. with sticky yarn each individual stitch has to be unworked . there's no dropping fun when your yarn is holding on to each stitch for dear life. unh uh. nope.

so, what with the colorway that was causing me nausea and the painstaking unworking of each stitch in rows that were growing progressively longer... well, let's just say this shawl and i were fast becoming enemies locked in serious battle.

but let me reiterate: this pattern is hugely, widely popular. and that is because it is a great pattern. knitting on the bias is neat, i love the parralelogram shaping, the drape, the simple elegance of it - when others have done it. and this yarn? there are fan clubs dedicated to it for good reason. those good people at malabrigo are color geniuses generally and the yarn is soft, shiny, smooth and light. it is knitting beautifully colored air shot up with angel blessings and sweet baby smells.

and i was hating it.

so.... i decided to give it a little rest, lest i seriously harm it. but i couldn't shake the promise of the pattern.

and so....
and so i grabbed one of my acrylics. because hey, it's acrylic and thus not overly expensive. i've no fear of hurting it and if i do it serious harm, there's always a michaels or ac moore stocking plenty. and i love, love the color (autumn red). so i cast this baby on and determined i would work at least through one row dropping to see if it bugged me less when the stitches actually dropped. and it did. so i kept on. i also decided to twist the stitches on both the knit and purl sides to sharpen up the stitches around the dropped rows. i kind of loved it.


except it is heavy as heck and as it grows, my wrists are really taking a beating. and being heavier, this is not something i would be likely to use before fall. i would just be a sweat pool wearing this and i was so looking foward to a light, lovely summertime clapotis. finally, acrylic doesn't 'give' like wool - just not the same kind of springy-ness as my silky mal. i liked it well enough, but knew it wasn't going to be my dream clapotis. and the silky mal was stalking me. i wanted to love it. it was so soft. ever since i first saw the clapotis pattern, i knew i wanted to make it up with silky mal.

and so....

and so, yesterday was WWKIP day and boston pride. i headed into town with emma and janet and we had a fine, fine day! lovely people at the WWKIP. lots of good conversation and knitting and the sun came out to dance over the scrumptious yarns. and then walking along the pride parade. just enjoying the vibe and hooting along. and theeeeeeeeeennnnnnnn, a grand finale trip to windsor button! according to their website windsor button has the largest assortment of buttons and yarn in the boston area. i've wanted to go for ages and just never have. it was magical. and ummm, they carry silky mal. there's one colorway i've stalked on ravelry called indiecita. it looked gorgeous - on my monitor. but then, the viena i used on that first clap looked gorgeous on my monitor too and in person it was close to giving me dry heaves. so, it was with a little skepticism that i approached the indiecita. but guess what? beautiful sea colors - with greens and blues of various, perfectly harmonizing hues that shimmer and shine incandescently. it was... dreamy.

so yeah, thanks to emma and janet:
and now, it seems i have a wee clap problem. over the course of fifteen days, i've cast on not one... not two... but three clapoti.

but, this last one? oh yeah - this is the dream.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

results of my 'incident'

my dreamy blue, super soft mmmmmalabrigo Amanda Hat got completed tonight. i loved working this pattern with this yarn. it was super dreamy! i think it’s a little snugger than i’d like at the top. i'd gone down a needle size as i felt the first hat was a little too loose on the head. next time, i think i will go back up a needle size for the second set of pattern repeats. otherwise, i love, love, love it. the color knocks me right out. i am going to try hard to keep this one for myself.

i really, really wanted to get gorgeous photos of my silk noir up. however, today was all rain and grey. according to the forecast, it's gonna stay rainy and grey for some time. so, here it is - though shot in overcast conditions.

this picture does this yarn no justice at all whatsoever... IRL it is far more vivid and rich and red-pink.

Monday, June 08, 2009

a little yarn incident

i had a little yarn incident. i don’t remember where i was in the village*, but someone reminded me of my abiding mmmmalabrigo love and oops! - i accidentally bought some. it came today at work and is soooo lovely i almost used pencils to cast it on... just to work it a little.

then i went to knit night and… well, i bought more yarn.

i just sort of fell head over heels in love with the silk noir by the great adirondack yarn co. it was like being possessed. the colorway is called ‘candy apple’ and it is unearthly beautiful. there was only one skein left! i had to have it, right? granted, it’s 900 yds and i did have the two skeins of mmmalabrigo right there with me, but….

…. wait, i think the mmmalabrigo fumes put me in a trance! yeah, that’s it - i was in a trance and in my mmmmalabrigo weakened state i made an unaccountable additional yarn purchase.

all that and i did not buy yarn to make me love the clappie pattern. which means there is undoubtedly another bad-girl purchase in my future.

please send help.

post script, some three hours later: i tried but i couldn't resist the mmmmalabrigo. balled up a skein and am three repeats into the lace background pattern of the amanda hat. the color is divine and working this yarn is finger orgasms.

seriously though.

*the village is a total win group on it rocks, the residents rock. total win.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Emma's Mingus, revisted

Emma granted me permission to use the photo she took of her socks. It's a much better photo of her wearing them.

It was through reading her blog and seeing her handknit socks that I found my way back to knitting. Somehow, her feet in the very first pair of handknit socks she'd received and that I made as a result of her blog feels kinda full circle-ish.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

So much for project loyalty (and FOs)

soooo, i am three repeats of the straight rows away from the decrease rows on my clapotis shawl. every bloody row is knit with a slight (but growing!) resentment. i timed it today as i worked the last two repeats and it takes me two bleeding hours to do one repeat. that means six hours til i hit the decrease rows. ugh and ugh again.

on the other hand, in an attempt to escape the clap, i did finish the last repeat on my second viking bag. i celebrated for a moment and then remembered it was i-cord time. i began and yeah, i’d kind of forgotten how tedious it can be.

i am definitely going to need to cast something else on right away. i’m thinking socks as it needs to be something fun and also something i can easily put down and then pick up again when i need some escape.

also i have a sh*tstorm of work to catch up on and am determined to do a thorough cleaning of the kitchen tomorrow.

it's a sad, sad day when cleaning the kitchen looks like a valid alternative to working a knitting project.

Friday, June 05, 2009

when you might be knitting too much (or too late at night)

This morning I woke up with two stitch markers stuck to my face. That's all I have to say about that.

(other than I kinda wish I'd thought to take a photo)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ugh, ugh and argh....

sooooooo, i just started on my third skein for my clappie and suddenly kind of hate it. i couldn't figure out what was wrong when it hit me: (non-triangular) shawls are pretty much just really, extra wide scarves and ummm.... didn't i kind of swear off scarves just the other day because the monotony was unbearable?!?!?!

so yeah, i am at an ugly place with it of either giving it a loooong nap (which doesn't appeal to me because i am going through some sort of phase wherein i need FOs and, i think i might love it when it's bloody done) or buckling down just to get it over. argh.

i am loving the yarn (Malabrigo Silky Merino). it is soooo super soft and light and glitters in the light. sigh. it is knitting heaven. on the flip side (for this project), it is also kind of sticky and laddering down the dropped columns is work, i tell ya. however, given how much panic a dropped stitch usually generates, this is a lovely yarn for me. it holds even dropped stitches like it woolen life depends on it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Done, given and modeled

Kristen's graduation party was today. It was a lovely afternoon and I was able to finally give her the hat/scarf set I made. Isn't she the cutest?

I think from now on I am going to ask all recipients to allow me photos of them with (or wearing) their FOs. They feel far more special to me when I can see them with their intended recipients.

Nodding off behind the wheel

So something new happened last night. I was knitting along on my little clappie peacefully, noting nothing amiss. Then as I was working the last row of my second repeat of the straight rows I realized I'd been nodding off while working it. Indeed, I realized I was nodding off quite a bit - while knitting. Yikers.

Thankfully, I was at a good stopping place. Here is where I was:

This is going along at what seems an agonizingly slow pace. I think because I've been working hats and smaller projects and had forgotten that some knits takes weeks or even months. My patience for CO to FO seems to pan out at about day three lately. I see a lot of hats happening for the holidays if this keeps up. By the by, did I mention I created the project page and bought the yarn and started a KAL for this last August? That means theoretically I've been working this for ten months. So, it should be done already, right?

The color combo had been bothering me. I think it was the orange where I'd hoped to find a rich red. It seemed a little halloween-ish to me. But as it's grown, it's grown on me. Now it seems very fall-like and that, I can live with. The yarn is as everyone says: pure fiber heaven. It is so smooth and light as a feather. It is knitting clouds really.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Still love those cables, baby

I am making progress on the second Viking Bag.
I love the pattern even more now. Karen is pure genius. I think I am moving along faster this time around because I am 'reading' it as I go. It's somehow making intuitive sense and I've barely needed to look to the actual pattern to know what to do next. It's in the genius of the design - the cables actually follow a logical, knowable pattern. Fan out, come together; over, then under. It makes sense.

This feels different than when I understood the logic of the Irish Moss stitch on the Must Have (lost my mind) Cardigan (oy, remember that massive case of the dumb?). That was a matter of seeing that there was a pattern to the pattern. This feels like something more. I'm beginning to think that maybe (just maybe) I am starting to grow as a knitter - maybe even from being a 'knitter' to being a real, live Knitter. Knitting itself is starting to make sense. I've noticed I am beginning to be able to read my stitches on the needle - to see their slants and whether they are lying (laying?) correctly for what they are to become. There are steps and two basic stitches and I've known those for years, but this is something else. This is feeling the knitting, understanding it in some holistic sense so that it's not just a matter of painstakingly reading each small part of the pattern and working it, but understanding it as whole, how it's meant to come together and then working off that understanding. Nifty.

Of course, now I am sure to do something tragically wrong and debunk this. Must go and pay homage of some sort to the knitting faeries lest they decide to show me what's what!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because Amanda rules my life now

I know I was complaining (kinda sorta) about the requests for the hat-n-scarf set I just wrapped up, but I cannot stop knitting the bloody Amanda Hat. Seriously, I have love for this pattern.

So, I give you the Pink Amanda:

Plus, it is knit up with this super inexpensive yarn that is made (in part) from recycled plastic! So I feel totally fine with the fact that I think I am going to make somewhere in the ballpark of 40,000,000,000,000 more of them.

p.s. and i also started another Viking Bag, cause i love-them-cables-baby

Monday, May 25, 2009

All Scarfed Out

Quickie post to put up the latest FO.

This weekend, I went down to MD/VA and had the best time with some of the most phenomenal women on the planet. That I am related to them is truly a blessing. What a lovely time with great aunts, aunts, cousins, nieces and of course, my dear mamma-san.

We had barbecue and 'sippies' - we laughed, we shared, there was a little dancing, and a lot of reminiscing. Overall, one of the best weekends in a looooooooong time.

And in between, there was (of course) knitting.

Finally finished the scarf to go the with Amanda Hat for Kristin.

Here's the (close-to-matching) set:

Overall, I am pleased with how they came out. But...
I am Totally. All. Scarfed. Out.

For real. This is a lovely pattern, written by none other than my knitting idol (aka The Yarn Harlot). It is impossibly easy to memorize and thus, can be worked most anywhere, anytime.

The problem, then? Well, it is a scarf. Which means it gets knit everywhere and all times in order just to get through the bloody thing. Scarves are endless. My patience and ability to stick with any given thing is...not.

But here's the super-fun part: I've gotten about five requests from people I esteem for the same set. Arggggghhhhh. Thankfully, hat and scarf season is a ways away.

Monday, May 18, 2009


No photos today, just a silly admission.

I farking looooooooooooove it when someone 'favorites' one of my projects on Ravelry. I just recently noticed the little pink hearts with numbers under some of my projects. I had no idea what they were, had not noted their presence before. The other day I clicked on the one under my Must Have (lost my mind) Cardigan and lo and behold, it announced that six people had marked my little sweater as a 'favorite.'

Are you kidding?!?!?!

Wow - what a tremendous compliment! So of course, I went and clicked on all the other little pink hearts and sent spiritual thank yous to everyone who thought enough of whatever I'd made to mark it so. There weren't so many, but each one was embarrassingly meaningful to me.

Then, as though that weren't enough, the last two CO projects I posted were fav'd almost as soon as I'd posted them.

I was so dorkily thrilled, I could have passed right out.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Emma's Mingus revealed

Emma's Mingus Socks, finally

So, one of my dearest and oldest (in terms of time known, not age) friends had a special birthday this year. She (and her blog) are what got me excited about knitting again. It was her photos of terrifically turned out hand-knit socks that incited me to try sock knitting in the first place and led to the addiction that has since had me squarely in its grip.

So clearly she was getting socks, right?

But this was a special birthday and so they had to be "special socks."

As is my custom, rather than take things in any logical fashion, I made decisions based on impulse and gut reactions. Having decided on socks, I then had an excuse to head on over to my LYS and you know, do what I do.

So, I walk in and Vickie (only the best LYSO ever) chides me because yeah, it's been a while. We chat and I begin ambling around - no plan, no grand scheme, just ogling and fondling until...

Oooooh, pretty! Ooooh soft! Me buy!

Now Vickie is a great LYSO and I like to think she has her regular customer's best intentions at heart. But realistically, she is also running a business. That being said, I am not clear whether she turned me on to the gorgeous yarns of the Adirondack Yarn Co. because she loves them so and felt I would appreciate their product or because it also happens to be some of the most expensive sock yarn she carries. Whatever the reason, those yarns are insanely delicious! They really know what they are doing with their scrumptious hand-dyed yarns and I love, love, love them.

But also, they had the perfect colorway. It is called Indigo and it is the most delicious blue/purple blend maybe ever. In indoor lighting, it is deep and very royal blue. In sunlight, it really comes to life. The purple turns almost neon and sweeps out of the royal blue base. Unreal. The colors are deep and vibrant and rich and most importantly, to my eye almost perfectly call to mind irises - which are only Emma's favorite flower.

So yeah, yarn decided.

Now, true to form, I didn't have a pattern in mind. Unfortunately, I didn't have an extraordinary amount of time, so I'd kinda hoped to fall for a thicker yarn, perfect for a quick knit. (Oh yes, because P.S.: I also decided to make her a Viking Bag as well. She'd asked after I finished my first one). But I knew this yarn had to be it, so the weight would get to decide me. And since this was the yarn and it is fingering weight, a quick knit was now waaaay out of the bloody question.

And then the perfect pattern came to me. Like a flash of inspirational light and I almost immediately got a headache.

Cookie A's Mingus Socks Pattern.

I love Cookie's patterns. I think she is a bonafide genius. Each and every one is detailed and perfect and lovely and this is my favorite among them.

But, it has been a pattern I cannot master in any way, shape or form. I have been working one sock for almost a year. One sock. Almost a year. I have tinked back and frogged this thing beyond all reason. The pattern is gorgeous, her instructions are always written flawlessly and yet, I cannot do it. Seriously, the universe could guarantee me a free hour to gather anything I want from the WEBS warehouse and yet, I still could not finish this sock. It is quite simply beyond me.

Of course it was the perfect pattern for this yarn. Of course.


But, me being me, once the impulse hit, it was a done deal. The last eleven months of tinking and ripping back, the endless frustration, the slightly less than eloquent dialogue I've had while trying to knit this one sock be damned. This was it! Plus, it was Emma, my first best friend when I moved home alone in seventh grade, who drove me back and forth during my college years, who was the first person to try to teach me to drive - on a standard, no less, the one person who saw me through...oh, I don't know - everything from age 12 til about age 30. Though years have passed since we've been close, I'd empty a vein for her. Surely I could manage to figure out how to knit these socks on her behalf, right?

Well, as it turns out: right!

Emma's Mingus Socks:

slightly overcast daylight

early evening, using indoor light

heel - I love the detail of this heel

I have never worked a pattern so sloooooowly and so carefully, but I ended up only having to tink back a few times.

And, Emma's very own feet in them! Worth it all.

Finally, because they were so gorgeous, Emma's birthday cakes.

These were made special because in addition to knitting, being a great wife, mother to four [count 'em] kids and being an overall excellent human being, she also makes incredible quilts! These cakes were designed based on photos of actual quilts she's created. Unbelievable. I am humbled by her talent and that of the cake maker.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Soooo behind - thank goodness for 'occasions'!

Terribly, terribly behind. But here's the latest FO. This pattern is insanely easy and yet...

...and yet the first four times I tried it, I failed. Utterly. And completely.

It is the Amanda Hat and super popular. I've no idea why I've been unable to work it at all - or why tonight I cast it on and finished about 5 hours later. Go figure. I think it's the pressure of it being a gift for someone having a party in a few weeks. Co-worker moving to Chicago in a couple of months.

And now I'm just bold enough to attempt to make up a matching scarf in the pattern I couldn't even do the first four times.

(Cause sometimes "bold" means "crazy," right?)

Monday, May 11, 2009

More for Mamma-san

Sometime before Christmas (I know, I know) I settled on a hat and scarf for my dear Mamma-san. I finishes the hat in plent of time (I'm pretty sure i gave it to her, right???) but making a matching scarf was sloooow going- and got side-tracked by me deciding to love a different yarn.

Here is the hat itself (it's the Raisin Beret on Ravelry):
top view (oops, maybe she never did get it???)

It's cute enough. But as one knows, my dear Mamma-san likes colors. And she likes 'em vivid. So, when I came across some Noro Kureyon on sale, well I was compelled to make another. It is here:
inside view

top view

I am sure mom got this one, because she wore it to Obama's inauguration (yeah, I gotta write about being there soon!). Here we (Mamma-san, Yolanda and I) are at the inauguration.
Let me say that again: At. The. Inauguration. Whoa nelly!

See, mom has the hat on. (Clearly she got this one) And for the record, these colors are reallllly vivid and enabled us to keep track of mom - even in a crowd of 2 million people!

But the scarf kept eluding me. I wanted to find one the resembled the hat's stitch pattern. The Noro was no longer on sale and mamma likes her scarves long. Ugh. Finally, I simply used the same bloody stitch pattern as the hat, knit flat and slightly modified and sucked up the cost of the yarn. Here it is:

Hopefully, she gets it in time for next Christmas!