Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wrap it up, Part II: How did that happen?

So, in my Ravelry-induced mania to record and 'get credit' for everything I've ever knit, I asked my Mom to get out everything I've knit for her. I have NO idea how this happened, but I think my mother has more sweater knit by me than I do. Now, I like knitting for other people to some extent, but I'll be honest and say that I like knitting for myself more--does that make me a bad person? Yet somehow, my mother has managed to come away with some really nice and difficult-to-knit items made by me. I guess she birthed me and everything, but whatever! I suppose it helps that she has a bust size that has ranged from 7-15 (!) inches smaller than mine (my bust size changed, mind you). so it was easier to knit her small/medium sweaters than to make behemoths for myself at one time.

Let's go in reverse chronological order. You'll notice a chromatic theme, however....
I finally finished the Katherine Hepburn sweater. I finished knitting all of it about a month ago, but needed buttons and real-life assurance that it would fit before finishing the whole thing. Pretty much, it's perfect if I do say so myself. The color--the yarn--the texture--the fit--the sleeves. Ok, there's a little wonkiness on the top of the button band, but what can I do?

Then there was the Icarus Shawl. In all honesty, I did not start out knitting this for my mother, but when it turned out slightly smaller than I wanted for myself, she became a grateful yet unwearing recipient. She had actually forgotten about it until I asked her to get it out. Whatever. It was a learning project, and she has new appreciation for it, so maybe Icarus will fly yet.

Then there was this time that I thought, why not learn how to do stranded work on the fly? Mom really liked this sweater, and I figured the stranded work was localized and voila. I like this sweater a lot, and it came out pretty well. I almost like it enough to make one for myself, but who needs big ol' bi-color flowers parading across her ample bosom?

That sweater actually was in the same pattern book as this red-pink sweater that was the original reason for buying the booklet. Again, the lace rib was really nice, and this linen-cotton-poly blend yarn (now unavailable I think) was a great spring-weight sweater for Mom. Notice the color....

And finally, this modern aran delight. I remember NOT enjoying knitting this heavy mercerized cotton shoestring yarn. And it was the first time, I think that I knit an aran pattern and learned to use the chart.I remembered it being a little dumpy. But it has held up well, looks nice, and there's nothing much else like it. Go me!

So that totals FOUR sweaters and a lace shawl that I've knit for my rather perfectionistic mother. Ok, I have four me-knit sweaters I wear and three that I have to frog because they're way too big. Not one of them has color work. I do not have a lace shawl. I do not have a spring pullover. I better get crackin'!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wrap it up, Part the First!

I have been knitting. As Anne-Marie once said of me, "Penelope actually knits." As opposed to blogging, yarn shopping, and, well, (as in A-M's case) gestating a baby. But December is a VERY busy time for musicians, and a busy time for this bi-holiday celebrating couple. (uh, two holidays--Hanukah and Christmas. Not that Poem-Man and I are bisexual. Not that there's anything wrong with that...) So here's part the first of what I was knitting, the HAT edition:

I figured that Tina was doing all the knitting and blogging about hats, so I didn't need to do the blogging. I was doing my own knitting, however. And for much of December it was all about hats.

The first was a Foliage Hat that went to my BIL's Significant Other. She liked it. I really liked it and could barely stand to send it off to her. I knit it in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Worsted. It's a must knit. Sorry don't know how to properly link to Flickr: Here it is.

It was so much a "must knit" that I went to knit it for Sit n' Knits Holiday Party Exchange. First I knit it in some Manos del Uruguay dug out from languishing in my stash and did the extra repeat like I had for the first Foliage hat. Too big. Then I knit it without the extra repeat. Too small. So, like freakin' Goldilocks, I went on to knit it without the extra repeat but on bigger needles. NOT just right. Fnck it. Be it known that I started knitting the hat with just a week before the party to go. I went with a different pattern. The Amanda Hat!

In the end, Tina, the December hat-obsessed, ended up getting it! Yay!

In not-self-knitted, not-hat related news, I got these scrumptious mittens from Tawana. I really wanted them when I saw them on her blog and read that they were for the Sit n Knit exchange. I wanted them so much, I yelled "PICK ME, PICK ME!" before she picked a gift recipient name and then she PICKED ME! I LOVE that. and them. (Hey, Tawana, good luck with the final weeks of your gestation!)

Before the Foliage fiasco that eventually fortunately fixed itself. I made myself this crazy thing that I heard about an Stash and Burn. May I humbly say that Jenny and Nicole have a very focused podcast and present lots and lots of pattern ideas with great enthusiasm. I like the hat, but figured it was maybe to weird, but many of my Sit n' Knit grrls seem to like it enough to knit it, so it's a hit. And I Love the Frog Tree Merino Worsted I knit it in.

I guess the saddest thing is the short-lived Cap Karma I made for Poem-man. Four days to knit it and four days for him to lose it to the MTA. He was so sad. Sad enough that I didn't get too mad and bought some Karabella Super Yak to make a replacement (eventually)! Here's the original. If you see it on the D train, would you pick it up and return it to us?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fortunately, Unfortunately...the socks edition

Ever read this children's book Fortunately Unfortunately? It begins:

"Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded.
Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.
Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute."

Ok, here's the Ewephoric Socks version:

Fortunately, One very cold post-Thanksgiving Day, Ewephoric had on some beautiful, hand-knit wool socks .(Sub-fortunately, the color was beautiful. Sub-unfortunately, the name of the patterns was, well, unfortunate.)

Unfortunately, These lovely socks had a hole!

Fortunately, Ewephoric remembered she had extra yarn to repair it with since this yarn had been put up in a whoppingly generous skein.

Unfortunately, There are holes EVERYWHERE, and in both socks. Start over from scratch? With yarn that seems a bit fragile?

Fortunately, Poem-man and I spent the day after Thanksgiving in Cold Spring, NY.
Unfortunately, Poem-man got sick of looking at antiques and at the (awfully cold, but beautiful ) view of the Hudson River, and we had to leave.

Fortunately, On the way out of the Main Street are of town we found a YARN STORE!
Unfortunately, On the way out of the Main Street are of town we found a YARN STORE!

Fortunately, The store had beautiful yarn and an appropriate sign.

Unfortunately, Knittingsmith had sock yarn.

Fortunately, Ewephoric's stash was full of sock yarn.
Unfortunately, some Paca-Peds in the colorway "Singin' the Blues" made its way into her stash...even after Ewephoric had recently received an installment of sock club yarn.

Fortunately, Ewephoric does not feel compelled to repair the holey socks since she has new yarns to knit with.

Unfortunately, Ewephoric has lost her sock-knitting mojo and keeps turning sock yarn into non-sock accessories, even though she loves to wear hand-knit socks in the cold winter weather.

Oh, well. How will the story end?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Forging new paths.

Phew...I'm just about done with 2007 endless project #2. (This being 2007-endless-#1).
Just some buttons, button bands, and button holes to go. I think my Mom is gonna LOVE it.

So--just when I've knit as much as I think I can knit:

1) I tried some crochet. Not a bad effort. The pattern didn't come charted, and I don't know how to read crochet, so there are some mistakes, But I don't care. It's a cute pattern, the SWTC Bamboo yarn was left over from some other project, and--GET THIS--my picture got picked to be the identifying picture for the Crocus Scarf pattern on Ravelry.

May I humbly say that that is the FOURTH picture of mine being used on Ravelry as the featured pic for a pattern. Am I famous yet?

Pattern: Crocus Scarf from Knitting Daily
Yarn: SWTC Bamboo in Fiery Red--bought it in the Summer '06 from someone on E-bay.
Crocheted on: Size 3 Boye crochet hook
Time spent crocheting when I shouldabeen knitting: 1 week

2) I started a second Clapotis. Why? Well, because it was there. I need another scarf like a hole in the head. But I had this lovely Wollmeise Sock Yarn that I couldn't bear to knit for something I would wear on my feet. And I liked the intense, crazy colorway "Suzanne" enough that I wanted something simple to show it off. AND-- I fear I may have lost the first Clapotis I made. Dang. Lastly, I can knit a clapotis in about a week---or at least I did so the first time.

3) I threw a knitting shower! Woo hoo! I've never thrown a baby shower before, much less one that became a Brooklyn yarn crawl. Such fun. And here's the little jumper I knit for Tawana's knitter-in-utero.

Pattern: Brittany Jumper from Minnowknits
Yarn: Cotton Fleece in "Wisteria"
Yarn Enabler: Knit-a-way
Knit on: Size 6 Knitpicks needle
Time spent hiding my knitting from Tawana: 2 weeks

4) I knit some with boys, men, ya know, people who bear that ole Y-chromosome. Really. This PH Knitting group meets in the neighborhood over from me in Brooklyn, is run by a man, and when we met at Freddy's on Sunday, there were four women and THREE men. Poem-man might actually get jealous...
5) I am humbled in my knitting after reading this obituary in today's Times.

I definitely have NOT knit all I can!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Long-awaited debut

She's been waiting so patiently, this beautiful scarf-shawl of recent completion, to be shown off to her advantage in the blogosphere. I was a harried knitter, recalcitrant blogger, and spending my time being the busiest woman in public school show biz, but we're all ready for our debut: This was a fun, fun, lovely, lovely knitting project because the pattern is easy and creates a beautiful texture, and because the yarn color and hand is so rewarding.
Yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle in "Vergissmeinnicht" (Forget-me-not)
Yarn enabler: The Loopy Ewe, September 2007
Knit on: One 40" Knitpicks Size 3 Circular Needle
Time spent knitting when I should have been eating more vegetables: Oct. 3rd-31, 28 Days.
Size: 72 inches by 8 inches.
So, a little bit about my process and alterations. First of all, I did not knit this in the weight of yarn called for (I went for fingering instead of DKish-sportish), so it turns out to be more of a scarf than a shawl. If I were to do it again, I'd probably have gone two more repetitions wider and lived with a shorter shawl, though I do like the length I have.

The pattern calls for knitting two identical pieces, both starting from what I call the 'teardrop' ends and then grafting the two pieces together to form the middle seam. In order to be sure they actually were identical and that I would use up all the coveted yarn, I knit both halves simultaneously, one feeding from the outside of the ball of yarn and one feeding from inside the ball of yarn.. I just kept knitting until I was out of yarn--like when Lady and the Tramp both inhale the same strand of spaghetti and end up kissing. (Did any of y'all actually catch that reference?!?!?) I was dreading kitchenering the two together along some 70 stitches or so. In the end, I decided to do a three-needle bind off. I had meant to do a 'reverse' three-needle bind-off so that I'd have a purl bump row that reflected the pattern, but I couldn't to it because of where I was in the pattern or where the yarn was or something. In the end, I liked the result and the ease of execution, so I'm sticking with it!
I hate to add to the whole Wollmeise craze, but holy cow, I love this yarn. I know some feel it's splitty. I am not one of those people. Some think it's a little cottony even though it's 100% superwash merino. I say cottony in a good way--i.e. fairly smooth, even a little slick, and not itchy. And it's hard to see in the pictures, but the lapis blue of this colorway is kissed with teal green that just adds to the depth of color. I would advise you to buy Wollmeise, but only if you buy some for me at the same time or at least get the hell out of my way as I rush the e-commerce doors of any establishment that is carrying it. It might be worth a trip to Germany....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why I don't spin.

I don't spin because:

1) It looks like sheep don't always have fun growing their hair out for me to shear, process, and then spin.

2) I don't live on a stream that can power my machine carder. (uh, sorry it's sideways?)

3) Yeah, I don't have a machine carder. And I don't think I could carry one up the stairs.

4) I have no spinning wheel, and this wouldn't fit in my living room anyway.

5. Lastly, I don't spin because I would look ghastly in this dress.

I did happily learn about fiber, spinning, and water-powered carders and living 'back in the day' while visiting Old Sturbridge Village, though. They didn't sell any wool in the gift shop, but they did have some lovely fabric for you quilters and sewers out their. And it was a beautiful autumn day.

Monday, October 8, 2007

WIP it WIP it good....

No longer the WIP albatross it once was, it is now the completed WEDDING AFGHAN!

Pattern: Aran-Style Afghan from Cables Untangled
Yarn: Swish Superwash in "Capri" #23878; June 2007
Skeins knitted: 27 in all, including fringe, roughly 2970 yards
Yarn enabler: Knit Picks, June 2007
Knit on: One 40" Knitpicks Size 8 Circular Needle
Time spent knitting this afghan: 86 Days!
# of days that S & C have been married: 64 days
Repeats completed: 12
Size: 50 inches by 60 inches.

These are pre-washing photos. I trepidatiously (ok, it's not a word...) put it into the laundromat washing and drying machines, to good effect except now the fringe has some 'split ends,' but if I trim the split ends, the next time it's washed (by the receiving couple) the fringe will get even shorter. Probably should have gone with a different border, but it's too late because there is absolutely no yarn left. I also think it should be a bit longer, but there's NO YARN LEFT. Good thing I cut the fringe for the whole thing before knitting the last few rows, as we're talking roughly 120 yards just for the fringe!

Now give me a moment while I do the 'it's-finished-now-I-can-knit-the-million-other-things-in-my-queue dance.'


There..I feel much better. Tomorrow, I turn this lovingly (ahem) knitted item over to the bride to enjoy a life in their happy home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Karma bites my AS$.

So it's all karmic (though I'm sure I'm using some lame, unauthentic understanding of Karma).

It goes like this:

I'm sitting at my computer and just randomly go to The Loopy Ewe site because I've been wanting some Wollmeise sock yarn. And YIPPEE! There are some skeins left and in colors that I had scouted out and wanted. And I think, no, really you have 10 yarns in your stash, you're not supposed to buy yarn. Yet, I throw caution to the winds and enter the karmic roller coaster and purchase not one, but two skeins, becoming a yarn pigweena (yes, it's a really word. shut up.)

B) So as to not completely shoot my yarn stash vow all to hell, I madly finish socks for Poem-man so as to be able to cast on something else and thus take a yarn out of my stash. Mind your of course that I'm not supposed to be casting anything on--I'm supposed to be finishing the wedding afghan...

C) Unbeknownst to me, the yarn actually arrives in Brooklyn, but not to my greedy little hands because I'm not home on the first delivery attempt and no delivery notice is left either. But that's okay, more time to swatch and get a little new something on the needles. Excellent.

D) I'm walking the few blocks from the subway to Ms. Allena's B-day party (Most excellent fun). As I'm walking quickly (because I'm late) past this tiny, unassuming thrift store, I look in a bin by the table outside the door and find these: Holy Lutefisk! They looked like some kind of authentic Scandavian knitwear. Way authentic, it turns out.

My take was really two pairs of Selbu Mittens and a pair of slipper/legwarmer/mukluk things. The mittens are totally unworn, as they still have the original tags and are still knotted together. The slippers are barely worn. All this for $9! Apparently the mittens are hand-knit. Beautiful find--though now I'm totally too intimidated to try knitting anything like this myself.

So life is good--knitting is happening, beautiful handknits found on in a thriftstore, and beautiful yarn on its way.

BUT--here's the karmic justice. I have to go to our godforsaken post office to pick up my package. Argh. Poem-man actually goes to the Post Office on Saturday to pick up a package for himself, but neither of us know, because no postal carrier left a notice, that there's a package of yarn love waiting for me. Argh. So today, I head home quickly from work and have about 10 minutes to of parking before my car is not supposed to be in front of the Post Office, but right after I go in the busy, godforsaken Post Office, I see a NYC traffic cop issuing me a freakin' parking ticket because I've actually parked NOT in a parking zone that ends at 4 pm, but in a NO PARKING anytime zone. GREAT FREAKIN' damn-you-karma double ARGH!

But in the end, I get my ticket, get my package, and have the lovely, lovely reward of yarn to assuage my pain. sigh. I take this all as a cautionary tale of what happens to a person when they break their stash vow. Consider yourself warned. The kicker is that the name of the colorway of the really lapis blue yarn is Vergissmeinnicht. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's German for "Forget me Not." damn.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's a race...

I've been trying to knit as much as possible--opting for the subway rather than driving when I can, avoiding sudoku in order to knit, watching movies at home instead of dark knitting-unfriendly movie theaters.

I got slowed down by the fact that I knit the heel gussets and turned hte heel and had started on the legs (I went toe-up) of these socks when I realized they were too short. The best thing about doing socks two at a time is that they're done at the same time and are totally the same. The bad thing is that when you make a mistake you do it for TWO socks, which means ripping out the work for two socks and reknitting TWO socks. criminy.

In any case, they're done and muchly satisfying to Poem-Man. The yarn is scrumptious and seemingly durable, though I did reinforce the heels and toes just in case. The socks fabric is really smooshy and dense. Nice!

Yarn enabler: Webs (in the actualy store!), August 2007
Knit on: One 32" Knitpicks Size 0 Circular Needle
Time spent knitting these instead of that afghan: 19 days

Speaking of that afghan, I have just 5 skeins to go. 5 skeins and fringe. That's all that's between me and one of three sweaters dying to be cast on. In the meantime, I'm in a race against time and stash because I impulsively, compulsively, and serendipitously bought some Wollmeise sock yarn that had been snuck up onto the Loopy Ewe site. (apparently she sold some 330 skeins of Wollmeise in 2 hours. sheesh.) There's not room in my stash just yet, but if the postal service is typically and mercifully slow, I just might be able to make room in my stash for that Wollmeise....

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Keep it comin'

What's crack-a-lackin'? Yes, work has begun again and the make-your-own-agenda of the summer is over, so knitting time as been at a premium. And with ALL the projects on the needles, progress has been steady, but a little watching-the-grass-grow slow.

And then--SURPRISE!--this came in the mail today.

I had totally forgotten that I had signed up for the Hill Country Yarns Sock Club back in August, so when I saw a package from a yarn company in the mail. I had to squeal like a little girl. And then when I opened the package, I was doubly happy because I love the color periwinkle and I love Sweet Peas (in fact I carried sweet peas in my wedding bouquet.). And boy am I glad that the green sock in the picture of the pattern is NOT the yarn I received...

More incentive to finish the projects on the needles. And to prove that I am indeed knitting, here are some progress shots. I am on Ravelry now, and have 'made it big,' so to speak, because my picture of the afghan is the featured picture for the Melissa Leapman pattern. Yahoo!

Friday, August 31, 2007

infidelity? bad...

So this is what it might feel like to cheat on a marriage--this having too many WIPs. Sure, I like that when I get a little bored with one project, I toss it aside and go on with a different one. Oh, yes, I love the different yarns--one because its soft, one because its substantial, one because of its color, and one because of its content. I also love different projects: one because of its simplicity, one because of its emerging texture, one because of its complications, one because I know the pattern so well. See how this goes? Too many loves to concentrate on.

The problem is is that I feel like I'm not getting anywhere with every single one of them! And when I work on one, I want to work on a different one. This WIP infidelity is screwing with my head!
For most of my knitting life, I've been a pretty much monogamous knitter, ok, maybe two WIP at a time. I committed and completed each project with a feeling of engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. For example my most faithful project in the last months is the Wedding Present afghan (see wedding=faithful, get it?)
Time elapsed: 49 days
# of days that S & C have been married: 26
Repeats Completed: 8.5
Skeins knitted: 18 of 26.
Length: 37.5 inches
Hence: There's light at the end of the tunnel!
Satisfaction quotient is high, but the afghan was getting so heavy that it broke my knitpicks options cable! I even tried using different needles, but didn't like it! Jane to me to glue the broken one, and I did, so all is better. It is like knitting an endless scarf, though....

Now, I usually kept a small traveling project, like socks that I could knit easily in public and while I was working out. Like these socks:

I like having socks on the needle so much that when I wanted to show Anne-Marie how I do toe-up socks, I thought there was no better way than to cast on socks to make for her Cashew. Isn't she cute and aren't the toesies cute?

So now there are two pairs (ok, maybe 1 and a half) on the needles.

But no, wait! I had to go ahead and cast on a sweater for my mother. Ooh, this yarn feels good after the heft of the afghan yarn and the relative stringiness of sock yarn.

See lots of WIPs to capture my attention. But it seems I'm putting out a lot of energy knitting and not seeing too many results. I just am not a knitting playah. So there. Monogamy for me (well, when I finish all these projects.) ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

March of Shame Concludes

Yes, I think I may have broken my stash vow. Bottom line, is yes, I've broken my stash vow, but I think I can rationalize/justify/amend my list to make it seems as if perhaps I have not busted the stash vow.

1) I am removing the Lorna's Laces yarn from my stash list because really I have only one skein. Not even enough for a pair of socks. The yarn was supposed to be for mittens, but I made the pink mittens from some leftover other pink yarn, so there--I'm taking it off the list.

2) Ms.-Met-loving knitter Nicole took the "Coral" (uh, I think it's Mets orange) knitpicks sock yarn off my hands for me. Yee ha!

3) I'm not going to Rhinebeck this year because I have to go to a wedding in Chicago that weekend, so no need to save up stash places for then. I did go to WEBS on this trip and may not be going back there soon, so the shopping opportunity was at hand. And I was so absolutely overwhelmed at WEBS that I lost my stash-maintaining mind.

4) I am now maintaining three projects:

a. One smallish project to work on while working out (socks, mittens, hat)
b. a sweater
c. The wedding afghan. (This is really a phantom project.)

YES! I only have nine yarns on my stash list! Let the shopping begin!

See, I am lacking in shame...

To continue from the other day: I finally tore myself away from the sock yarn at WEBS and walked through all the alpaca loveliness, I went back into the crazy holy grail of the WEBS warehouse there Jen had told me the real bargains begin. There are grey shelves after grey shelves full of perfectly good yarn piled in bags and in single skeins on the shelves, but they're not organized by content, brand, or weight, so you just kind of wander through mouth agape and look at anything that catches your eye. Meanwhile, you're surrounded by boxes of non-bargain yarns trapped in boxes waiting for someone to buy them. It's a scene. I went prepared to buy yarn for some sweaters I wanted to make and came up with these purchases:

This was my most reasonable purchase. Exactly the right yarn in the right color for the first project I had listed in my hands, the Swirled Pentagon Pullover (scroll down to the bottom to see it) from Knitting Nature. This Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL is a light worsted in alpaca/wool. Very lovely, straight ahead yarn.

Then there was the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. The color enticed me. The non-heft of this wool/silk blend grabbed me. The feel of the yarn enfolded me. Then I came to my senses and then the price convinced me, even though it wasn't the right thing for the second project I had written on my list. I bought a ton of this yarn--some 2700 yards. It's pretty thin, though. DK at 22/inch. I think I'm going to design a Aran turtleneck pullover for this or admit that I'm not smart enough to figure it out and knit it into the Weekend Pullover.

This is the final purchase I made. As I brought my goodies to the front of the store where Poem-man was napping in a chair listening to Oscar Peterson on his Ipod, I passed the racks of WEBS brand Valley Yarns, and this slight-glossed wool called out to me: "dark purple." "Eggplant." "Aubergine!"
"Grape Jelly!"
and though I had no plan for it, and it was going to push me over my self-imposed stash limit, a sweater's worth of Valley Yarn Colrain came home with me. Enough, I hope, to make the Byzantine Bazic (altered slightly to include set-in sleeves)

Let me note at this time that each of these yarns cost about $3.50/skein. $3.50 for 109 yds of wool/alpaca. $3.50 for 191 yds of wool/silk. $3.50 for 109 yds of wool/tencel. How does that bad commercial go? I'll never pay retail again! Well, probably I will, but cripes, let's just drive to Webs from time to time! Oh, and these yarns are still for sale online at Webs.

Soon, my freedom of summer will end, but I have my stash to keep my warm and busy. Let's take one last longing glance at the spoils of this March of Shame.