Monday, July 30, 2007

Dream or nightmare?

Last night I had images of a past relationship. Partly dream, partly nightmare--it's all how you look at it. I think I was influenced by this: holy sh;t!

See--it's a dream or a nightmare depending on how you look at it. It's a lot of yarn to knit--what a dream. It's a LOT of yarn to knit--nightMARE! Dream: There's a lot of yarn. Nightmare: What yarn do I actually have?

For me it would be a lot like having an LYS nearby that was poorly organized. And of course, in the city, there's no WAY I'd ever have enough room for all that yarn. The pressure of knitting up all that yarn would also weigh on me until I was flatly blocked like some huge piece of lace.

By the way, check out the rest of that blog. Some incrediby cute thingamajigs to knit!

I am happy with my paltry 10-yarn stash (temporarily languishing at only 6 yarns) and knowing my yarn well and having it call out to me what it wants to become. Whew.

In the meantime, here's a wedding afghan update:

Time elapsed: 16 days
S & C's Wedding Day: -7 days.
Repeats Completed: 3.5
Skeins knitted: 7.5 of 26.
Length: 16.5 inches
Hence: I have GOT to get crackin' on this.

I keep getting distracted by these little buggers. In fact, I'm about to go exercise just so I can go work on them...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Saved from a fate worse than death...

Here I sat, all ready to start a new traveling project (as opposed to the afghan project, which stays at home), but what would it be? I have this lovely Brooklyn Handspun calling out to be socks, but I couldn't find a sock pattern I wanted to do in this variegated sock yarn. hmmmm...

Pomatomus (for a third go-around? goodness gracious)

Monkeys? (no, been there done that, twice...)

Ribs? Cables? Lace? What would it be?

Then this shows up in my e-mail today-- I LOVE Interweave Knits for they have saved me from a fate worse than death (wherein I have the yarn, the needles, and the sock-knitting jonez, but no pattern!)

Because there they were--socks patterns already all ready for downloadable fun--no need to even wait for the issue to show up at my door.

Honeycomb Socks! Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. (Anyone know this old song? I LOVE IT!)

But the heart-stealer of the day, I think is going to be: AMBROSIA SOCKS!

Shout a hearty hallelujah and amen and be seated for some sock knitting!

(PS--Anyone notice that I have 4 (four!) empty spaces to fill in my stash list? Should I wait until I go to Webs? Can anyone get me some Wollmeise?)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Identified FO!

Why aren't mittens the new socks? I mean, c'mon, I finished these mittens in four days! Bravely, I went ahead with exactly 74 grams of yarn left after finishing my entrelac cap hoping the entire time that I'd have enough yarn. Whew. I made it. What do I like about these?

They were boring stockinette, and I used up the black yarn first so at least there were two colors. Besides, I didn't want to possibly add any yarn-eating feature, so stockinette I went. In the end they seemed to spartan (even in raspberry and black!), so I decided to put my initials on them. I thought I might embroider a whole word on each hand, but my hands are small, and initials seemed clean somehow.

I also like the "Peekaboo" feature of the mittens. The yarn is an incredibly warm wool-blend, so I don't think I'll suffer much from the cold with the pop-top finger opening.

Pattern: Peekaboo Mittens
Yarn: 75 grams of Elsebeth Lavold Angora in Black & magenta Yarn enabler: in March, 2007
Knit on: One 36" Knitpicks Size 6
Time I spent knitting these when I should have been on the elliptical machine: 4 days.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A winter sunflower...

In the midst of a beautiful summer day knitting with some great folks with beautiful weather and obnoxious music and inconsiderate mary-jane smokers (aren't I cute...) in beautiful Central Park, I finished the Entrelac Beret. As I wrote before, this was my first entrelac experience, and I really enjoyed it. I got good at knitting backwards and at making things up as I went along. I really got to practice my entrelac skills because I practically knit the whole thing twice. The first time I 'finished' it, you could have used it as a tote bag for three bowling balls it was so big. So I in the end, I only did three rows of 7-stitch entrelac, and then one 6-stitch, one 5-stitch, one triangle row , then the decreases and OUT! Know that I have a big head. Physically, I mean!

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Angora in Black (1.5 skeins) & magenta (1ish skein)
Yarn enabler: in March, 2007
Knit on: One 36" Knitpicks Size 6
Time I spent knitting these when I should have been putting musical theater youngsters through their paces: 14 days, July 8-22.

I can't believe this is how I decide to show my face online. Oh well. It's a bathroom-sited self-taken portrait of me in my slouchin' entrelac beret trying to match my magenta parka lining/inner jacket thing. I couldn't bring myself to put on my whole winter coat in the middle of July. I'm hoping I have enough left-over yarn to make some mittens to complete the set. They won't be entrelac though--I mean talk about overkill...

This picture shows my wedding afghan project. Here are the stats:

Time elapsed: 10 days
S & C's wedding Day: -12 days. (Twelve days to go!)
Repeats Completed: 2.5
Skeins knitted: 5.5 of 26.
o. mah. gawd.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

to FO or not to FO...

Well, blocked and worn, here's DONNA! The sweater didn't come out exactly the way I wanted. I had hoped for a a bit of a fitting, va-va-voomy sort of sweater and instead I got a slouchy, kind-a-roomy sweater which fits and will be a good comfort of a sweater to wear come this fall. The short rows ending up giving me too much room in the bust and the ribbing on the side didn't pull it in in the waist as much as I had hoped. But c'mon, let's remember that a sweater is not a shaper, if ya know what I mean.

Pattern: Donna
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silk Road DK Tweed in "Cedar"
Yarn enabler: Webs
Knit on: One 36" Knitpicks Size 5
Time I spent knitting this and about 4 other projects: Three months! Good god, that's a long time for a stockinette sweater. I must have been distracted by the socks!

Hey, it's an FO. And it's going might be the only one around for a while....

Say hello to my ball and chain. It's a gift for someone else's attaching of a ball-and-chain. I say that with more bitterness than I intend because I certainly don't think of marriage as a ball-and-chain affair and because I find the knitting fairly enjoyable. I'm mostly bitter because this is an UFO whose emotional rush of completion is a LOOOONNNG way off. This little panel represents one complete repeat of 22 rows and almost two skeins of knitting. I have 24 more skeins to go and I'm worried that the afghan will be too short and that I may have to throw myself on Knitpicks' matching dyelot mercy. I think the afghan will feel lovely, be beautiful, and be a project full of affection for the marrying friend. In the meanwhile I've decided that whenever I knit at home it has to be on this project and not any other or I'll never finish it. I've already conceded that I won't finish in time for their August 5th wedding, but I refuse to use up the entire year past the wedding in which it is still polite to present the gift. And I have to finish this up with some alacrity as I have another friend marrying in October...

Yup, this is my out-of-apartment knitting. It calls to me regularily because I know with just a few
hours of knitting I could get the rush of having an FO. God, I love that rush. I think I knit and finish things fast because I love that rush so much. But know I must be disciplined...and perhaps knowing that I can knit on it when I'm exercising or hanging out at a cafe or with knitters or while on a subway means this little beret has in its power to get me out of the house.

Here's my future...part of my buying spree was the acquisition of all these Interweave issues from when I wasn't so so so obsessed with knitting. The embossed leaves socks are in there, the Pearl Buck jacket, the Hepburn projects to obsess over... to wait patiently in line while I enter the afghan black hole.

And have you seen this? The Knitting Circle Shows Its Chic.

Monday, July 9, 2007


See--here's the thing. My stashing declaration says nothing about knitting accessories or knitting books. So I go online, shop all I want, remind myself it's not yarn, and then buy like crazy. I think this tendency may be where the suppressed yarn desires go to die.

Exhibit A:

The goody box I received from today. THREE BOOKS! And two of them don't really even have patterns in them--I'm reading them just for knitting fun. The Vogue book in particular is full of great pictures of great sweaters with NO patterns. Argh. That's ok, though, because there's lots of other useful stuff in the book. And, c'mon they're having a 40% off all books sale! What can a girl do.

Then there's the plastic space bags to handle my stash. I know my stash is not extensive, but it includes yarn for whole sweaters and an afghan, so it's a little out of control right now. I got a yarn cutter because I nearly ripped my hands up trying to break the Wick yarn when I was doing scissorless airline travel.

And then notice how there's THREE Knitpicks color cards? Those evil Knitpicks folks are trying to get me to break my stashing vow. I only ordered ONE color card for Shine Sport. Why did they also send me cards for Telemark and Palette, then? Hmm. pure evil. I already have one for Wool of the Andes....

Exhibit B: Some time two weeks ago, on my NC vacation, Interweave Knits was offering back issues for 5 for the price of 4. I think I got like 10. Ok, maybe 5. That box of shame hasn't come yet.

I'm outta control. I've got to come up with some sort of means of self-discipline when it comes to books and accessories.

In the meanwhile, I'm also feeling like a smarty-pants because I managed to negotitate my way through beginning this entrelac beret/cap. It was full of newish and BRAND-new techniques for me.

1. Tubular cast on? Yessiree bob! I got a tutorial that I love for that.

2. Excel spreadsheet to figure out the right amount of stitches to cast on and work into the base triangles for the entrelac? Check. But I haven't really figured out if the numbers I got for the decreasing in the spreadsheet actually make sense. I felt so, well, math-y, putting things into Excel!

3. Entrelac in the round? With two colors? Uh...I tried a the IK-Eunny Jang tutorial. Didn't get it. I tried following the directions in the pattern. Didn't get it. Finally after getting past the base triangles, I just took two triangles off the main needles and put it 'em on one double pointed needle and looked and fiddled until I taught myself entrelac. Go me!

4. Knitting backwards? YES! I don't know if I'm doing it properly or even in the most efficient way possible, but the resulting stockinette is convincing. Yay! After knitting backwards in entrelac while riding a exercise bike this morning (so proud of an extra-smart hamster or something), I decided to look at a tutorial for knitting backwards, and it makes my head spin. I figure if it's working, I'm not going to mess with my ill-gotten technique, right?

Lastly, before you all throw knitting needles at me for my flying FOs, know that I'm about to embark on endless projects, and I may never have an FO again for a long time. I have friends getting married in August and October (sadly, during Rhinebeck...jeez. It's a good thing I really like them.) and I have wedding afghans as presents lined up as projects. I know I know, there's always the Bloomie's registry...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

So yummy it's...WICKABLE!

Though these socks were conceived in the crucible of air travel from the Southeastern US, I think they will bring me nothing but good memories to come!

It's nice to not have to worry about moths or lack of durability with this crazy-fiber yarn (soy and vaseline? not that's not it. bamboo and cool whip? nope...bungee cord and hemp? I can't remember.) The yarn was actually pretty nice to knit with, though I may have picked the wrong needle size (basically because that's the only size, other than a size 0, that I had with me on my travels), so knitting was a little 'stiff' for this loose knitter. The fabric, on the other hand, is fluid and of a good density for socks.

And look at those toes, heels, and cuffs! I had never made socks with contrasting extremeties, and now I find the effect particularily charming esepcially with the fresh, clean, fun colorway of this yarn!

Pattern: Beaded Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Wick in #429 Sea Gold and #676 Ocean; (soy and polypropolene)
Yarn enabler: Yarn Paradise in June, 2007
Knit on: One 36" Knitpicks Size 5, Magic Looped.
Time I spent knitting these while stranded in airports and sitting in AC: one week.

For a small city in a fairly warm climate, Asheville did not lack for places to buy yarn--good places. Yarn Paradise was a great store, outside of 'downtown,' but in the middle of the cute Biltmore Village which sits at the entrance to the Biltmore Mansion and has lots of great shops and places to eat. Yarn Paradise is a house filled with yarn--that's my favorite kind of yarn store! I could have spent hours in there, and I'm sure they would have let me, but I went there to find my very picky mother a pattern and a yarn that I could use to make a sweater for her for her birthday. I say that she's very picky in order to extol the virtues of this store--we must have looked at 15 possible yarns in every shade of red and in every combination of fibres, and every time she dinged a (perfectly lovely, IMO) yarn for being not the right kind of red or too scratchy, or too heavy, the proprietors were able to find another possibility for the Katherine Hepburn cardigan. Verdict? They had a lot of great yarn in a million colors. I was even offered some perfect sportweight cashmere at a reduced price, but my mom couldn't see letting me spend $200 for yarn to make a sweater, and I agreed, though I was tempted. The Wick yarn that I bought there was on sale for about $7 a skein. And I left behind tons of Colinette Jitterbug and Koigu in wonderful colors that tempted me to break my stash vow.

*Late added PS because otherwise Annie Knits and Harlem Purls will continue to think I'm some sort of stash weirdo: In addition to the Wick, I did end up buying a Katherine Hepburn Cardigan's worth of yarn. It's the "Merino Sei" that's over there to your right in the sidebar on my stash list. I bought yarn--but I had saved space for it in my stash list-the vow remains unbroken!

Friday, July 6, 2007


I've found a place to grow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mission accomplished!

Welcome to the sunny North Carolina mountains where life is so quiet and placid that knitting gets done all of its own accord. Here are the Dungaree Socks I cast on on Wednesday (after I had finished knitting the entire back of the Donna sweater on Tuesday during the long day of delayed airline travel). These socks are enjoying the view of the Smoky Mountains from the vantage point of my parents' front deck. It's not at all like the view from my Brooklyn apartment. duh.

Ok, so in NC everything moves slowly except knitting because by Thursday night/Friday morning (while I waited for my husband to arrive in NC after a TWENTY-SEVEN hour delay,) I had this:

Pattern: Dungaree Socks
Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering in Violet and Purple
Yarn enabler: Knit New York in January, 2007 Knit on: One long Knitpicks Size O, Magic Looped. Time I spent knitting these when I had nothing else to do but talk to my parents: 3 Days

What to say about these socks. They were a down-and-dirty effort that served their purposes for me: 1) To use the Louet yarn which I am pretty much in love with for stitch-definition, feel in the hand, and color. 2) To have a small project to finish knitting quickly. 3) To work on two-color knitting. In this case, it was mosaic knitting.

Ok, let's talk about this mosaic knitting with two colors for a moment and how I am not at all a good knitter. I picked two colors that were (on sale, to be honest) harmonious but whose values (is that the right word?) were not different enough to provide sharper contrast in this wavy pattern. Also, I haven't mastered how to do the tension right for the slip stitches in mosaic technique. When I read this tutorial, it said that things should be loose, which is easy for me since I'm a loose knitter to beat the band. The other thing I got from the tutorial is that things will work themselves out in the blocking. I never block socks, but I blocked these because the colorwork looked like a puckered raisiny mess when I finished. They don't look so bad now, but the pattern is still not as sharply defined as I would've liked and the lovely definition of the Louet yarn is showing off my knitting inadequacies quite well thank you. Oh, well. That's what happens on your first attempt at a new technique, right?

In the meantime, airline travel sucks except that it provides lots of knitting time for when your head is exploding from the travel delays of bad weather, broken airlines, crazy gate agents (well, just the one who luckily went away. The other Asheville gate agent was a prince--I should have taken his picture and gotten his address so that I could send him the socks I was working on), and line-sitting while you try to get back to NY. My parents told us that there's a Chinatown bus that goes from Asheville-NYC. As far as I'm concerned, I'll take the vagaries of Fung Wah over Delta's Atlanta hellhole any day.

All total, here's what I've knit in the last week: one entire pair of socks, the back of a sweater, the sleeves for the sweater, and the feet (well, almost) of another pair of socks. Yikes--I'm a fast knitter, but let me reiterate that NC is a little slow (ie, boring) and that Delta travel is even slower.

Donna has been seamed up and is awaiting a neckline, and then I'll show you her mysteries and give you a quick insight into yarn shopping in Asheville another day.