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.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quick! Look over there!

See the pretty flower from the garden at Emily Dickinson's House in Amherst, Massachusetts!

Now look down there--careful it's a bee!

Yes, it's true. I'm just trying to distract you from the fact that I've broken my stash vow and am continuing on my March of Shame. We've already passed the first checkpoint at Green Mountain Spinnery. The second and most lethal part of the March continues at WEBS, where I first encountered the sock yarn display...

They had lots and lots of stuff, but I was in search of one thing (which became two purchases...). I passed up the Trekking and the Kaffe Fasset and the hand-dyed house brand and finally found a few remaining colors of Shibui Sock Yarn. Woo hoo!

Details of the yarn are over there to your right in my stash list. This is lovely, lovely, stuff. 100% superwash merino but with a little more inherent strength to it (or so it seems to me) that others like it! Of course, I broke my rule that says no 100% merino socks because holes emerge pretty quickly, but the saturated colors and the feel of the yarn made me go against my better judgement. I did buy some reinforcing yarn to do the toes and heels. Look what I got's going on here! These are socks for Poem-man in the Diagonal Rib pattern. (The color variation in the toes is from the reinforcing thread.)

The other color is for me. I wanted a change from all the multicolored hand-dyed yarns I've been using. These might become Poseidon socks or Whitbys or (insert suggestion here)?

Anyway, that's the yarn from the front of the Webs store stop. After walking around totally overwhelmed by all the yarns in the front, I went back into the really major sales in the warehouse. omigod. But that's for another day.

In the meantime, the wedding afghan is further along and, well--

How is this and this going to become that (which is a gift for my mother?)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Walk of shame!

I may have broken my stash vow. duh.

I had a wonderful time yarn gazing at Green Mountain Spinnery. GPS was really tiny and felt like some artisanal kind of place, and a really nice woman named Em helped me out while I was there. It was a great chance to handle and see all of their yarns that I had read about, and it seemed that if I didn't buy it straight from there, I would be cheating somehow. (On the other hand, I didn't know that they carry the yarn at Webs, which was my next stop and at a 20% discount. Eek. But, it's the difference between buying at an independent bookstore vs. some Amazon/Walmart kind of place, yes?) Here's my purchase from there: 7 skeins of "Sylvan Spirit" (50% wool/tencel) in Amethyst, intended for Cinxia.

After about 45 minutes at GPS, Poem-man and I had a lovely lunch in Putney at Front Porch Cafe, which Em had recommended. Both the cafe and GPS would be worth another visit!

Back in the car we got and made our way to Webs, a mere 1.5 hours or so from Putney. I should have known what I was in for when the car we parked next to contained two teenage boys totally reclined in the seats playing hand-held video games and the car parked behind us had a sleeping man at the wheel. Poem-man was like, "wait, let me make sure I have my Ipod and my book." I walked in to Webs with a plan. whatever. but that's a story for another day.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Traveling beyond...

It's been a packed 5 days! I bought a NEW CAR which I love and promptly drove 800 miles though Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. As a native Midwsterner, I still marvel at being able to travel to a gabillion states in like half and hour or something. Most of the time was spent hanging out with some of Poem-man's family, so lots of knitting got done. A pair of Vinnland socks in 5 days!

Yarn: Yarn Love Juliet in "Fervor"
Yarn enabler: woolgirl, August 2007
Knit on: One 32" Knitpicks Size 0 Circular
Time I spent knitting these while listening to my MIL, SIL, and Poem-man carry on: 5 days.

I'm tellin' you this Vinnland sock pattern is genius and a must-knit! It's basically a 2x2 rib, but the ribs swirl and flow, and I memorized the 16-row pattern after one repeat. The ribbing makes them fit snugly and not droop. I'm still having trouble, however, with the looseness of my knitting. The yarn was pretty thin and even though I knit it on size O needles, if you look closely at the stitches they're pretty loose. The merino-tencel combo may be better for me than wool-nylon.
Vermont and Massachusetts were fraught with stash-peril for me. Geez. Here's a little taste of where I went before WEBS, and maybe tomorrow or the day after, I'll actually do the walk of shame.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Oy Welt!

Poem-man has new socks that he really likes! The colorway makes them perfect to wear with jeans, and the merino-tencel blend makes them cooler, lighter, and comfortable for warmer-than-winter weather. I'm not sure that the chevron welt was the right pattern for the colorway and color-stripey-repeat action, but Poem-man really likes them, so I'm happy, too. I want to make some merino-tencel socks for me because the drape and snugness of this blend is really nice.

Pattern: Chevron Welt from Sensational Knitted Socks.
Yarn: Yarn Love Joan of Arc (merino-tencel) in "Contentment;"
Yarn enabler: woolgirl, August 2007
Knit on: One 32" Knitpicks Size 0 Circular Needle
Time I spent knitting these when I should have been putting my conference presentation together: 10 days.

Wedding Afghan update! Woo hoo!
Time elapsed: 35 days
Number of days that S & C have been married: 12 days.
Repeats Completed: 6.5
Skeins knitted: 14 of 26.
Length: 30 inches
Hence: I am more than halfway home!

Lastly, I'm off this weekend on another little mini-vacation. While it's true that I will be visiting my mother-in-law, it's also true that I'll be headed to Vermont (a state full of yarn and cheese!) by way (either on the way there or the way back or both!) of WEBS in Northampton. And just look how many spaces I have to fill in my stash!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Muddling on...

Quandaries, quandaries, quandaries....

I'm not working right now (oh, I'm employed--just a teacher on summer break), so life is lacking structure, and I find that when life is lacking structure, I try to put structure to it in messed up ways, instead of ways that would actually provide the needed structure to my life.

For instance, instead of doing things like: preparing for the conference that I'm taking part in this weekend, organizing my stuff, knitting the wedding afghan, and seeing to my medical needs (which are not onerous--so no worries!), I'm trying to help someone fix his life and relationships (which is not my job), trolling for patterns to add to my dream list of knitting, shopping online for yarn and then quickly closing the cart windows, and knitting more socks in variegated colors all while listening to sappy music and sappier movies. A recipe for disaster, yes? At least I'm knitting!

Anyway! Here's some socks on the needles for Poem-man. Yes, it's modeled on my foot--just imagine them on a larger, wider, paler and hairier appendage. It's a chevron-welt pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, and I've taken to calling them (in my August funk) Weltschmerz socks, which is too unfair and too weighty for these delightfully oceanic blue, merino-tencel beauties. The yarn is a little squeaky (I don't know how else to describe it) compared to 100%merino--think of comparing Wisconsin cheese curds to French Camembert. WHAT? It's yarn that's delicious and quirky in its own right, but not the most buttery of fibers to knit. Well, I know what I mean, anyway. Poem-man has tried them on and likes the lightness and smoothness of the fabric, so we're happy here. I'm on the increases for the heel gusset and hope to finish this weekend on my conference trip.

I'm not talking about the wedding afghan. Except to say that I'm on the 11th of 26 skeins, and I just noticed that I made a mistake in the cable chart back about 15 rows and I'm just going to have to figure out a fudgy way to get back on track because I refuse to frog an entire skein of knitting and you can't really tell in the grand scheme of all these cables anyway!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wasn't feelin' it

I do feel the ewe-phoria of an FO. I do like the way the socks fit. The pattern is great: Good for variegated yarn. Good for me, Ms. Loose Knitter, since it had a stitch that one slips for four whole rows. The stitch pattern is also brilliant in that that slipped stitch keeps the fabric firm so that the socks don't have a chance to slouch--nicely snug to the leg and foot! I would highly recommend the pattern--and it's free!

The yarn is good to knit with and the dyeing is very well done. Despite all these positives, I just wasn't feeling it, so even though I have enough yarn left to probably knit a third sock, I stopped knitting these toe-up sock at crew socks. I think the colors, which I love separately, somehow weren't giving me the love I was hoping for. And you can't see it, but the colorway had too much brown--practically the same brown as my skin. And who wants to knit skin? eeuw.

Pattern: Ambrosia Socks
Yarn: Brooklyn Handspun Signature Yarn in "Festive;"
Yarn enabler: Brooklyn Handspun, June 2007
Knit on: One 32" Knitpicks Size 0 Circular Needle
Time I spent knitting these when I should have been knitting the wedding afghan: 11 days.

I'm thinking that after I knit up the beautiful Yarn Love I have in my stash that it's time to lay off the variegated sock yarns. Whaddya think?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Discovering jewels

I found a JEWEL in the Connecticut River Valley this weekend. There were many contenders: the lovely, unpretentious B&B we stayed at, Riverwind Inn; the old school French restaurant where Poem-man and I actually got to speak French, Restaurant du Village; the fancy inn where we enjoyed the gardens and elegant food, Bee and Thistle Inn, and the lovely Goodspeed Opera House (unfortunately the production was the fake paste gem of the weekend.)

But the jewel of the trip was Yarns Down Under. Poem-man and I got lost and annoyed driving around the River Valley and as we (unbeknownst to us) neared our B & B, I saw a little sign for the store with an arrow pointing down a road! Woo hoo! Dust flew as a hung a yoouuie (as I call a u-turn) and on we went. I had read that there was a yarn store in the village we were staying in and I assumed I would find it on Deep River's small main street area, but I hadn't, and had thus decided I wasn't really going to go looking for it since I hadn't planned on any yarn purchasing during the weekend, but THERE IT WAS, the place around the next bend that would make our getting lost worth it! We drove on a small road, parked in a gravel driveway over looking a small golf course, and I turned to Poem-man and said if it's scary or small we'll leave right away. We made our way past a golfing office and down some stairs becoming more unsure that this was the right thing to do and walked into a YARN HAVEN! Really, this is a yarn store for Knitters, capital K and double Ts!

All the yarns you haven't seen in person are there, including the great Simply Shetland stuff, Bear Mountain sock yarn, Claudia HandPaints, every kind of Schaefer yarn, all kinds of Rowans--everything! This is a store for people who knit, really knit. What do I mean by that? Well, there's great quality yarn of every kind of fiber, but it's not yarn for the sake of yarn (and expensive yarn at that, i.e. Purl Soho). The store is organized by fiber and weight but is delightfully crammed full of yarn enough to feel like you'll keep uncovering wonderful yarn after yarn. Sheila, the owner (on the right), and Sheryl (Cheryl? Sherri? sorry!) were great people to ask questions of and talk to who really knew their stuff. There are kits they've created for particular projects, yarn spun and dyed (I think) of local purveyors, tons of books, well just everything! I even got a back issue of Interweave Knits (2004!) that I had wanted. I wish I had been more prepared to really shop, list of yarn needs in hand. For instance, I'm thinking my next project is a EPS sweater with a fair isle-ish yoke and this store would have been the place to put that together, but I wasn't prepared. All I bought was some Noro Kureyon for a felted purse (see in my I wanna Knit list). I would go back in a heartbeat to shop. And, they have a knitting retreat next summer---must get on bandwagon! Or perhaps an Autumn trip to this area with a few knitting chums, hmmm?

Well, the wedding afghan has seen no progress since Friday since I was away during this weekend and it is a at-home project not meant to be dragged around in the heat. More excitingly, here's the happy couple recipients-to-be of the afghan! It was a joyous, thoughtful, meaningful wedding and reception. I love weddings! I'm re-inspired to work on the afghan! On the other hand: 1. They're young. 2. It's too hot to enjoy an afghan right now. 3. They know the afghan is coming. 4. Ms. Manners says I have up to a year to give a wedding gift. I'll get it done!

And look we all got mini-wedding cakes for dessert!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Actual Yarn Love.

I'd been complaining and complaining that I hadn't found any yarn worthy of the FOUR empty places on my yarn stash. I'd been shopping online and even tried to buy yarn at Purl Soho when I visited with the the funsters: the Tawana, Nicole, and Allena. Alas and alack they did not have enough of the O-Wool balance in the color I wanted for Cinxia. DRAT. I waited in vain for Wollmeise to come up on Loopy Ewe only to have it come up and disappear in the wee hours of the morning when people should be sleeping not stalking yarn. Whatever. But then, I found some LOVE from my friends at Actual Yarn Love.

The colors are so appealing to me, though I've begun to doubt my color sense. Poem-man even thought both colors masculine enough for socks for him. WHAT???? Maybe he can have the blue colorway... The rose-ish one is a wool-nylon blend and the bluish one is merino-tencel. Never tried the tencel before, so I'm pretty excited to cast on!

Of course, first I need to finish the Ambrosia Socks. I had a 24-hour setback because the first time I completed the heel on both socks and had worked my way onto the legs, I tried them on and thought, "Gosh, these heels seeme loose and bulbuous." Yeah, well, they were because I hadn't slipped the stitches on the hell flap--I had 34 stitches of plain ole stockinette on the heel. Quel stupidity. Anyway, I ripped out and re-knit and NOW I'm on the final stretch. Of course, this is Brooklyn Handspun, so there's like 3 billion yards, and I hate left-over yarn, so I may be knitting hip-length waders.

Oh, I got some other goodies from woolgirl
as well!

Cute, really TINY penguin stitch markers. (See the penny for scale.) And this funny String Warrior girl. I got her as a reward for trying to do yoga again.

In the meantime, the wedding afghan moves glacier-like to completion.

Time elapsed: 18 days
S & C's Wedding Day: -4 days.
Repeats Completed: 4.5
Skeins knitted: 9.5 of 26.
Length: 20.5 inches

Hence: Do you think I could knit it during the actual ceremony and reception?