Last FO of 2006!

Last night we were lame, and in spite of numerous invitations we stayed in and watched “Angel.” Marc rebuilt the swift for the lego yarnwinder, and I finished my rib and cable socks!

Pattern: Rib and Cable socks by Nancy Bush (Interweave Knits Fall 2005)

Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Redtail Hawk

Needles: US1 Clover Bamboo DPNs

Notes: I have somewhat mixed emotions about these socks. I think they look really nice now that they’re finished, but they were kind of a pain. I learned how to cable without a cable needle for these, because there’s no way I would have finished otherwise. I found it a little bit terrifying to have stitches dangling, but I survived. There’s a good tutorial here. I did one fewer cable repeat on the leg than called for because I don’t like long socks and was worried about my yarn amount. This was my first time with the short row heel, and while it turned out ok I think heel flaps fit me better. I actively disliked the toes here – I think they start way too soon and decrease too slowly, resulting in a more pointy sock – ok since I have pointy toes, but still. I also would rather kitchener than pull the yarn through. The only real issue I had on these socks was with the last toe, where I apparently didn’t pull tightly enough before weaving the ends in. It may be a little rigged now, but I think it will hold. My favorite thing is the doubled cast on (use a long-tail cast on with yarn doubled.) It results in a really stretchy top edge, which makes me happy. I plan to use it regularly now.

I love the Bearfoot yarn and now have 3 more skeins to knit from in the future. I like that it’s a bit thicker, and knitting on size 1s produces a dense fabric that feels like it will wear well. Only downside? It’s a bit splitty. I didn’t like doing the cables because it seemed impossible not to split the yarn.  It also ran like mad in the wash.  I washed and rinsed 4 times before giving up – it was still bleeding yellow tinted dye.  It remains to be seen whether my feet will turn yellow, but I sort of doubt it since it didn’t come off at all while knitting.

I think my next socks will be with the Austermann Step in some sort of chevron pattern – perhaps the welt fantastic from Sensational knitted socks.

The Jess sweater is coming along – I worked on it a little after Marc went to bed, and I’m almost done with the back. The more I work on it the more I love how the basketweave is working up.

Our big New Years plans… aren’t. Well, there are parties, but they mostly involve eating lasagna and playing board games. OK with me – I’m not much of a New Years person (or a party person, truth be told.)

Happy 2007 to all!

It’s all over…

Christmas, I mean.  Thank goodness!  After all the stress of holiday parties/crazy work schedule it’s been really nice to just do nothing for the past week.  I don’t have much to comment on about Christmas, except to say that it was very nice.  I got three knitting related gifts, all things that I asked for.  I recieved copies of Knitting Vintage Socks, Yarnplay, and Weekend Knitting.  While I wasn’t that enthused about the sock book when I flipped through it in the store, now that I’ve actually read through the book I love it!  I can’t wait to start a pair of socks based on one of the patterns.

I haven’t actually recieved the other two yet because the Post office is slooow.  Marc ordered them in early December and they shipped on the 11th.  We still don’t have them.  I, in the meantime, have recieved three different packages of yarn.  Today we emailed Amazon to complain.  I understand slow holiday shipping, but three weeks is really outrageous.  I want my books!

I can sum up Christmas in one photo.

That’s my Mom’s dog after the unwrapping carnage, and I can certainly relate!  Our house is looking better now, but since we’ve just finished moving all my things in it’s a wee bit messier than I would like.  Marc has spent all week showing it off to his out of town friends, which makes me crazy since I’m so OCD about things being picked up.  I think they understand though.
We stayed in Cincinnati for three days following Christmas, so that Marc could visit with his sister and her husband.  They live in Wisconsin and usually can only visit twice a year.  Marc even wore their Christmas present from last year to please his sister.

Yes, but he’s my… well, you get the idea.

I visited two fiber stores in Cincinnati that I hadn’t before.  First we went to Fiberge, which was nice and big, although I wasn’t too impressed with their selection.  I did get to see the Louisa Harding book I’ve been coveting, and I decided not to buy it.  Wonky sizing.  A size 38 sweater for a 32″ bust?  I think not!  I hate it when sizing is too big for me, because while I am thin I don’t think it’s crazy to have measurements that will fit a 34.

We also went to Knit on, which is in Bellevue.  I had heard that the store was crazy messy and crowed, and indeed it was.  They had a fabulous selection, if you could find what you wanted.  I ended up buying a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Huckleberry.

Isn’t it pretty?  I love the pinks.

The second rib and cable sock is nearly finished.  I worked on it during the limited time I had in Cinci.  When I got home I had a package of Debbie Bliss Merino DK waiting for me ($27 for a bag from little knits!) so I was finally able to cast on for my Jess sweater.

This pattern is remarkable easy to follow, and I think it’s going to go really fast.  The above is maybe 2 and  half hours of knitting – not bad!  Here’s a closeup of the basketweave pattern.

The yarn is really a gorgeous color of teal.  I was expecting the DB merino to be at least a bit scratchy (I have heard that it was), but it’s as soft as can be.  Elann is getting this on clearance in January, and you’d better believe I’ll be lined up for that sale!

Two more recent yarn purchases: Cascade 220 in Shire for Ariann

And some sock yarn from theknitter.com.  I ordered this so long ago that I’d given up on it ever shipping – and now that it has the order is totally screwed up.  *sigh* I’m not going to return it though.  I hate to think how long that would take!  I cannot recommend this store.

L to R: Mountain Colors bearfoot in Sweet Pea, Cherry Tree Hill supersock in Green Mountain Madness, and more bearfoot in Flathead cherry.

I did order (and love) the flathead cherry, but the CTH should have been the Superglitz (I’m ok with that though – I love the colors enough to knit socks with it) and the Sweetpea is just wrong.  I ordered a totally different color.  I don’t think I would use the sweetpea, because it’s too similar to other yarns I have, so I’ll have to sell it I suppose.

There are a ton of online and B&M yarn sales before the new year, and I feel like I should order, but the only order I’m contemplating is Knitpicks.  I want to make Knit and Tonic’s Sahara sweater out of Andean silk in the near future, and I need to order some more cables for my options needles.  And (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I’m happy with my Sock yarn stash.  I want to try to knit a pair of socks a month during 2007.

Sorry for the monster post, now that I’m back I should be able to be more regular.

Christmas mess

In case you were wondering….

This is what it looks like when you’ve just finished the 4th out of five Christmas masses, and you’re desperately trying to assemble Christmas gifts while packing to go out of town at 2 am.  No, I really don’t know why there is a can of Garbanzo Beans there.  I think they just saw the mess and decided to join in.

(I swear my house doesn’t usually look like this)

My crafting for the holidays is finished, minimal as it was.  All that’s left is to assemble the packages, which I would imagine will happen at some point before I have to reappear in church at 9:30.  We’ll have Christmas with my Mom after church, and then we’re off to Cincy for 3 days to visit Marc’s family.   Plans include many family gatherings and hopefully a yarn store or two!

I already got to open one of my Christmas presents… but it would seem that Dionne has claimed it.

Isn’t she a cutie?  It isn’t because of the camera… she looks terrified like that 95% of the time.  I needed a lap blanket desperately, and I’ve finally acknowledged that I’m never going to get around to knitting one.

Happy Holidays to you all – I’ll see you back here on Wednesday!

First sock and moving

I finished the first of the cable and rib socks!

It was literally impossible to find a place in the house that wasn’t covered in boxes to take this picture.  I still really love the Bearfoot yarn, and I think the double cast on is genius.  I don’t love the toe as much (too long) or the short row heel (a little baggy) but overall it’s a nice sock.  I can’t wait to finish the other!

I haven’t had any knitting time for days.  Yesterday all we did was move my things, and of course there are a million Christmas obligations (I have 5 masses this weekend.)  Right now I need to go finish wrapping presents and finish my final knitted washcloth (I’m glad these are quick knits!)

Love…

 I’m in the midst of a holiday crafting frenzy/moving all my stuff.  I just made chocolate soaps for all the women in Marc’s family.  I went through some stuff and found some red felt.  I think I’m going to make an embroidered ornament or two.  Aren’t these cute?  They’re from this site.

Tomorrow is going to be insane… up at eight and moving furniture until we drop!

My year in knitting.

2006 is coming to an end, and for some reason I feel a need to make the obligatory year end round-up.  Since I started out the year a dedicated fan of counted cross-stitching, and wound up an obsessive knitter, it is sort of interesting.

At some point early last spring I realized that cross-stich was hurting my hands, making me blind, and giving me absolutely no finished projects to show for my time.  Since my boyfriend has a creative hobby (he builds Lego sculptures) I wanted something I could work on at the same time.  I thought I’d take up crochet, since I’d tried knitting before with no success.  I bought the Happy Hooker and churned out these three FOs in a few weeks (pics are clickable).

Fat Bottom BagClutch in black Wool EaseOne Skein Scarf in Patons merino

I made the “Short and Sweet” bolero (no picture, but a disaster – it turned out hugely bulky.) Then I made the “Fit to be tied” sweater from the book, and attempted the “Ladylike lace” gloves.

  These gloves (which are huge and not stretchy) made me decide to try knitting again.   I was also disappointed by the lack of good crochet patterns on the market, and I was really envious of beautiful knit sweaters.

It was hard for me to pick up knitting.  Crochet had been easy, and I’ve always had good fine motor control (the result of being a pianist.)  Knitting though – ugh.  I hated American style.  I had to learn Continental before I felt like I was fast enough to ever finish anything.  I did finish one object as a “thrower” and here it is.  Yes, I know it looks like a belt.  It’s a scarf.  I don’t think I understood the idea that ribbing causes your fabric to suck together.

2x2 ribbed scarf, in a bulky bernat yarn After I learned continental style knitting my new obsession was born.  I am not someone who has ever been accused of doing something by half measures.   The rest of my knitting this year, both the good and the bad.

Hits

Branching out

Branching out

I can’t believe this was my second finished knitted item.  It turned out well in Knitpicks shine, and I wear it often!

Clapotis

Still my favorite knitted item, and the one I get the most compliments on.

Odessa (sans beads)

I’m mixed on this one.  It turned out cute, but I don’t do hats.  I should remember that before I’m swept away by the cuteness.

Voodoo Wristwarmers

I’ll count these as a hit, since they are cute, but I don’t wear them much.

Multidirectional scarf

I love this scarf!  It was a pain to make, but it’s unique and I love it!

Rusted Root Sweater

I look at this picture and think “That sweater is so cute, why don’t I make more sweaters?”

Scrunchable Scarf

In Araucania nature wool, and gifted to Marc, this scarf turned out beautifully!

Ipod Cozy

I love this, and people always ask me where I bought my unique Ipod “sock.”  It has stretched out a bit, but I think washing will tighten it back up and make my Ipod cozy once again.

Simple Ribbed Socks

My first socks, and even if they aren’t perfect I still love them!

Grandma’s favorite Washcloth

I hate knitting with dishcloth cotton, but I will admit that this pattern is very nice.

Simple ribbed hat

For Marc, made of Patons SWS.

Short row Ribbed Scarf

I wasn’t sure about the colors, and it took forever, but this scarf is very nice to wear.

Twin rib socks

I love these socks so much that I never want to take them off.

Misses

Airy Scarf

Airy Scarf

From “Last Minute Knitted Gifts.”  I hated the laceweight mohair, and it doesn’t hold its blocking for five minutes.  I don’t wear it.

Hourglass Sweater

Also from “LMKG.”  That book must be cursed for me.  Anyway, this sweater turned out ok, but I don’t like how the cotton blend is wearing, and it weights about 900 pounds.  I don’t wear it, but I did learn a lot during the knitting.

Final total: 14 finished objects in 6 months (I’m only counting knitting, not the crochet or that sad first scarf.)  I’m really proud that I’ve managed to finish (and learn) so much!  I’m also amused at the way you can tell I’ve been through 3 cameras this year – pictures have definitely improved!

Knitting goals for 2007:

In 2007 I want to tackle some more sweaters, since that’s the item I’m still kind of scared of.  I’ve finished two and frogged one, leaving me with only one that I actually wear.  I’m also wanting to learn Entrelac for a Lady Eleanor.  I’m still not too interested in color work, so I don’t know if I’ll get there.  Also: socks.  I want to knit lots of socks (I’ll have to, the way I keep buying sock yarn!)

A few Projects for this year:

 

I swatched and idly cast on for this sweater this afternoon

I’m thinking, though, that I’d rather stick to cardigans for now.  Truth be told, I hardly ever wear pullovers, but I wear cardis every day.  It may stay on the “to do” list though.

Ok, enough rambling.  I’m proud of my year!

Swatching again…

Could someone please tell me why I can no longer post pictures in WordPress using Firefox?  Everytime I try the window to put in the url opens, but it remains a blank window and never loads.  I’m having to use Internet Explorer to post, and I hate that.  Picture resizing is all wonky.

I swatched for Jess last night and decided that the silky wool isn’t going to be “the one” for this pattern.

You can see the basketweave pattern there, but it isn’t distinct enough – I think the yarn is too textured.  I also had to go down a needle size to get a fabric that wasn’t totally airy, with the result that the swatch is an inch too narrow.  On the other hand, the silky wool is lovely… I’ll just have to find a fabric that shows off its natural texture.

Littleknits has Debbie Bliss Merino DK on sale for 27 dollars a bag, so I got the teal color for my Jess cardigan instead.  I wanted to use a stash yarn, but the only other DK I have in the right amount is blue, and I can’t wear blue sweaters with jeans the way I want with this one (yes, I know that I’m weird.)

I’m in love with the Louisa Harding Winter Muse Classic book.  I was inspired by the Veronica cardigan here, and I love all the vintagey designs.  I do wonder what the sizing is like.  Perhaps, since I’m on vacation and still bored, I will go to the LYS and check out the sizing. 

Tonight we’re going to a Christmas party and then trivia, so maybe that will relieve my boredom!

As promised…

As promised, here’s a (slightly) better pic of the cable and rib socks

Apparently I live in the land of no sun, ever, so that’s the best I can do.  It is a much clearer picture of the color.  I did one less repeat than the pattern called for, since my row gauge was slightly more and I’m nervous about the amount of yarn this is using.  Thus far the pattern is really simple and clear.  I’m working the heel flap right now.

Since I’m on vacation and bored, I decided to check out the last yarn store in town I haven’t been to.  Sophie’s Fine Yarn Shoppe was much nicer than I anticipated.  It’s definitely the biggest store in town, with lots of comfy places to sit and a suprisingly wide array of yarns.  I was (of course) drawn to the sock yarn, and I couldn’t stop myself from buying these two yarns.

On the left is Austermann Step, and on the right is Mountain Colors bearfoot in Alpine.  I was drawn in by the turquoise and the self-striping of the Austermann, and the Mountain Colors yarn was just so pretty.  And yes, it is nearly the same color as my Wildfoote socks, but that’s ok.  Those socks are too big, and they’re also wanting to felt on the bottoms after only a few wearings.  Color me unimpressed with that yarn.

Sophie’s gave me a list of their January classes, and there’s a fair isle class I’d love to take.  Unfortunately, I can’t take classes at night, since that’s when I work.  And the store is a good 20-25 minutes away from me, in the far east end of the city (an area of suburban hell and congestion that I try to avoid.)  Still… it was a very nice store, and I recommend a visit!

I could have done even more damage, but I’m saving myself for the trip to Cincy next week.  There are a few shops I’m planning to visit while I’m there.

Tonight we’re planning on going to my old house and packing.  I have to be completely out by the 29th, but I want my things gone before Christmas.  In case you were wondering, I’ve been nominally paying rent there while actually living here.  Fortunately we were able to get out of our lease early, so I’ll be saving money (my share of bills/mortgage here is cheaper than my rent/bills was there.)

Bearfoot

My neighbors across the street have decided to be evil for Christmas.

Hard to see I know, but every single window in their (old, scary) three story house has a single glowing red light.  I took this from the fire escape, since I don’t really like to get that close.  This house is also the home of our resident weird old guy.  He stands out on the sidewalk in front of his house for hours, without moving.  Last week I looked out at 9, 11, and 1, and he was in the same spot all three times.  Weird.

I put away the Angel yarn until it decides to behave.  I was having a few problems.  First, the yarn would pool or spiral no matter what I did, and I also didn’t really like the yarn itself.  It was splitty, and I think I don’t like thicker socks.  I actually knew better than to buy it, since I don’t like really contrasty variegateds… but there you go.  I have one of Sweet Georgia’s superwash sock skeins too, and that yarn feels much nicer (although I haven’t knit with it yet.)

I did start another sock

This yarn, on the other hand, I’m completely in love with.  It’s Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the “Redtail hawk” colorway.  It’s much darker than it looks in the pic.  I’m making the Nancy Bush Rib and Cable socks from the Fall 05 Interweave.  The pattern is lovely but easy, and I really like the double cast on she used.  This yarn is super soft, due to the mohair content.  It really just flies off the needles.  I like it so much, in fact, that I’m willing to name it as my favorite sock yarn so far.  I promise a better picture tomorrow.

Veggie socks finished!

Last night we drove to Cinncinnati to  help Marc’s parents decorate for Christmas.  On the way I made major sock progress, and today the veggie socks are done!

Pattern: Twin rib socks from Sensational Knitted socks.  54 stitch cast on, 6.5 in leg, 8.5″ toe to heel.

Yarn: Claudia Handpaints in “Eat your Veggies”

Needles: Clover size US1 bamboo DPNs

Notes: These socks took under a week to finish, and I’m very pleased.  I was finally able to get the leg small enough for me, and other than a slightly snug toe on the left sock they’re almost perfect.  Each sock I make gets easier and better – for instance, the heel on the second sock is nicer than the first, as I’m really getting the hang of picking up stitches.  The yarn was very nice, and I would use it again.  I’m very happy at the minimal pooling.

My next socks will be the Chevron Socks, also from “Sensational Knitted socks” in Sweet Georgia Speed Demon in Angel.  It’s sport weight, so it should go pretty quickly!

After much thought and consideration, I’ve finally found a sweater project that excites me.  It’s Jess, from My Fashionable Life.

I’m planning to use the Silky Wool I bought awhile ago

I plan to use the purple.  I love the retro details of this jacket!  I’ve ordered the pattern, and as soon as Paypal clears my payment I’ll cast on (probably not til Monday or Tuesday.)  In the meantime I’ll knit my socks.