Thaw

We’re starting to thaw out a bit here.  It looks like it’s raining ice outside my living room window!  I hope that the thawing process doesn’t cause our powerlines (currently under stress) to break!  We have one giant tree limb that is sort of suspended in midair, and I expect it to come down.  We’ve warned our neighbors to move their car, lest it get squished.

In the meantime, it’s all bobbles all the time around here.

I’ve finished the back of the Blooming Cardigan now.  It was sort of slow going for awhile, but now that it’s done I’m feeling very encouraged and motivated about the sweater.

The sleeves are going very quickly now, and I’m looking forward to the fronts.   The pattern so far has been clear and error free.

My monkeys were restarted.

I restarted with the twisted ribbing, which I prefer.  I’ve decided to embrace the pooling, as it is of a non-splotchy nature, and is sort of cool looking anyway.  I don’t think it will obscure the pattern too much, at least not based on other monkeys I have seen!

Tomorrow is the superbowl sale at my LYS – you’d better believe I will be there!  Our evening mass is canceled for the game, and I have a general dislike of most things sport related (you can blame this on me being a musician I think.)  But Marc is having a friend over, and I will get Wick’s pizza (my favorite!) so it can’t be all bad (as long as I don’t have to watch any actual football.)

Iced in

Tuesday evening we got a huge ice storm here, on top of the snow that had fallen on Monday.  There are 180,000 without power in our city.  This photo looks down our front walk.  You can’t see it?  Neither can we.  There are several downed wires there too, half hidden in the snow.  I took this picture from inside the house!

This tree leans over our parking pad – several branches have already fallen there, and we are glad we didn’t park there that night!  All night we heard these branches splintering and falling.

We aren’t used to this kind of weather here – we were supposed to go to a funeral on Wednesday, but it was canceled, the first time I’ve seen a funeral with a weather delay.

I think we may have lost the lovely magnolia tree outside of my living room window – the top half has snapped.  I hope it can recover someday, but in the meantime I’m going to have to buy some curtains (it was hiding the window from the street.)  Ah well – a good excuse to get out my sewing machine?  Perhaps!  I recall it having a problem the last time I used it… I may need to take it to the repair shop down the street.

Tonight we’re hoping to make it out to dinner – Marc and I both have jobs that are canceled during bad weather (I will be back on Saturday) so we’ve just been here – I have been knitting some, but seeming to make little progress.  I hope everyone is keeping warm!

Monkey see

I seem to have come down with a bad case of food poisoning (my husband is sick also.)  I’m home from work today, and yesterday I went home at 10 am.  I’m feeling cranky, and I’m unable to do much beyond sit on the sofa.

I’ve been knitting on the back of the Blooming Cardigan, and at least that piece will be done soon.  It isn’t hard to knit, I’ve just been unfortunately waylaid by illness.  I put my Widdershins away for awhile – I got to the heel and had issues, which I do not feel even a little bit like trying to work out right now.  Instead I started a pair of Monkeys, which I have never made before.

The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug in slate.  This yarn doesn’t really pool, although at times the colored bits can kind of clump together.  I switched the cuff to 2×2 rib, but I think I’m going to restart in the twisted rib.  I messed up on the chart and somehow missed row 9, so I have to rip back anyway.  I think the colors would clump less on the tighter rib (but again, at least it isn’t pooling splotches of the same color… love this yarn!)  The pattern is easy, and I also feel that the purled sections probably help to combat pooling, which is why this pattern is so popular for variegated yarns.

Or at least I plan to do that if I ever feel any better!  I’ve had food poisoning before (ended up in the hospital with it once) but somehow it doesn’t get easier with experience…

January slowness

You would think, wouldn’t you, that winter weather would inspire me to knit ever faster.  In truth, winter only inspires me to huddle in front of the space heater and drink endless cups of tea.  Progress is slow, but I am pleased with how this sweater is coming out so far.  I’m slipping the first stitch on each row of the bobbles, which gives a neater look to them (they are, of course, still bobbles.  I enjoy the look of them, but I’m aware that opinions vary on that subject.)  Most of this was knitted up while watching the season premiere of Lost last night (so glad that it’s back; between that and Battlestar Galactica I finally have TV to watch again!)

I will be glad for spring, although not necessarily for spring knitting.  I do enjoy knitting with cotton or linen occasionally, but warm weather knitting is hard.  I do not wear clothing without sleeves, both because I work in a conservative environment, and because I am always so cold with air conditioning!  I do look forward to knitting some nice cotton cardigans and lots of socks, but probably I’ll be knitting wooly sweaters well into summer, as I apparently don’t enjoy making them when it’s actually cold out.

Berroco and Classic Elite are the first companies to release their spring/summer patterns.  I am usually interested in a few of their offerings, and this is no different.  I do not care for anything in Norah Gaughan vol 3, but I love this sweater, from Berroco’s booklet for Mica.

Classic Elite has a few nice patterns, but nothing I am excited about overall (the patterns are up on Ravelry, but not on the website yet.)  3/4 length sleeves are ok, just no short sleeved cardigans – what is the point?  At least in winter you can layer them.  Other recent patterns that I like…  I like the cover pattern from French Girl Knits, but I don’t think I like the rest of the book well enough to buy it… so I won’t make this unless the library gets it in, and I somehow manage to get to see a copy (I have been on the waiting list for the new Mason Dixon forever.)

Would I wear it anyway?  Sweaters without closures can be difficult for me… I constantly tug at them sometimes.

That’s all for now – back to enjoying my few days off!

About hobbies…

After a very stressful weekend I would like to take the time to just relax… but alas I have another two days before my “weekend” (said because it doesn’t touch the actual weekend.)  But I did start some new projects!

This is the Blooming Cardigan from the cover of the current IK.  I’m making the 32″ size for a tiny bit of negative ease, since it will inevitibly stretch anyway.  The yarn is Beaverslide worsted, which I love.  It’s soft and yet rugged at the same time, if that makes any sense.  It’s a lovely yarn, and I think it was very economical, all things considered.

I did go to the LYS to get another size 0 addi, so now my Widdershins are on track!  I’m doing the plain stockinette version, since I figure that I have enough going on knitting my first toe up socks.  The yarn is striping in a pretty and subtle way.  I think I will call these my Valentines day socks!

Lately I’ve been thinking about my hobbies, and what they mean in my life.  If you asked many people what their hobbies were, they might say music… but since I do that for a living, it doesn’t count (and indeed, I find that I often want to escape that world in my downtime!)  I have my knitting and crochet, those are my primary hobbies, and I love them.  But sometimes you have to take breaks from those, or else they will start feeling like a job as well!  When that happens I turn to reading, something I have always loved.  Lately I have also become interested in the art of perfumery and have been trying to train my nose wearing all sorts of little samples, which are threatening to take over my entire vanity area, and working on making my very own perfumes.

I occasionally think about taking up other hobbies, but then I remember that I don’t have time for them.  Do any of you have surprising non-knitting hobbies, or are we a monogamous bunch?

FO: Amelia


Pattern: Amelia by Laura Chau, Knitty Winter 08/09

Yarn: Madelinetosh worsted in Malechite, about 4 skeins

Needle: US 7

Notes: Really, I am happier than I look in the photos – this is what results from trying to take outside photos when the temperature is below freezing!  My camera appears to be unhappy as well (I want to replace it soon anyway…)

This pattern was very well written.  Every step was explained, and I found no errors.  I knit the 2nd size (34) a little tight to get a 33″ bust (no ease.)   I did not change needle sizes for the garter stitch sections, because I didn’t want the flare, and I think I’m pleased with that decision.  I did have to alternate skeins, which I was rather unthrilled with – I don’t think this yarn has dyelots, so two of my skeins were much darker.  I didn’t alternate for the sleeves, which looks fine in my opinion.

The yarn itself was fine – not exceptional, but soft and warm.  It did grow lengthwise quite a bit when washed.  I was happy about this, because as written I feel this sweater is a bit short.  Even now I would really like at least another inch of length to be happy with it.  This is a disadvantage of knitting bottom up.  And now comes the part where I complain about knitting sweaters this way.  It took me (according to Ravelry) just shy of a month to knit this thing, which you must know is a long time for me to toil on a simple sweater in worsted weight.  But there were whole weeks where I didn’t want to pick the thing up, so who knows how long I actually worked on it.  I’m glad it’s finished, but I think maybe it’s time to admit to myself that I need to convert this sort of sweater to flat knitting.

Other notes… the sleeves are a bit big for me.  I did not need nearly so much shaping.  The twisted ribbing is pretty, but it did kill my hands a bit, so I would consider whether you like twisted ribbing before deciding to make this sweater.  The fronts want to curl in – I blocked the heck out of them, and they are holding, but I fear they will begin to curl in again over the course of the day.  I would do more stitches in garter, which would solve this problem.  It might have happened because I was carrying yarn up the fronts, which caused a slip stitch edge.

I am happy enough with the finished project and I expect it will see plenty of wear, but I’m going to have to get over my annoyance with the process first… which I hasten to stress is not the designer’s fault, it was mine for refusing to admit my own preferences.

We are dealing with very unusually cold temperatures here.  At around 5 AM Friday we lost power due to a huge fire on Bardstown road, and didn’t get it back until after 11 am.  As a result the temperature in our house went down to 40, and the pipes leading to our dishwasher froze and burst.  Fortunately, they were quickly isolated, and our other pipes are fine.  We are having one of Marc’s friends who is a plumber come over to fix them on Tuesday.  I am only grateful that the damage was not worse – I hear from my neighbors that there were very many frozen pipes around here, as a good swath of the Highlands lost power.   I know temperatures have been cold everywhere lately, so I hope you are all keeping warm and safe!


Bathroom photos, and knitting toe up

The bathroom, other than needing a new rug and a light fixture (coming Friday) is finished, so I thought I would let you all see what we’ve done!  Just for reference, here are photos from when we moved it.

The shower is nice, if a bit shoddily installed, but the rest needed to be updated.  I am keeping the mirror you see up there, I’m fond of it for some reason and use it for putting myself together.

Here it is today, after replacing the sink, medicine cabinet and lights, and painting the walls and the door (previously it was yellow like the walls.)

Oops… need to clean that shower wall!  The floor (pergo) is staying for now, but needs to be replaced eventually with tile.

The sink and medicine cabinet were inexpensive, but fit our needs (fit into the corner where the old sink was, and have storage underneath, as there is no closet.  We’ve also installed things like that hand towel ring – there were no towel rods of any kind in the bathroom when we moved in (maybe they took them with?)

As I said, we have no bathroom cl0set, so it’s important to find space.  This odd little corner probably exists because the previous owners removed the bathtub and put in a shower.  I was using plastic storage carts here, but they were ugly.  My Mom bought this on clearance at Linens and things going out of business sale, but it didn’t fit her bathroom – so we get a nice new cabinet!  This is pretty much going to be mine… I’ll hang the pretty old mirror back up there and use it as a dressing table.

I am so pleased with the bathroom – it no longer feels old and strange to me!  The color, for reference, is Martha Stewart Blue Agave, from Valspar at Lowes.  I am vaguely allergic to this paint (we used it in our condo all over) but I was able to handle one small room, and it was inexpensive.  We got good coverage in only one coat.

Now for the knitting content of my post… I have taught myself a new trick!

Not only is that sock toe up, but it’s knit on two circulars!  I always thought using two circs would be hard and annoying, but as it turns out I love it – no contorting of the cable, which is what I hate about magic loop, and I didn’t find myself grabbing the wrong end at all.  It’s also less fiddly than trying to start toe up on DPNs (which I hate, thought I love my DPNs.)  Unfortunately, I only have one size 0 circular, so I had to rip this back (since one side of the sock is always on the same needles, the sizes must be the same.)  I think I may run out and pick up another size 0 addi – I prefer knitpicks, but somehow I don’t think it would be cheaper after I threw in all the things I might need “just in case” to my order.

I’m so proud of me – I may restart this sock, widdershins from Knity for the January Sockdown… I like this yarn fairly well, and it’s nice and self striping!

Amelia is nearly finished, and here is a photo to prove it.

I am once again proving that one piece knits aren’t faster for me, as I avoid picking it up for the endless rows I’m on now.  But soon it will be done, and I can move on to something nice, knit in pieces (I’m leaning towards the Blooming Cardigan right now, but we will see!)

FO: Hedera

Pattern: Hedera by Cookie A.

Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Silver

Needles: US 0

Notes: This sock pattern represents a few firsts for me.  It’s my first lace sock pattern, and my first pattern by Cookie A. (I have several more in my queue.)  The pattern was easily memorized, but overall I found it tedious.  I wished that there were rows I didn’t have to pay attention to.  The lace pattern is really stretchy.  I knit the larger size (because I have over size 7.5 feet) but it was large, so I knit the second sock in the small, which is still too big for me.  I felt that having the stitches arranged so that each DPN began with a K1tbl made the row of twisted stitches a bit uneven, although some of this is due to the yarn, which has occasional slubs.

I did not knit the heel to the number of rows called for, choosing to make my normal 2″ heel flap – it worked nicely I think!   I also adjusted the toe, which was going to be too long because of my row gauge.

The yarn was nice, and I think if you enjoy sea silk you would enjoy this too.  It has that sea silk crunch that so many people talk about.  For me, it was a little strange to knit – oddly dry feeling, and not stretchy enough even though the yarn seemed elastic on the skein.  Of course, I dislike sea silk for the same reasons (I have a skein up for sale on my ravelry stash page, in fact) so this is just a case of personal taste.  The color is gorgeous, and it has a really pretty sheen.

Now it’s back to my sweater – I’m on the second sleeve, soon it will be done as well!  We are redoing the bathroom right now, so my knitting time is limited… I can’t wait to show it off!

Bathroom color dilemmas

We are in the process of replacing our terrible bathroom sink, and after that is over I will be replacing the medicine cabinet and light fixture, and finally painting the room a color other than awful butter yellow!  We are holding off on tiling the floor since we have to pay to fix our furnace (still not fixed… still cold, but at least it’s a little warmer today!)

The bathroom has an excessively large shower, but no bathtub.  The shower is some sort of gray stone, so the paint has to match that (you can see the color in the photo below.)

The new sink is white with a black cabinet, so no worries about matching that.  Here is another picture, this one away from the window.

This is actually a better look at the colors.  Thge one I’m leaning towards is called “Blue Agave,” and it’s 2nd from the righ above, 2nd from the left in the first photo.  I also like “Glass Green,” on the far right in the photo above, but I think it might be too minty in the sunlight (I hate mint green for some reason.)  I think the more purple one is too purple.

Any way you look at it, I’m so excited to get this room worked on –  we have been suffering for 6 months with a sink that only had hot OR cold water, never both at once, and which has the porcelain peeling away and stains that will never clean off.

See what I mean?  I cannot imagine why they put in the fancy shower but didn’t spend the money to replace this horrid thing (and then wanted top dollar for the house.)

I will have in progress photos in a week or so!

Brr…

Current temp outside: 38 degrees F

Current temp in my house: 54 degrees F

Currently working furnaces that I own: zero

Yes… our furnace started going out Christmas Eve, and as of now we are still without heat (a part has been ordered to fix matters, but I don’t have a real idea of when it will get better.)  This is one time in my life that I’m glad to be a knitter, as I shiver in front of a space heater wearing 2 sweaters and a hat.  I know, those of you from colder parts of the world are snickering at my 38 degree pain, but there is a reason I’ve not given into Marc’s scheme of moving to, say, Minneapolis (though I’m sure I would love it there in other respects.)

I have been knitting to keep warm, and I am now working on the sleeves for Amelia – I won’t say it’s a super quick knit, but I am loving the results.  I also started a new pair of socks, per my New Year’s resolution to knit more of them.

I’m using the Hedera pattern from knitty, and the yarn is Fleece Artist Sea Wool.  The icy color is perfect for winter, especially considering our current situation!  I’m not convinced yet on the yarn – it has the same crunchy feel as sea silk, and tends to twist on itself.  But I may change my mind – the sheen is gorgeous, as are all the Fleece Artist colors.  These are my first Cookie A. pattern, as well as my first lacey socks.

Have you read this article on Knitters Review?  It’s about something called “slow stashing,” which is basically what I meant with my resolution yesterday.  I resolve to be more thoughtful with my purchases, so that I only knit with yarns I truly love.  I also like that it talks about letting go of things you won’t use, because I firmly believe that life is too short to knit with yucky yarn.  The ideal, of course, is not to buy them in the first place, but I have to tell you that I don’t feel compelled to use things up (this spreads to things like leftovers in my fridge too… probably this is one of the ways you can tell I was an only child.)  I have sent many yarns onto happier homes, which pleases me – they do not go to waste, and I don’t have to feel bad.  I have used lots of stashed yarns this year, especially during my yarn diet from April-August.

But often I do like to use up my stash… yarns that I love but have not yet found a use for.  Above you see two skeins of Rowanspun 4-ply, which is discontinued.  I have two full bags of this yarn, one in Jade and one in Midnight.  I have been totally stumped about what to use it for – I thought of lace but fear it would not hold its shape, and I don’t like the thought of a 4-ply sweater with this (too thin.)  I have been searching for a tweedy yarn to make the Garter Yoke Cardigan (from Knit.1) but as of yet have had no luck… Kathmandu Aran was too bulky, and I don’t love other tweeds… but I do want to make the sweater tweedy, as garter stitch is so pretty in tweed.  I finally hit upon the idea of doubling these yarns (one of each color) and it is so lovely – just what I wanted!  The gauge is a DK weight, which is good because I needed to downsize the sweater just a bit.  I hope to get started knitting this up soon!

The spirit of capitalism has not left me though… and to prove it I will show my Christmas present yarn (a combination of presents and things I bought with Christmas monies!)  It’s mostly sock yarn, because that makes the easiest present, but I do not complain… I love sock yarn, and I have said this will be the year of socks for me (and sweaters too, don’t go getting worried… I’ll give up another hobby before I quit my sweaters!)

Handmaiden Casbah in Paris.  I don’t usually go for multis anymore, but this is so pretty.  I think Fleece Artist and Handmaiden really have the nicest colorways.  The yarn is really lovely and soft (cashmere!) and is sort of between a sport and fingering weight I suppose.

Squoosh merino/ cashmere sock.  More tightly spun than the casbah, but just as soft.  This color is navy over teal, and it is so very pretty.

And some yarn I ordered with x-mas money, but haven’t received yet…

Hedgehog Fibres merino/bamboo sock in Falling.  So pretty that I bought it on impulse, even though it has to come all the way from Ireland.  I think it looks like mermaid colors, and I want to make Pomatomus.

Madelinetosh sock in Poprocks.  Because I have wanted hot pink sock yarn for ages.  No, I don’t know why… maybe because I can’t wear it near my hair, but I love hot pink.

Hazel Knits in Beach Glass.  Um… because it was 30% off?  Woolgirl is having a sale, if you didn’t know… the Madtosh was 10% off too.  Check it out.

Apparently this week’s theme is blue/green… good thing I love those colors!

After this Christmas related frenzy, which can only be blamed on stress (I promised myself sock yarn if I made it through the season without a meltdown !) I have an ample supply of sock yarn to choose from again, after selling off most of my older stuff since I wasn’t into the colors anymore.  I do still have some Trekking that I don’t want, I need to take a photo of it and see if anyone wants to buy it – lovely color of purple, but I’m not feeling the Trekking love… it’s finer than I prefer.

Back to working on Amelia  I hope to finish a sleeve today, wish me luck!