Distraction:

To distract from my still unfinished smock sweater, here is the yarn I bought for my hoodie.  It’s Valley Yarns Northampton bulky in ocean heather.  It’s a nice sturdy yarn, not soft but not scratchy either.  I get 3.75 st/in on US 10 needles – I could probably get gauge on 10.5s, but mine are missing, and I want it a little smaller anyway.  Isn’t the color pretty?

The smock top, with all it’s little twists, is making me crazy.  I’m in the home stretch now though – the back is done, and I’m working on the cabled part of the front.  Thank goodness it’s such a low neckline, is all I have to say!  I’m worried about the fit, but I hope it will be ok – the cabled fabric is incredibly stretchy.  I may have to redo my neckline if it seems too tight.  Shine sport doesn’t shed as badly as shine worsted, I’m happy to report – I am not covered in teal fuzz!

Fall ’09 Interweave Knits

The preview is up for the Fall IK.  I think it looks like a good issue, with a only few missteps (a few sweaters with ridiculous amounts of ease – really, it starts at a 43″ bust?)  I like the 4 sweaters below:

The first sweater is by Veronik Avery, who has a new magazine (St. Denis) being published by Classic Elite this fall (see below.)  I am a huge admirer of her work, and I love this sweater.  The lace pattern is pretty and delicate, and it has an interesting stand-up collar detail in the back.  I like the 2nd sweater, which reminds me of a few Kim Hargreaves designs, only this one is knit in a worsted yarn rather than 4-ply.  The only problem is finding coordinating colors in 2 weights of yarn.  The 3rd is by Connie Chang Chinchio, another designer who I always admire.  You can’t tell in this photo, but there are pockets!  I can’t explain why I like the last one, I just do… I think I like the yarn choice.  And that she’s wearing a beret – I do love a beret (on someone else… they look silly on me!)

The photos from the St. Denis magazine are up on Ravelry now.  They all feature St. Denis, a sport weight wool.  I’m definitely getting the book for the 2 patterns below.

Do I need another hoodie?  Is it probably like all my others?  Will I make it anyway?  No, Yes, and most likely.  Somehow I have become a hoodie person, which is hilarious since I don’t even wear the hoods up, and I’m not even a little sporty, but… there you go.  Right now I am wearing a ridiculous teal hoodie with little gold foil hearts all over it, and heart beads dangling from the drawstring, which probably came from a junior’s department somewhere… and I love it.

I am already plotting these sweaters.  I love when we start seeing the Fall patterns – winter knitting is so much more fun for me, to the point where I’ve reduced my summer knitting to about 3 months of the year.  I’m also looking forward to Brooklyn Tweed’s booklet (also for Classic Elite I believe.)  The Fall Vogue is already on its way to subscribers, but as of yet there is no preview.  The sweaters I have seen look nice, and I will probably buy it (I do not subscribe to any knitting magazines, because I’m fickle.)  I’m sure I will talk about it later (along with Rowan’s offerings for fall.)

I finally finished the endless stockinette on my sweater.  For those of you asking, the yarn is Knitpicks Shine sport in Aquamarine, sadly discontinued and a beautiful color.  I was worried about how it would look in cables, but I think it’s surprisingly nice (though I am knitting on size 1 needles to get this stitch definition.)  My next yarn order will likely be knitpicks – I’m wanting to try out the new DK and worsted weights of Gloss, and I’m sure I can find something else I “need.”

Good with bad

First of all: an adorbs photo of Leon with the Smock tunic (I don’t know why it’s called smock when there is no smocking.)

He’s very sad that I wouldn’t let him eat the yarn ball.  I haven’t had time to work on this in 2 days, but it’s going well.  The good news is that as of today I am done with my job!  They held a farewell reception for me, which was really nice.  I only cried twice (not bad for me!) I will miss so many of my choir members and musicians, but it was time to move on.  I have 26 students at home now!

I was having a bad morning though, as today at Panera bread I bit down on something and broke off a crown at the root – ugh.  I have some major dental work upcoming, though I was hoping to push it off for a little while longer.  It’s so expensive – but we will manage!  My teeth have always been iffy because of a genetic condition that causes weak enamel, so I’ve been through this before!

Speaking of youth… I turned 30 this past week!  People keep asking me if I’m upset about it, and the answer is always no – I am only upset that we live in a culture where I’m supposed to be upset, but a man turning 30 wouldn’t bat an eye.  I love who I am now and wouldn’t choose to go back at all.  I see no reason why a woman can’t be fabulous at any age, you know?  I did go to a friend’s bachelorette party last night, which made me feel briefly old – we went to a club and I absolutely did not have fun (I had fun at a dinner and I’m happy for my friend, but I am not at all a club person.)  Then I remembered that I didn’t like clubbing when I was 21 either.  I went home and went to a small neighborhood bar with Marc and his friend John instead, and that was so much more fun for me!

I’m still ordering yarn for the hoodie – I’m considering Elann highland chunky, which is nice and light – I made a sweater that I adore from it already.  I’m a very indecisive buyer, and tend to agonize over a purchase for days before finally doing it, which is why I internet shop so much… no having to make quick decisions!

Knitscene, Fall 2009

Knitscene is strange for me – I didn’t even like anything in the spring/summer issue enough to buy it (rare for me, I’m a pattern hoarder) but loved last Fall’s issue.  I tracked down a copy today at Border’s (I think technically it isn’t supposed to be out yet, but my bookstore is often early.)  I really love this issue, and my queue is groaning!  I like that Knitscene comes out a little ahead of Knits, because it gives me a chance to get a head start on Fall knitting.   I often wish that the seasons were a little more staggered, as I usually experience a period where I want to start on next season’s knits, but the patterns aren’t out yet!

My immediate favorite is this short sleeved hoodie, by Debbie o’Neill.

It looks so cuddly and perfect for fall, and I could sub some fabulous Elann yarn (I don’t like Lamb’s pride bulky – it’s like hairy rope.)

I also like this tunic (by deborah newton.)

Pockets!  I don’t actually think it looks very flattering here, but that may be the styling.  I think this is too big for the cute model.  The sizing on this one seems big – my tendency with tunics is to make sure they fit in the bust, so that I don’t look as though I am wearing my Mom’s clothes.

Of course, I love the 2 sweaters that were previewed in Knitting Daily a week or so ago.

The herringbone sweater is definitely on the list, and I like the vest but worry about proportions… I’m not sure it would look good on me.

There is lots more to love in this issue – a feature on Melissa Wehrle, and several designs by her (I like the emerald isle cardi below, it’s a nice basic.)

I hope this is a sign of great things from the Fall knitting magazines – now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Elann order to place!

Retro is no more

I finished crocheting the retro cardigan a few days ago (crochet is fast!)  It was a little weird, so I blocked it hoping it would get better.

As you can see, the yarn bled onto my drying rack.  Unfortunately, it’s still weird.  I won’t show a picture of it on (because I don’t have any, and because it’s embarrassingly bad.)  See how the waist goes in suddenly?  Yeah, that’s not where my waist actually is, plus the sudden cinching causes weird ripples.  It also came out small in the body, but enormous in the shoulders.  The pattern had quite a few mistakes that I found, and overall it was just kind of a pain in the butt.  I cannot recommend it, unfortunately.  Fortunately I didn’t weave in any ends yet, so I can easily rescue the yarn for something else, which is what I plan to do.
Ah well, they can’t all be winners!  I have been working on the smock top, and I’m hoping it comes out better.  I’m knitting the smallest size, which is crazy tiny, but my gauge is tending to be a little large.  I’m hoping to get a size in between the 2 smallest, but we’ll see.  Shine sport is still a pain to knit with, but it’s pretty and soft!

I am pretty anxiously awaiting the fall knitting patterns – I do not start any new summer weight projects after July, so I’m ready for fall!  Berroco already has their patterns out (they are always first, it seems) and there are several likely candidates there.  In particular I like the 2 knit dresses (yes, I am shocked as well!)

The sweaters are nice too

In case you can’t tell, I’m very into tunic styles this year.  I’m likely to pick up a few of their collections.  I’m anxiously awaiting Classic Elite, as they have been on a winning streak, and the fall magazines (I am just about to go search out Knitscene, which has been spotted!)

Retro crochet, and new knitting

I finally got a copy of the new Interweave Crochet, which I have talked about here before.  It’s full of great projects with a sort of retro, dreamy air.  I love it when they go that direction, because that’s the side of crochet I fell in love with – the retro lacy side, not the cutesy side.  I was happy to realize that I already had the yarn called for in the “retro cardigan” by Simona Merchant-Dest (Classic Elite Sundance.)

I’m still waffling on what size to make, but I’m leaning towards the smallest – the model in the photo is wearing the 2nd smallest, and I am smaller than her I think – and I like the way it fits her, so I should go down a size.  My yarn is actually a sort of faded red, not bright the way it looks in the photo.  I hope it comes out – the instructions are a little frustrating so far, as crochet often is if not charted.

I’m also starting another sweater tonight after work – the smock top  that I showed you all the other day.  I got a lot of questions as to what book it is in – it’s from “Make it modern,” released spring 08 by Classic Elite (book #9086.)

I’m hoping to finally use up this shine sport in Aquamarine – I may have to make the smallest size at a larger gauge, as I find shine sport to be on the heavy side of sport weight.  I got this yarn in my very first purchase from Knitpicks, and have been trying to use it up ever since!  Shine sport isn’t my absolute favorite, but it’s a nice enough yarn.  I’m going to knit in the round at least until the cabled section, which should make the stockinette go fast.

Thanks for the camera suggestions – I’m looking at a Canon rebel (used or refurbished) but nothing is finalized yet.  My current camera has taken to make crazy lines across half my pictures, which is driving me crazy.  It hasn’t been the same since Leon knocked it off the mantel last year!

FO: Autumnal shawl

Pattern: Milkweed shawl by Laura Chau

Yarn: Socks that rock mediumweight in 24 karat

Needles: US 4

Notes: A bit early for this color perhaps, but come September I will be ready!  I had absolutely no problems with this pattern – there may have been some small errors (now corrected) in the written directions, but the charts were perfect.  I did get a wee bit tired of knitting – I long for something with purl rows now!  I always enjoy it when a pattern has everything written out, rather than making you guess, and this patttern answered all my questions.

The yarn… well, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped.  It was kind of stiff, and had that superwash squeak that I enjoy so little.  It really needed blocking, because it was pretty stiff off the needles.  It did soften up ok, and I absolutely love the color!  I did a russian bind off on the last row, and all that K2tog killed my hands – I’m not sure it would usually, but this yarn was just so unforgiving for some reason!  I am very glad that the lovely color will not be hidden in my shoes, and I’m plotting more sock yarn as shawls and scarves.

Oops

I forgot to blog!  Things have been seriously busy here, as I work 2 full time jobs and a part time one until August 1st.  One of the things I’ve been doing is working on making a website for my studio – if you are interested, the link is in the sidebar to the right (scroll down a bit.)  That’s taken a great deal of my time over the last week, writing a proofreading, testing, and trying to imagine how someone else seeing it would view things!

I have been knitting on the Milkweed shawl by Laura Chau.

The pattern is easy yet not boring, just what I need right now – the little time I have been getting to knit is precious to me.  The yarn is hard and sproingy, like all Socks that rock, and the colorway is divine.

I also got my birthday present from my Mom (my birthday isn’t for 2 weeks yet.)  Our dining room, which I use as my waiting area,is the largest room in the house.  It’s also been the emptiest, because I haven’t had any furniture for it – so my Mom bought me this sideboard at an antique store.

I’ve since moved it away from that giant window.  Love those claw feet!  Sorry for the lousy picture quality – my camera is finally giving up I think.  Can anyone recommend a camera for me?  I want more control than I had with this one (Canon powershot) but I don’t want to spend a fortune either.
So there you go… that’s what I’m up to right now.  This morning I got my hair trimmed and colored – I’m still trying to grow it out, hopefully I will have long hair again someday!  I’ll try to write again soon, but who can say with my schedule – sometime this week!