Thanks!

Thanks so much to everyone who responded to my job woes with well wishes and stories of their own.  It really helped me out of my sadness a little bit.  I am angry, but I feel that’s healthy too right now.  I am trying to think about the future, and about what I want from life.   I have been neglecting some of the things in my life that I love, and that isn’t what I want… I’m just not certain how to fix things.  I hate working so many jobs, even though the hours aren’t terrible.   I want to rearrange my schedule so that I have less hopping around from job to job on the same day.  Hopefully the coming months will seem brighter!

I have managed to knit some more… but I’m still on the endless sleeve rows of the cardigan.

It takes about 12 minutes to do one row right now, but it’s getting there!  The size is about a 35″ bust, and I hope that’s enough ease for this sweater style.

Thank you all again… you don’t know how all the comments and stories helped me out!

Up next and a yarn review

Last night I swatched for the Soap bubble wrap.  I’m really looking forward to this one – I don’t have any sweaters of this style!  The yarn I’m using is Lion Brand studio Cotton Bamboo.  I was a bit leery after my last bamboo experience, but this yarn feels very different to me.  The cotton gives it a pretty dry hand, but it isn’t stiff.  It is a bit splitty, but nothing like some bamboo blends (RYC Bamboo soft, I’m looking at you!)  I would compare the feel of knitting with it to Brown Sheep Cotton fleece, just a bit less dense.  Same amount of splittiness, and the feel is similar.  This color is a really pretty tea rose, tending on the salmon side just a little, but not really orangey.  You will have to excuse my obsession with pink for a bit – I have missed the color so much with the red hair that I keep getting pink things!  The gauge is between 5 and 5.5 st/in.  I’m using the 5 st/in one (on US 6 needles) because I don’t have enough yarn to go up more than 1 size.  I think it will drape nicely at that gauge, and it doesn’t at all look too stretched out.

I’ll update my review after I knit for awhile though, but so far this looks like a good economical yarn choice!
I used Aveda’s Black Malva conditioner on my hair, and I think it helped a little with the brassiness.  My hairdresser offered to redo, but I think I will wait until it has to be recolored and keep using the conditioner every few washes.  I suspect this color will require more frequent touch-ups, since it is darker than my old color and much darker than my natural dark blond (I used to have super dark hair, and nothing looks stranger to me than light roots.)

Finally, I’m selling some yarn on my Ravelry Stash page – check it out if you are interested!

Crochet (and knitting)again

After our nasty weather this week, I think I am officially done with winter.  I may not be longing to knit tank tops, but it would be nice to knit with some nice cotton or bamboo yarn!

This is my haul from the Knit Nook Superbowl sale today.  I got enough Cathay to make a nice summer pullover or cardigan – mixed dyelots, but they look the same to me, and I can always stripe them in.  I also got a bunch of back issues of crochet today for $1 each.  I really like Crochet today, but I haven’t bought it in awhile – there are lots of cute patterns though, and I’m sure I’ll get my $1 worth!

As always with spring, my thoughts turn to crochet.  I’m really dying to make this asymmetrical cardigan, from the current IC.

I have the required yarn for the cardigan (EL Silky wool) in several colors – I’m thinking of lavender.  I also think this shawl is really beautiful – it reminds me of Icarus.

Rowan/RYC has also released their spring line of patterns.  I am not (to be honest) especially impressed with Rowan 45 – I like the Bloom section, but it’s nothing special, and I’ve come to realize that I do not knit fingering weight sweaters.  However, their special collections are wonderful!

These patterns are from RYC Classic Reminiscence and the Lenpur linen collection.  I probably like these two collections enough to buy them.  There is another new collection for milk cotton, and one for siena, but there are too many 4-ply patterns in those to be a good value for me.

I can’t wait for the spring IK, the Twist Collective, and a new book from Kim Hargreaves in March.  Looks like a great spring!

I’ve already planned my next socks: Lobster Pot socks by Chrissy Gardener.

I think the cable looks like hearts, and I’m planning to use my Madelinetosh in poprocks (hot pink!)

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!

Where I’ve been, and where I’m going…

2008 is almost over, so it’s time for the obligatory year end wrap up post!

In 2008 I completed 31 fiber projects.  That breaks down as 18 sweaters, 3 hats, 1 scarf, 4 shawls, and 4 pairs of socks.

I took a little break in the summer/fall to work on the house, but I’m back in the swing of things now!  This is the year that I learned I can knit lace – I made my first real lace shawl, the Shetland Triangle.  I also learned that I am unlikely to enjoy really complicated lace, and that I wear my rectangular stoles more often.  I rediscovered sock knitting (and sock yarn) after a long hiatus caused by trying to knit too many boring stockinette pairs.  I realized that I do not love knitting sweaters in one piece, but I will do it for the right pattern.  Six of the sweaters this year were knit in one piece, but they all made me curse their very existence at some point.

In my personal life, we bought our first house together and moved in July.  I discovered a great love of color when choosing my colors to paint the house.  Marc’s sister is having a baby in March, and I will be an aunt for the first time (important because I’m not sure that we will have children of our own.)  I survived turmoil at work, and started teaching out of my home in September (a long time dream of mine!)  We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in August, and I realized how lucky I was to have someone who shares my (admittedly unusual) views on life.

I am not so big on resolutions in my personal life, but knitting goals are easier to achieve, so… here is what I want to do this year:

1. Knit at least 1 pair of socks per month (I’ve joined a few knitalongs and found it really helps with motivation.)

2. Design a sweater for myself

3. Don’t buy sweater yarn too far ahead… I find I tend to get yarn for a project, then forget about it, and then be stuck with yarn I have to use up or destash.  I don’t mind having a stash at all (and sock yarn in particular does not matter here) I just want to be sure that I’m using yarns that I love, and that the yarns I’m using are a good match for the project.

And that’s all… other than that, I’m fine with continuing the way I’ve been going!

Speaking to #1 on my list, I wound up the yarn for the socks I want to make in January.

On the left is Fleece Artist Sea Wool to be used for a pair of Hedera socks.  I have never made lace socks or one of Cookie A.’s patterns, so I am looking forward to it.  The other yarn is by Yarn Chef on Etsy – it’s a self striping yarn in various shades of pink.  I’m planning to knit Back to Basics from Knitty, and to conquer the toe-up socks.  My last attempts were not successful, but hopefully this will keep me interested so that I can knit toe up in the future.  I bought this yarn last year, but haven’t knit it yet because I was worried about durability (it is very springy and not too tightly twisted.)  I’ve decided to take my chances, and hopefully have pretty pink socks for Valentine’s day.

I’m continuing to work on Amelia.  I am past the waistband now, and working towards the buttonholes.  I did not take it with me over Christmas, and the twisted stitches are kind of slow going (and make my wrists hurt a bit.)  It’s lovely though, so I’m going to really focus on it for a few days to see how far I get.

Dionne (above) is clearly not amused that I am using her bed for photos.

Gloomy day yarn

Since it’s a gloomy day here (we had snow and ice last night) and I have to go to work tonight (Advent reconciliation service) I thought I would cheer us all up with some random yarn prettiness.  These are the latest additions to my sock yarn stash.

Socks That Rock lightweight in Moonstone. I bought this during their 15% off sale last week.  I have another order coming with mediumweight in 24 karat and heavyweight in rosebud.  I’ve never used this yarn, but I’ve always been curious about the frenzy.  They have some more solid colors now, so pooling is less of an issue.  I’m thinking of Chalet Socks or some sort of lacy pattern.

Fleece Artist Somoko in Beet. So pretty.  This yarn contains mohair, so I expect it will fuzz up a bit, but the color is gorgeous.

Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Silver. Absolutely looks like silver.  Love the crunchy, springy feel.  I can’t wait to knit with this, I hope I can find a deserving pattern!  I love fleece artist and handmaiden yarns in general, so I’m pleased that these yarns are so nice.  I also want to try Casbah, Handmaiden’s sock yarn with cashmere in it.

I finished my first Cozy Cable sock.

It’s pretty and fits well (those cables really pull in!)  I am not so enamored of the yarn, but more on that later.

Right now I am eating Qdoba for a quick dinner, and I’ve just finished knitting the back of the climbing vine pullover on the machine.  I decided to go ahead and machine knit the stockinette, because I have so many sweaters still to get to this winter, and as much as I love the yarn I love my tendonitis less (I always knit too fast on stockinette and wind up having to take knitting breaks!)  Right now my tendonitis isn’t bad, but with Christmas and Christmas jobs coming up, who knows how I will fare.

New Patterns and Obsessions

I am nothing if not obsessive.   All my life I have chosen interests and then followed them with (some might say) excessive enthusiasm.  First there were books… I carried them everywhere, and probably wasn’t seen without a book in my purse until well after the age of majority (and now I’m back there again, but nevermind…)  Then there was embroidery.  Then Crochet.  Then (recently) my obsession with restoring the house.  Knitting has carried on for quite awhile with no sense of waning.  Now you will rarely find me without a half finished sock lurking in my bag somewhere.  I even develop minor obsessions with my knitting.  Currently I’m really into semi-solid yarns, both for socks and sweaters.  Yesterday I started these socks.

The pattern is “Cozy Cables

It’s not a free pattern, but totally worth it… the pattern is extremely detailed and clear.  I’m loving knitting these, except for one thing… the yarn (dream in color starry) is too solid.  Fortunately, it has sparkles, and they will get me through the pain, but I think this yarn should be less solid if they are going to call it a semi-solid.  Other than that the yarn is lovely, and so much larger than the Malabrigo sock I used last that I can’t believe how fast it’s going!

My sock queue on ravelry?  Three pages long.  And I just bought “Folk Socks” and “Knitting Socks in Handpainted Yarn.”  My sock yarn stash?  Let us not speak of it.  I have sold off most of my variegated and am now replacing them with semi-solids and some variegated skeins where the colors are closer together.

The new Winter Knitty is out, and for once I have found quite a lot to love.  I immediately queued up the yarn for Amelia.

I love the little pintucks and the shaping.  Plus I have a thing for garter stitch cuffs for some reason.  The yarn is Madelinetosh worsted in Malachite, and is so pretty that honestly it might kill me.

My other favorite from the issue is Maja.

I love the geometric look, and I already own the yarn called for, Manos Silk Blend.   I bought it so long ago that I can’t even remember why, but it’s semi-solid!

I also really like the Plaited Points socks and have queued them, though I’m not sure if they would be an annoying knit or not.  Finally, Surface is gorgeous (I even like the funny wrap thing) but I have Kingscot to attempt before I queue any other Norah Gaughan patterns.

I did cast on today for the Climbing Vines pullover from the Winter IK today, but I don’t have any good photos yet.  I’m using Dream in Color Classy in Chinatown Apple, because I can squeeze the smallest size out of three skeins.   I hope to have pictures tomorrow!

Does anyone have a copy of the new Knit.1 yet?  They are relaunching with new editors and what appears to be a whole new look.  They seem to have at last been released from the death grip of lion brand, and everything looks beautiful and wearable.

I’m planning to make this garter stitch cardigan from Kathmandu aran tween (I have a really dark blue shade that is lovely, but needs to be a plain pattern or it obscures the details.)  The socks are by Cookie A… lovely.

Hope everyone is having a good week!