Thursday, September 20, 2007


I can hardly believe that September is almost over. That may, in part, be due to the fact that I spent my day sitting on the beach, watching surfers, and getting a really odd sunburn on my arms and parts of my legs. I never quite put that sunblock on properly. None the less, after being away from home for nearly 3 months, tomorrow I'm flying first class back to Philadelphia, picking up my new car, and finally sleeping in my own bed. It seems like ages. By Monday I'll be back to the usual grind of working, grad school, homework, and hopefully some hanging out.

Of course, there will always be knitting. I hae to say, I've been rather selfish lately, knitting almost entirely for myself. But I'll be honest. I spend so much time knitting for other people, I think I've earned all my little pet projects. Let's take this gorgeous Malabrigo for example. I fell in love with the stuff last autumn when I needed to make a gift for my BFF. Since, I've knit many wonderful scarves of Malabrigo for many wonderful people until it suddenly occurred to me, I've never made ANYTHING for myself.

I scored 5 skeins at Great Yarns on sale while I was in Raleigh. They sat in the bag for a while until I decided that it's finally time I treated myself to a little Malabrigo. I love the texture. So soft running through the hands, so wooly and warm, and just a pleasure to knit with. I look forward to sharing this project with you in the coming weeks.

Naturally, I am working on all those holiday gifts. Yeah, I'm not as selfish as I'd like to be sometimes. I'm trying to keep it simple this year. Nothing crazy. Nothing that will keep me up late on Christmas Eve...famous last words.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Red Sweater Day

I didn't intend for this set of photos to be so ambient. The truth is I feel incredibly bloated today AND I'm breaking out AND I was running out of natural light. Today is my last day in North Carolina. I'm off to even warmer pastures tomorrow and I've still got plenty to occupy my hooks and needles. I think I've accomplished more knitting in the past 8 weeks than I have in the past 2 years, and I'm not joking when I say "Boy, are my arms TIRED!".

That little number up there is the Blue Sky Alpacas Cropped Cardigan in Knit Picks Andean Treasure. The color is Embers and I used 8 skeins, double stranded. It has benefitted from a great deal of blocking, and could use a bit more. I probably could have made the next size up, but after a few days of being pinned and steamed and steamed pinned, I think it's fitting much better.

And hell, for being one of my first completed sweaters, I really can't complain. I love a little cardigan to throw on with a jeans and t-shirt, so much nicer than a hoodie.

I've been on a HUGE red kick lately. Three of the four sweaters I knit this summer are some shade of red. Now, you may say, "Hey! There's only 2 sweaters in this post! Where are the others!?!" First, I will tell you to stop being so demanding. Then, I will tell you that I need to find proper buttons before I can adequately share these items with you. I will say that I am quite excited about both of them, and both were fantastic learning experiences.

The tube top? Well, let's say that never in my life have I owned one. I did admire this pattern when I saw it in Fitted Knits, but I never thought I would knit it. That is, until I realized my own stupidity. I ordered 4 balls of Elegance from Knit Picks in Barn Red to make Zephyr Style's Ms. Marigold. Don't ask me why. It was not one of my more lucid moments. The point is, three days ago I realized that I didn't have nearly enough yarn for Ms. M, but I sure did have enough for the tube top. So, I went down a needle size, didn't swatch, and dove in. I have to say, the pattern was pretty fun, and very quick. I only did 5 repeats of the lace, instead of 6. I know my gauge was a bit off, and I could've gone down a size, but overall, I'm really pleased with it.

I plan on adding some straps, and wearing it under a black crew neck cardigan. One with a really fine, light gauge so that the lace panel really stands out. The color is just fantastic, and it really deserves a proper framing.

I'd love to make another one for next summer. Black in the Cascade Pima Tencel that the pattern calls for, except the lace panel will be longer, 7 or 8 repeats, so it reaches more of a tunic length. Yes, yes, how exciting.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh, the places we'll go...

I took this photo in late 2005. I had only just taught myself to knit a few months before. For those keeping track, that is a small part of the super easy leg warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, one of my first pattern books and one that I refer back to time and time again. I took forever finishing those things. One is bound off a little tight. The stitches aren't quite even. The colors are a little garish, but I actually wear them all the time.

This summer I made my first sweaters. They're upstairs blocking, and while not monuments of perfection, I am thrilled with how far I've come. Always learning, exploring new things, and coming up with new ideas. It all seems so cheesy, but I really don't know where I would be without it.

This summer has been a difficult one for me. I put my life on hold to be with my family in a time of need. If I hadn't knit incessantly over the last 3 months, I think I would have lost my mind by now.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Little Things

I've been on quite a tear in the past week or so trying to rid myself of all those little odd balls that seem to keep piling up in my stash. I am one of those people who finds that one lovely ball of yarn sitting in the sale bin at the LYS and buys it. So instead of a stash that I can delve into when the next must have sweater is published in Interweave, I have a collection of oddballs without any clear idea as to what they'll become. Another thing about me is that I'm one of those people who kind of hates having a stash. I know, I know, I'm crazy, who doesn't love having a stash? Maybe it's more that I just don't have room for a stash, and frankly, being inundated with THAT much yarn would leave me with a feeling of unnaccomplishment. I would feel overwhelmed, as if I will never reach the end. I guess that's the point, isn't it?

Anyway, the photograph above gives me a great sense of accomplishment. A scarf out of one skein of Malabrigo found on sale. A pair of Kim's hats made from Plymouth Galway Highland skeins and scraps. A pair of Knucks from a sale ball of Rowan Felted Tweed. A Dream Swatch from a sale ball of Noro Cash Iroha. A pair of wristwarmers from another ball of Cash Iroha (actually in the same color as the ones from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It's a gorgeous shade of magenta that I WISH I'd been able to find more of. Alas! Such is the fate of the sale bin.) Two more hats, the Purl Beret from a ball of Claudia Hand Painted, and a pink sparkly number from a ball of handspun I picked up in Maryland a few months ago.

Granted, I still have leftovers from SOME of these balls, and more bags of leftovers at home. It's getting to be time to make an afghan.

I bought the yarn for this hat from Raven's Nest in Chesapeake City, MD. If you are ever out that way I reccomend you stop by, they have a wonderful selection and a helpful staff. I think it's a blend of wool with a bit of silk and a string of sparkly nylon thread is plied throughout the bulky yarn. I lived the layers of pink with the occasional spot of teal and dark purple. If you've been keeping up with your September fashion magazines you'll see that bulky knits and anything tactile is big big big for fall. I liked seed stitch for this because it spoke to those trends. I had no pattern, simply cast-on 60 stitches onto size 8 circs, knit an inch in 1x1 ribbing, made one increase and switched over to size 9 dpns for the body. When I thought it was long enough I decreased, and voila! I'm kind of in love with it.

The Purl Beret from the Purl Bee, started off on size 2 Plymouth Speedway circs. These needles are awful. Do not use them. Fortunately, my gauge was off, and the colors were pooling, so I swtiched over to larger bamboo circs and voila! I LOVE this colorway. It's called Bootcamp, and I picked it up from kpixie. It's just so...fall. The burnt oranges against the navy and olive, beautiful. Now, I would've finished this in one day, but I misread the pattern and knit the body far too long, began to run out of yarn, and frogged the whole thing and started from scratch. Sure, I could've unknit, but I liked working with the yarn so much that I didn't mind ripping it out and starting fresh.

Now, the colors do pool a bit near the crown at the second round of decreases, but I'm ok with this. A little bit of pooling is ok, but had it happened throughout the overall look would have been splotchy and very very un chic.

Finally, I got around to finishing Danica. This came out of 4 balls of Noro Silk Garden I got on sale (there was more than one ball! hurrah!) I can't say that I'm entirely in love with the colorway. You may recall I started a very colorful and narrower version of this scarf, but have yet to finish it. (The scarf is in Philadelphia; I'm not.) Anyway, I wanted a wider version so I bought 4 balls and started off casting on 40 stitches. This was too wide, so I went with 30. I love the entrelac because it knits up so quickly and people are so impressed by it, especially with self-striping yarn. I think the whole thing took 5 days fmro start to finish, but I was taking breaks to knit all those little bits and pieces. I'm still not sure that I'll keep this for myself. It's kind of dreary. For some reason I thought it was more purple, but there's a lot of grey bits that aren't winning me over. It also needs to be blocked.

I've got some bigger things on the needles right now. Stay tuned.