Tuesday, October 31, 2006

When I'm 64...

I hope someone knits me flowers! (Actually, I guess I hope someone knits me anything!) I knitted this one up from the felted flower wreath pattern in the new issue of Knit Simple, (Nicky Epstein) and I finished it just in time to give to my mom, who is arriving at our home tomorrow for some birthday celebrating. She is, yes, 64! My original intention for this flower was to make it into a pin she could wear; she is very into flowers and told me she saw some on a recent trip to Italy (who knew) that she liked. Alas, I didn't read the pattern too carefully, and this is about 6 inches across--probably too big for a pin! But I am going to make it into a sort of "tussy mussy" (something else she loves) and can give it to her that way. And one more thing: I have found a new use for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer-- yes, the appliance you mix cake batter with. It actually works incredibly well for felting small objects like this--just put the little knitted pieces in with boiling water and a bit of soap, and turn it on pretty low. These felted in about 10 minutes (paton's wool) . Hope ya'll had a great Halloween--it was a bit wacky around here!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Everything old.....

.....Is new again! Cast On is back, with a new series. I haven't even listened to the first episode of the new series yet, but I am very excited. If you have listened to Brenda Dayne's podcast yet, go to her website and check it out. She is eloquent, her voice is wonderful, and she talks about knitting, life and all sorts of deep things in a very helpful and informed way. She got my started on my podcast listening obsession. Pictured at left is the yarn that arrived today to be knit (I say "to be knit" as if it will magically happen, ha ha) into a clapotis, which I hope to give to my mom, who is dear enough and appreciative enough of handknits to make it more than worthwhile. This yarn is so beautiful in person, silk and merino, called Max, in a colorway called "Joseph's Coat," for reasons that are probably apparent. It's from Lisa Souza, as you can probably tell from the photo! And I have to tell you what I "heard in the hall" this morning. I was taking a very uncustomary rest in my bedroom reading a knitting magaizine with the lights down low. My husband and younger daughter were out in the family room with the dogs. All was fine, until I heard my daughter yelling, "Honey, Honey, no!" at the dog. I could hear my husband speak up, "Don't get too excited sweetie, what is Honey doing?" "She has mommy's knitting," daughter shouted, and I heard my husband jump up and wrangle the knitting away from the dog. "Phew," he said, "Good thing Mommy's not in here!" So good that my family knows what's important, hee hee! Talk to you soon! Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 27, 2006

Three from the road

At last, some pictures of some of my knitting lately. The first is a bag I knit and then constructed out of the fantastic handspun from Hello yarn. It is slubby and nubby and soft soft soft, and I just had no idea what to do with it! So I started out with the Chunky Funky pattern from MagKnits that I had used for some red plied handpsun before. It has a really cool twisted cable that runs the length of the bag and gives it very cool texture. But then I decided to modify the pattern and wrap it around a dollar store mini tote (made of, well, plastic.) This meant I had to line it, which I did, not very artfully, but effectively enough, with fleece (there was a 50% off sale on fleece this past weekend at the fabric store, and my gosh, does that bring out droves of people!). It's very funky and not incredibly practical, but I like it a whole lot, and it makes me feel good to use it.
The second is another bag, the famous Booga Bag, which I knitted with Paton's Soy Wool Stripes, in Natural Navy which stripes beautifully when used single stranded and FELTS LIKE CRAZY (and I mean that-even with my front loaded, this was shrunk in half in about 15 minutes). I had used this yarn in their geranium color for another bag, and I really like it. This one was a fun and oh so easy knit; it was great to have those endless rounds of stockinette while try to pay attention to other things. I have to admit though, that knitting 7 feet of icord almost sent me over the edge!
And the third picture is a headband I knitted from the Nakiska pattern from Knitty. The yarn is this super soft angora blend called Fat Bunny that I got from Lisa Souza. It knit up beautifully, and I love all the cables. I had thought it might be a gift, but I think I may just keep it for me; I love hats but have a real problem with hat hair! Headbands are much more forgiving! And I still have socks in progress, fear not. I have not had the courage yet to frog my Jaywalkers; I like them so much. But of course liking them is the reason to make them so they will actually fit me!I got word that my clapotis yarn shipped, I can't wait!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Stayin' Alive

I'm still here! Well, actually, I'm back. I actually spent last week at a conference at which there was no internet access (!!!!!!). I could check my email (somehwat laboriously) on my cell phone, but that was it! Boy, did I miss reading blogs and message boards and blogging! The good news, though is that I had knitting time! I had worried about "knitting in public" at this conference, but when it started, I noticed two other women pull out knitting (a clapotis and a scarf) and one another take out some quilting (!) I was so excited! And what was really cool was that the incredible woman who led the conference managed to work our quilting/knitting into her remarks on the last day in a wonderfully artful way. Yeah! So I will have some pictures to post: of a bag I knit out of some gorgeous Maisy Day Handspun I got from Hello Yarn, and an almost finsihed Jaywalker that I think I am going to have to frog (they are not going to fit me, and I think the colors are too wild for anyone else I know), as well as a Booga Bag I made (which I hope to felt tomorrow) and a lacey scarf I am still struggling with from some ridiculously expensive (but gorgeous) hand dyed mohair silk that I got at a LYS in the area. And I finally finished the toe of my hip hop socks (I had actually lost the little sock bag that I was carrying the WIP in; talk about panic, but yes, it was found!). I was so inspired by watching the clapotis evolve through the week that I came and promptly ordered some beautiful hand dyed silk merino from Lisa Souza to (finally) make my own! I fear I am rambling somewhat incoherently(as well as using too many exclamation points), but am so glad to be back on line and blogging, and will get to all you and your wonderful comments from my last posts soon. K1P2!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Double Cast Ons

Better late than never. Pictured at left are my Jaywalkers, which I started the other day, in the Lime & Violet Lisa Souza yarn. I will, I think, let these socks do double duty for the Lime & Violet KAL and Soctoberfest! Now that I'm finally knitting this pattern, I understand why it's been so popular: it's a great, cool and easy knit. And I am surprised but pleased with how the yarn is working with the pattern, too. At the far left are the real start of my Socktoberfest socks, the very beginings, (cast on this morning) of the "Heelless Sleeping Sock" from Knitting Vintage Socks. I am wondering about the sizing of the socks--there are very few stitches for fingering weight socks, but the pattern recommends 2.75mm needles and claims they are very stretchy and don't wear out (despite the looser gauge) because they have no heel. We shall see!The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Potluck from my stash, and it's gorgeous! I can't believe I waited this long to knit it up. I'm so excited about all these "sockportunities"! (Yes, it is probably time for me to go get some sleep (I am getting a but punchy) or at least go back to my knitting!

Friday, October 06, 2006

It's Socktoberfest!

My very first pair (some moons ago...)!
Yes, I am a little behind on this, though I always have some socks going! I'm so excited, because I love to have a good reason to do what I do all the time anyway, in this case, knit socks. I'm excited about Socktoberfest, and grateful to Lolly, one of those super-functioning, amazingly organized and generous people that we are so lucky to have in the knitting world, for organizing it all. I can't wait to see what everyone is doing! I cast on for a pair of Jaywalkers today (yes, I am the last person in the world who hasn't made them yet!). I was really inspired by Knit Mongrel, who made me think the simplicity of the pattern was just the lack of dizzying effort I needed right now! So now, I need to answer the Socktoberfest questions. Here goes!
When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I started knitting socks about a year ago. I was inspired by an episode of Knitty Gritty, on which Karen Baumer made it all look logical and wonderful. I learned from online tutorials, slowly! If I had taken a class, I no doubt would have made fewer mistakes along the way (and since) but that really has been part of the fun (and the learning).
What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first pair turned out really niceley--the stitches looked good, the heel turn was lovely (if I do say so myself) and the kitchener on the toe quite respectable! There was just one problem--they were, as my daughter would say, "gynormous!!!" But I did two of them anyway. If they hadn't been pink, (well, they were coordinated pink & grey actually, because I was running out of the pink yarn; clearly I have always had this difficulty) I would have given them to my brother in law. But since they were, I kept them, and since they've not really been worn, they've held up just great!
What would you have done differently?
Nothing, really, except, well, probably swatching better! Or perhaps not ignoring the little voice in my head that said, "Wow, this sock is sure looking big!"
What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I like all sorts of yarns--I have knit with a lot of Lorna's and Regia, and lots of Knitpicks. Recently, I have developed a real bias for "homemade" yarns, buying from places like Hello Yarn and Lisa Souza.
Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I knit my socks, and use all three methods. I learned first on DPN's, and they are still my first love. But I usually have a pair going on DPN's and a pair going on one of the other methods as well. Variety is important to my knitting (or at least my attention span!)
Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I mostly do flap heels, they seem to fit me best. I've also done a fair number of band heels, a few strong heels, and exactly two short row heels (they are hardest for me).
How many pairs have you made?
I've not kept a real count, but probably about 15 pairs. I wish I had kept a log from the beginning (meaning preblog), because relying on my memory is always dicey. But I never stop knitting socks!
So, I am editing this post to include a photo of these first socks, please, no laughing!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

In our ends are our beginnings

A few finshed objects: the Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting, done in Lion Cotton, pure white. It is, I hope, destined for a "real" baby, but in the meantime, my daughter has appropriated it for her doll (at least it fits the doll perfectly!). This is a fun pattern, very easy, all in one cool piece knitting; I love that kind of thing. Makes me want to try the Baby Surprise Jacket I have been reading about here , and also here. Also pictured are the cable purse, finally sewn up--I love it (even if I don't love sewing things together at all); the felted clutch, with the ornamental buttons finally actually sewn on (why is it that the last minutes details so often elude me?), and the scarf that wanted to be a purse in Tagliatelli--it's the pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts that I have made at least 10 times with different yarns. I always love how it comes out. I made this one last night (yes, it was a bit of a late night, what with all that sewing up of other projects), and is supposed to go in the mail tomorrow with some soaps for my mom's birthday! Now, it is time to figure out what my next socks will be for Socktoberfest....and what I will knit for the Lime & Violet Knitalong (my beautiful yarn arrived today). Sometimes I think (though only sometimes) that I am too much of a joiner! More soon!
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Can't buy me love?

I am so in love. I bought this incredible, beautiful, touchable handspun yarn (called "uppity", how appropriate) from Hello Yarn. I wanted to just keep the beautiful ball it came wound up in on my desk and pet it all day when I needed to release stress, but decided, probably for the best, to knit it up. I was so afraid to do anything that would detract from it, but found this cool purse pattern in MagKnits, which was specifically written for handspun. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the pattern has a beautiful intertwining cable pattern down the middle. It's blocking now; I can't wait to sew it up and use it. I think I will sew a lining into it, just to protect the gorgeous yarn from whatever I might put in the purse. And I have to give a big shout out to Adrian at Hello Yarn, who not only has beautiful yarn and lots of free patterns on her site, but also gracious and wonderful customer service--the yarn came quickly and was lovingly wrapped in tissue. I can't wait to order more, actually, I ordered some more today. It makes me want to spin, it makes me want to bury myself in handspun! I will post a finished pic once it's sewn up, as well as a pic of the baby kimono, which is also blocking, but less photogenic at this point (and I ran out of yarn on that one, too, and had to steal from a dishcloth in progress to finish (just to increase my chances of elevation to duchess-hood!) Posted by Picasa