Archive for August, 2006
I finished two new sweaters for Ava over the weekend. Because she is so weird about putting clothes on (at least cloths that she didn’t pick out!), I had to trick her into putting them on for the photo shoot last night.
She always wants to go out in the rain with her little umbrella but we only let her do it once in a while. Last night, the it was cool and rainy so I told her she could go out in the rain as long as she put her sweater on. She was excited enough that I was able to bring her in for a wardrobe change!
The first sweater is from The Yarn Girls Guide to Kid Knits and was very simple to make. I used the same kind of yarn I made the canteen bag out of. I let her pick out the buttons at the “button store” – she was very excited about that!
The second sweater is a vest based on the pattern Christina bought at the fiber festival. It is super cute and all I had to do was select a smaller yarn. I followed the pattern for the small size. She was much more happy to put this on than the bulky sweater – but given that, it was much harder to get her to stand still for a good picture of the vest!
When we were done outside, we ran in the house and Ava exclaimed “That was AWESOME!!!”
I made this sweater and bunny set for the upcoming baby of someone at work quite a while ago. I didn’t want to post a picture of it before giving it to him on the off chance that he or his wife might see it on the blog. I can finally show off the utter cuteness that is the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino 2 Bolero and Bunny.
I hope the new baby like her gift!
I haven’t done much yarn shopping recently (relatively speaking). I bought one skein of Schaefer “Anne” sock yarn this month, to add to my “Anne” collection. I think I’m officially addicted to this yarn. It’s 60% merino wool superwash, 25% mohair, 15% nylon. Luxury for the toes.
I also purchased some Wildfoote via Kira — she was at a conference in Rochester, NY and found some time to explore the LYSs and picked up it up for me. Why can’t we find more Wildfoote around here, do you think?
I recently finished a pair of basic stockinette socks in Socks That Rock “Kryptonite.” According to my research, the green and gold Kryptonite should be enough to *at least* make Superman sick to his stomach (he’s a little too good for me — give me a tortured, Christian Bale-ninja-Batman).
Check out my first “eye of partridge” heel – the stitches really pop out in an interesting way. [OK, I realize that I sound like the knit nerd of the week, but I really can't deny it.]
I have also received my July & August Sock-of-the-Month club deliveries, yay! For July, there was a pretty lace pattern + Cascade Fixation, and for August, a (new to me) yarn called “Wick” from Knit One Crochet Too. It’s a blend of 53% soy, 47% polypropylene and is extremely soft to the touch.
Over the weekend, I finished two very different felted bags.
The first one is a based on the little clutch purse pattern in the One Skein book. I used the first skein I received from my pal – a hand spun jacob wool/mohair blend. The wool was actually a little greasy (lanolin?) and I used size 15 needles to knit the bag – these two things made felting very slow going. I actually ran it through the agitate cycle about 10 times, then tried rubbing it on the washboard part of the sink, then put it in the dryer, then put it through the agitate cycle a few more times. Finally, after all that, it was felted pretty well. I let it dry but decide to give it another run through the wash a couple more times, just for good measure. As it turns out, I did just the right amount of felting because the bag turned out perfectly. I love it, especially with the pretty lining I put in.
The second is the canteen bag from Fall 2005 Interweave Knits. A while ago, my pal pointed it out to me and I’ve been dying to try it ever since. I used the green and yellow yarn I got a Joann a while ago. The bag is supposed to be two-tone, but I just did one. And if you think the strap looks long, you are right – it is 5 feen of i-cord!! This bag turned out really well, too, I think.
Before (see coaster for scale):
I think I love felting and will be doing much more of it!
Well, it may not be obvious, but the Gentleman’s sock on the model’s right foot (upper right in the picture) is bigger in every way than the one on the left! In trying to puzzle it out, I came to the conclusion that I picked up size 3 needles when I started the second one, after having knit the first one with size 2′s, and never even noticed. Nigel says he can wear them without going crazy, although I’d think it’d be really annoying to have one sock bigger than the other. I do know that I’m not knitting yet another one. I wonder if I can wash the bigger one in warm water and then shape them into the same size on blockers?
In other sock news, I’ve been working on more “cozy armchair socks” from Weekend Knitting (p. 112) which are basically tubes with afterthought heels. I’m using up the Artful Yarns I got in Toledo, turning these:
The red yarn is where the heels will go. And, yes, the single sock is inside out. My family likes the pattern of the garter stitches in this yarn, and it does look more textured that way.
And a final sock — Corie’s completed Christmas stocking — 8″ by 24″:
It’s really supposed to be felted, but she (no dummy) realized that it will hold more in its current state, and so we’re leaving it as is.
Yesterday, Christina and I took a little trip to Allegan, Michigan to attend the annual Michigan Fiber Festival. I’d never been to a fiber fest before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was almost all vendors – which is great because I went there to buy stuff. There was also an old tractor show and a few livestock-related activities. I was surprised to see a sheep competition that was just the same as a dog show – handlers running the sheep up and down for the judges. In addition to the sheep, there were also angora bunnies and a variety of goats. I took a some pictures but none of the ones in the vendor areas really turned out.
Here are some animals for you:
And because I know you are dying to see one, here is an old tractor!
I figured that the tractor display was there to entertain the husbands of the shopping knitters and spinners.
On the way home, we decided to stop in the quaint-looking downtown Allegan which is in the middle of
creepy rural Michigan. To get there, we had to cross the only bridge into town.
It was sort of rickety and only one lane (only one direction gets to go at a time). The downtown was definately quaint-looking but I don’t think anything was open and there were no people.
On to the important part….
Shockingly, I didn’t go overboard with my purchases – I only bought 3 things:
First, a cashmere baby bonnet kit. The very fancy and lacey bonnet takes one skein of the the creamy white 80% cashmere/20% silk yarn. I don’t know what baby will receive this bonnet – but it will be someone special. It is knit on size one needles and the pattern begins with this:
“The first 6 rows can be frustrating. Take it slow and careful and avoid distractions until they are finished.”
Luckily, the woman selling the cashmere also created the pattern and she said to call her if I ran into troubles. Christina also bought something at the cashmere booth. The woman told her that if she ran into troubles, she should call her friend.
Next, I bought some crazy roving – I couldn’t resist. If I’m reading the label correctly, it is called “Everything Plus the Sink” and consists of 69% Coopworth wool, 17% Mohair, and 14% Noil. If you don’t know what noil is, join the club. I looked it up and it is some kind of silk fabric – there are little wads of it throughout the roving and will make the yarn tweedy. I have already started spinning this up… have a look:
Finally, I purchased a pound of 70% Romney Wool, 30% Mohair roving. The sample they had spun was so lovely, I just couldn’t resist. This colors in this picture aren’t quite accurate. The green is really nice and looks great accented by the purple. It is called Walden Pond and comes from the Linden Lane Farm in Howell, MI.
All in all, it was a very fun day trip. I’m glad I decided to leave Nick and Ava at home. They definately would not have enjoyed it! I’m sure I’ll be up for another trip next year.
If anyone is interested, The Spinners Flock, a local spinners guild, will be having their biannual Fleece Fair on Saturday, September 17 in Chelsea. Let me know if you are interested in going!
Have you sock fanatics seen this?
1. Finished tiny tomatoes:
To quote a tiny Corie, these are the best little tomatoes “I ever saw.” Most of them are about the size of a gumball, a few are as big as a shooter marble. The yellow ones are sweeter and better than the red. I am always amazed at how much better home-grown tomotoes taste than the vine-ripened tomatoes in the grocery stores, even when they’re grown on an apartment patio overlooking a parking lot. Unfortunately, I think I’m only going to get a few batches of these — I suspect that I stunted the plant growth by placing too many plants in a small patio planter.
2. Finished sweater for a finished (Finnish) baby:
Pattern: Baby kimono Mason-Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Cascade Sierra
Needles: Size 6
The baby (new daughter of a colleague – welcome, Fiona!) was finished a couple of weeks ago, but a “closure” crisis cause a delay in gifting the sweater. The pattern calls for a ribbon closure, but all of the ribbons I found around here just didn’t work. Finally, Beth and Sherry encouraged me to reconsider a button, and I found a very cute one:
The kitty looks a little anime, no?
3. Finished birthday socks:
I also finished some *R E D* Birthday socks requested by a sister — but I can’t show those yet!
This has nothing to do with the secret pal exchange. It was no secret Beth gave me a skein of her handspun yarn. I loved the colours so much and the thickness of it that I had to whip up this hat:
I made up the pattern as I went. I actually knit the two flaps first, leaving one on the circular needle while I knit the second one. Once the two flaps were done, I knit across the flap I just finished, cast on some stitches, knit across the second flap, cast on some stitches, then joined for knitting in the round. This was the lazy way to avoid adding earflaps by picking up stitches.
I was almost done the hat when I ran out of yarn. I didn’t think Beth had a second skein so I decided to finish off the hat with some black cashmerino held double. Now the hat was all burgundy with a little black circle at the top. I thought it needed something extra so I brought it to work and asked Beth to help. She crocheted the black edging around the entire hat during one lunch break. I thought this was the perfect finishing touch.
I love my new hat! And it fits perfectly!
(since when could I ever get gauge right???)
I completed my One Skein gift for my secret pal some time ago, but have yet to mail it off. These pictures were taken with Beth’s Mac at work, as the gift just needs to be packaged up properly and walked across the street to the post office.
I decided to make the “spiral” drawstring bag out of the OneSkein book. I picked an emerald green skein of Malabrigo (so soft!). The colour is in honour of the “Emerald City” in the Wizard of Oz, a favourite movie of my pal. I also thought the spiral pattern was reminiscent of the twister that carries Dorothy away. To finish off the project I added some fancy beads I bought at the bead store next to work. Beth helped me with the selection and figured out how to get them on there! I’ll be shipping this off with some Oz embellishments (stickers and a magnet) soon.
… learned to crochet – finally.
I’m always reminded of the time I was going on at Nick about what wonderful socks Sherry and Kristen were knitting. He said “Why don’t you knit some socks, then?” I told him I could never make a pair of socks because it is too complicated. He just rolled his eyes and said “Whatever.” Since then, I’ve knit several sock and he mocks me: “Oh, I could NEVER make socks…. They’re too hard for ME…” and so on. I’m always remined of it because he says it everytime he sees me knitting a sock :) A while ago, I decided that I should know how to crochet, too. I went out and bought a book about crocheting housewares (baskets, pillows, rugs, etc.) and was disappointed when I couldn’t just pick up the hook and get going.
Since then, I wised up and admitted to having to read some instructions. I bought Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. After reading all of the instructions and finally understanding how crochet works, I got out some yarn and a hook and started practicing.
I did these this morning:
I don’t know if that granny square will turn into a something or not, but I just love the idea of fabric-lined granny squares. Maybe I’ll make a little purse for Ava.
By the way, when I was little, I found a book in my mom’s drawer called “The Happy Hooker” and thought it was the most scandalous thing. I think this may be the exact copy!
I agree with with everything Beth said about School Products. I also got the lace cashmere:
I chose mine in a soft gray, thinking a classic lace-weight gray scarf would be good to have. I also got some Italian sock yarn, the likes of which I had never seen before. It’s soft, tweedy, and slightly nubby.
I’m off now to do some winding of all my recent purchases. Seems like a good way to relax after a week of work in NYC.
I had planned to wait a bit before posting about yarn-related activities in NY and let someone else go first, but I just couldn’t wait. I’m so excited about the yarn I purchased, I will likely start knitting with it first thing in the morning.
After some discussion of making a trip to Purl, we noticed that School Products is located very close to the Inn on 23rd, where we stayed. We never made it to Purl but we did all make a trip to School Products. It is a great little shop and has some very unique yarns – specializing in cashmere and imports from Italy. The store was attended by a very helpful older man who seemed to know everything about yarn and knitting. Here is what I bought:
The two skeins on top are each 60 yards of hand-dyed super-soft merino. The lower skein is 383 yards of hand-dyed super-soft lace cashmere. I was drawn in by the sample scarf made from a single skein of of the lace cashmere. I can’t wait to wrap the final product around my neck!!!
My knitting project for the trip was a pair of the fingerless gloves in the current issue of knitty (the same ones I made for my pal). Between the flight there, a couple nights, and the flight back, I completed the gloves – well, I spent about a half our on finishing details once I got home. Since it is hard to take a picture of yourself wearing gloves, here is one of them.
You’ll notice that I made the cuffs a bit longer. I did 5 repeats of the cables instead of just 3. The are very soft and comfy to wear – I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of them around the office this winter.
Because my One Skein Pal, Judy, was so good to me, I decided to send her a little thank you:
This is about 175 yards (~8oz) of yarn I spun from pencil roving. It is a wool blend and was already dyed. It is chunky and squishy and I can’t wait to see what she makes with it!
As I pulled into the driveway last night after work, I spied a little box awkwardly jammed into my mailbox. When there is something exciting for me, Nick leaves the mail so I can get all the excitement of “checking the mail.” Such a nerdy thing, but it IS exciting :)
What did I find in the box? An awesome little felty red purse. It has great detail – you can see the seed stitch on the ends and herringbone on the front and back and it has a cute scalloped edge.
It is just the right size for a few necessities and a small knitting project. It may just be the solution to my “too many big bags” dilemma for my trip to NY tomorrow! It also comes right when Ava has become obsessed with purses, so I might have to sneak it out :)
But, it doesn’t stop there, oh no. There were more treats inside the purse. First, a great skein of Noro Cash Iroha. The color is sort of magenta (though officially called burgundy). It is a luxurious blend of cashmere, silk, and lamb’s wool. Very soft. The other treat is a little baggie of tiny and super-cute stitch markers, just perfect for sock knitting. Ava really loved those!! “Aren’t they cutie?!” she exclaimed.
The One Skein Exchange had been a really treat for me. I was very fortunate to be paired with a great pal. Thank you so much, Judy (the Nerdy Knitter), for making this a great exchange!!!
I’ll be traveling this week, and wanted to start a pair of socks to travel with. I also wanted to try something new, so ended up starting a pair of “easy toe” socks from Sensational Knitted Socks (p. 42). It’s easy! Try it! You start with a provisional cast on, make a small rectangle, and then knit around the rectangle, picking up stitches on the short ends and the provisional stitches as you go. Then, you increase on each side until you have the proper number of stitches for the foot.
For fun, here’s close-ups:
Now I need to decide if these will be plain stockinette socks, or patterned. Stockinette is easy for traveling, but a simple pattern might be more interesting…
The girls and I went to Louisville last weekend. Or, lǝvǝl, as the natives say. We went to the Forecastle Festival, a festival of Music*Art*Activism. There was some art and activism, but mostly we went so Corie and her friend could see Sleater-Kinney before their “indefinite hiatus.” Since the concert was on Saturday night, we had only part of a day to actually see Louisville. So, what did we do (and, you’re wondering, how does this relate to knitting?)? We discovered that without even deviating from one street (Bardstown), one can:
- eat lunch at a very good Thai restaurant;
- visit the Roadfood-recommended Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen. (Zoe had caramel apple pie.);
- buy t-shirts and stuff at a well-known Louisville “alternative record store”;
- and, lastly, but inevitably, buy yarn:
The yarn store I found was The Knit Nook. It was like fate, really. I had no plans to visit yarn stores while in Louisville, but it happened. We left the Thai Restaurant and were weaving our way to the pie kitchen (“weaving” because the street, like many streets of Louisville, has multiple lanes, but you seem to be able to stop and park in the rightmost lane whenever you want). I was moving to the right lane when I saw the Knit Nook sign and just kept the car veering right into the parking lot.
The Noro is for Corie’s Christmas stocking, and is knitting up really quickly:
This is just a basic sock, knit on size 8 circular needles, which will be felted. It’s good for mindless knitting. The argyle Christmas sock takes more concentration, but is also coming along:
Kira asked earlier if this sock was being knitted in the round. No, it’s actually knitted flat and then seamed together, as you might be able to see in this photo:
August is upon us which means it is time for the final swap of the One Skein Exchange. This one is to be a completed project that used only a single skein. I choose Debbie Bliss Aran Cashmerino. I know that my pal loves Baby Cashmerino, so she aught to like this too.
Her package includes a pair of super-soft fingerless gloves (pattern from Knitty), a travel mug, some cute pyramid shaped tea in silk bags, some biscuits, and some extra yarn.
I envision her sitting out on her porch/deck this fall with warm wrists, sipping tea and knitting up a hat to match her new gloves. I hope this sounds appealing to her!
For those of you who enjoy making your own patterns or if you have a written pattern with no chart, this Chart Creator tool could change your life.
It looks like the text must be pretty basic (k k k k instead of k4). You will likely need to edit any pattern you wish to chart with this tool. It just might be worth the effort, though!