The Good Part

December 21, 2006 at 1:43 pm (knitting, oliver, Work in Progress)

So the Christmas knitting has been completed, wrapped and presented to happy recipients. Now I get to really sit back and enjoy the holiday season, and enjoy my long-languishing selfish knitting. Matt and I will be setting off tomorrow on our long drive to Atlanta’s vast urban sprawl to visit his family. Oliver will be spending the holiday week at doggy sleep-away camp. (We found a truly lovely, rural facility that lets the dogs play and romp together several times a day. I hope he wants to come home!) I don’t know what my Internet accessibility will be over the next week, but I don’t anticipate too much posting.

I did want to show you what has been keeping my fingers busy for the last week, the Lace Leaf Shawl. I started it last Thursday night, while in active procrastination mode and avoiding baby-sweater-seaming duties like a champ. I’m already almost done! Seven repeats down and I think I’ll add three more; I want this to be relatively big. May I add, I love this pattern. I just can’t stop knitting it. Isn’t it great when that happens?

Lace Leaf Shawl Progress

I haven’t packed for our trip yet, but I already know what knitting I’m going to bring. Hell, I planned that weeks ago, daydreaming of knitting freedom in the midst of the Christmas-knitting workload. In addition to the Lace Leaf Shawl, I’m hoping to finish the Log Cabin Socks and make some good progress on the Trellis Scarf and Sesame, my main squeezes at the moment. Of course I’ll probably end up bringing the materials for the Swallowtail Shawl and some Jaywalkers, so we’ll see how much work gets done on the WIPs ūüôā Oh, and let’s not forget the Broad Street Mittens. I’m going to need a separate suitcase for just my yarn! Oh how my husband will mock me! But whatever, it’s my vacation and I’m going to knit what I want to. In other knitting news, I frogged my Koigu sock whose heel turning I rejoiced in so thoroughly. I started decreasing for the toe too soon, and soon came to the conclusion that I was going to run out of yarn anyway. Besides the join is uneven and I just think I’d rather find a pretty pattern to do the yarn some justice. Maybe Pomotomous or Monkey? We’ll see.

So maybe I’ll talk to you next week, maybe not, but until whenever I leave you with this picture of my dear Ollie, meeting the Christmas Labrador Retriever bobble-head that my sister gave me. He’s obsessed with it, but who can blame him! (Note the blurry wagging tail, and please ignore the coffee stain on our rug ;).

Ollie Meets Bobblehead Lab

Hope you have a wonderful holiday, whichever one you celebrate!

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I’m Baby-Steppin’, I’m Doing the Work

December 18, 2006 at 10:39 am (FO, knitting)

Baby V-Neck Cardigan

Pattern: Contrast Rib V-Neck Sweater (without the contrast rib, of course)
Source: Baby Knits for Beginners, Debbie Bliss

Materials: Sirdar Snuggly DK (Nylon/Acrylic Blend) in Pearly Green, 2 skeins; Clover Bamboo Single Points, Size 5 and 6
Started: October 14, 2006
Completed: October 22, 2006 (for knitting); December 16, 2006 (for seaming)

Can you say procrastination? I finished the knitting on this in about a week, yet waited almost two months to seam it! This is my official first sweater, and I thought it might be a good idea to start with some, well,¬† baby steps (har har). As it turns out, I actually like seaming! Go figure. Once I understood the concept, and was able to see which loops I was supposed to be threading the yarn through, it was easy, albeit time consuming. On the other hand, picking up stitches and knitting on the neckband, yeah, I didn’t enjoy that so much. One shouldn’t be allowed to swear as much as I did when lovingly creating a sweater for one’s baby niece. It’s all about the ratios, and I wasn’t feeling the maths on Saturday. So band turned out a bit wonky.

I followed the pattern with the exception of omitting the contrast color for the ribbing. It probably would be a bit more jazzy had I done the contrast color, but I was committed to using yarn from my stash. In the end I decided to jazz it up a bit with some cute buttons I got at my wonderful, wonderful LYS.

I have to say, I would not have been able to do this with the instructions provided in Baby Knits for Beginners. I relied heavily on the Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancy Wiseman. This book is awesome. It’s incredibly clear, and most of all, it works! I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who is new to sweater construction, or who would like to brush up on their finishing techniques.

I spent about nine hours seaming this up and knitting on the neckband on Saturday, no joke. Next time I seam, I’m going to have to spread it out a bit! But the sweater was definitely a hit when I gave it my sister and brother-in-law. And I can’t wait to see it on my niece. I’m already planning the next sweater for her, maybe the Pea Pod Sweater from Interweave, or the Baby Yoda Sweater from Dogs Steal Yarn (check out Sknitty’s great version) or the previously mentioned Trellisfrom Knitty. My niece is going to be a stylish little lady . . .

(Sorry about the dark image, the weather was pretty dreary all weekend, and I didn’t have time to wait for sunlight before this was given away! Trust me, the color is more pearly green than grey! Oh, and bonus points if anyone can name the movie that this post’s title references :))

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Caution, Elf at Work

December 16, 2006 at 6:29 pm (Finishing, FO, knitting)

Xmas FOs

3 Hats a-Blocking

2 Scarves a-waiting (for wrapping)

1 Baby Sweater a-seaming

And a very tired knitter . . .

(And, I FINALLY blocked the Flower Petal Shawl, I’ll have pictures later on once I’ve recovered from finishing my Christmas knits!)

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Brought to You by the Letters “F” and “O”

December 14, 2006 at 9:57 am (FO, Work in Progress, Yarn)

 Irish Hiking Scarf Finished

Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf 
Source: Hello Yarn
Materials: Debbie Bliss Merino DK (100% Merino Wool) in #46, 2.5 skeins; Brittany Birch SPs, Size 7
Started: October 22, 2006
Completed: December 12, 2006

Dimensions: 6″ x 62″
I previously referred to this as “the scarf that ate time.” And yes, it’s true, at times I found its knitting a bit tedious. But sometime last week I hit my groove with it, and after that it practically knit itself. And really, once it’s blocked, it’s just such a gorgeous scarf‚ÄĒsimple and elegant. I may make one of these for myself at some point, but in a worsted or aran weight, perhaps the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran like Lisa did. (Doesn’t her version look amazing? I’m in love with it.) This is a Christmas gift for my Dad, who is into all things Irish. He’s interested in his heritage and researching our family’s geneology, plus he just went to Ireland for the first time this year.¬†I thought this aptly named scarf in green would be perfect for him. I made¬†it in a lighter weight wool because he’s not a bulky scarf kind of guy. I¬†also intended to make this a shorter length, about 45-50″ inches, but it grew like crazy when I blocked it. Oh well. The yarn is nice, but for some reason I was kind of meh about it while making the scarf.¬†Once¬†I blocked¬†it though I began to think¬†that it’s a keeper.¬†It’s really soft and wonderful. ¬†I have a ball and a half left over, so I may buy a contrasting color and make Corazon from Knitty. We’ll see if I ever get around to that! Here’s a blocking shot, which I’ll admit is completely gratuitous‚ÄĒI¬†really want to show off my new blocking board, a gift from my husband (his name is Matt, I’m getting tired of the “my husband” since I tend to talk about him a lot). Christmas came early for me this year. Yay!

Blocking IHS

In other knitting news,¬†I’ve become¬†addicted to the Log Cabin Socks. I’m about to turn the heel, what a quick knit! I love the Rowan Cork, and I’m so sad it’s discontinued. A sweater in this yarn would be a thing of comfy, squishy softness. For shame Rowan!

Log Cabin Progress

I finally gave the Ropes and Ladders Scarf to my sister for her birthday on Sunday and she loved it. It was a nice reminder of how special you can make someone feel with¬†a handknit gift. Quite timely considering all the Christmas knitting I’ve been doing in the last few months, while admittedly pining away for the post-Christmas selfish knitting!

Muppet Present

I tried to¬†wrap it Last Minute Knitted Gifts-style by using nice scrap yarn in lieu of ribbon. I¬†attempted to make a pompom instead of a bow, but in my opinion, it looks more like a muppet head, don’t you think? Better luck next time I suppose.

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My Kind of Christmas Shopping

December 10, 2006 at 12:17 pm (knitting, stash, Yarn)

The little elves have been plenty busy here at Casa Flower City Knits, finishing up scarves, hats and baby sweaters. While the finishing touches are still being made on holiday knits, I’ve managed to sneak in some stash enhancement while doing my holiday shopping. Just a few little things, you know . . .

Dale of Norway Hauk

The Dale of Norway Hauk for the Broad Street Mittens from Knitty that I mentioned in a previous post. I ordered this from Webs, not realizing that my LYS actually carries it, and at a lower price. Whoops! This is actually pretty nice yarn, and it’s softer than I thought it would be.

Rowan Cork

Some Rowan Cork that I found in the clearance bin at my LYS. Score! I absolutely love this yarn. It has a tubular construction, which makes it really soft and lofty. I can’t wait to finish the Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays that it will become. As you can see, I also couldn’t wait to start them. ūüôā

Jaggerspun Zephyr

Jaggerspun Zephyr for the Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits. I’m not planning on starting this for a bit, as I already have Trellis on the needles and the Lace Leaf Shawl waiting in the wings, but I’d like to have it done for a wedding I’m attending in May.

Lana Grossa Mielenweit Fun

This was a total impulse purchase–I now understand how knitters amass huge stashes of sock yarn. I think I’ll make some Jaywalkers out of this at some point. It’s Lana Grossa Mielenweit Fun.

So there you have it–plenty to keep my fingers busy through the winter. And I’m officially on a yarn diet now. My bin o’ yarn is full, and almost all of my skeins are for specific projects. Now I just have to focus, and get them knitted. I’ve kind of been all over the place with my knitlist. Time to whittle down those WIPs and about-to-be WIPs. A wealth of projects is a good problem to have though, and I’ll be able to get some serious work done over the Christmas holiday. I have two 18-hour car rides to look forward to and a week and a half without work–great knitting potential!!

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Sweater Weather

December 5, 2006 at 9:59 am (Inspiration, knitting, Yarn)

Upstate New York is serving up some¬†seriously cold weather right now.¬†Although I’m still wrapping up my Christmas knitting, I’m finding myself daydreaming of future sweaters for which I’d love to cast on. I’m¬† in the middle of my first sweater right now, ¬†to be completed post-Xmas knitting, but a girl can have dreams, right? ¬†I’ll level with you, I spend a good amount of time thinking about projects that I’d like to try and¬†finding the yarns with¬†which I’d like to make them. It’s a fun pastime when you’ve got some downtime and a ready internet connection. ūüôā The planning also really gives me a chance to explore the yarn options that are out there and find the best ones for me at the best price for my budget. I’m knitting on a fairly strict budget. When I started knitting, I ended up spending a lot of my hard-to-come-by yarn money on beautiful yarn‚ÄĒone skein at a time.¬†So it¬†sits in my craft room unused, simply because I don’t have enough of it¬†to really make anything¬†(note: must purchase One Skein and stash bust!). But I’ve changed my ways. I’m much more project focused now. I choose the project first, and then buy the yarn.¬†So here’s a peak¬†at my knitdreams for post-Christmas selfish knitting. Don’t hold me to this though, I change up the list all the time!

Central Park Hoodie (by Heather Lodinsky, Knitscene, Fall 2006)

 central-park-hoodie.jpg

I know, this one¬†comes with one hell of a bandwagon, but I just love it. Well, I love all hoodies, but this one in particular. And, I think it will make a fantastic second project. Peace Fleece in Kamchatka Sea Moss makes me swoon a little everytime I look at it. Plus it’s got just the right gauge for the project.

Ribby Cardi (by Bonne Marie Burnes, Chicknits)

Ribby Cardi 

Eeesh, I’m so unoriginal. But I’d wear it. A lot. Especially if I make it in the Elann Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in Calypso Green.

Lace Leaf Pullover (by Teva Durham, Loop D Loop)

 Lace Leaf Pullover

A little more challenging, what with the grafting, and not a cardigan, so I’m in. I’d like it in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Pewter, please.

Lara (by Debbie Bliss, Alpaca Silk)

 Lara

I’ve wanted to make this for a while in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Lake Ice Heather. Perfect weekend sweater with jeans and a grey tank top.

 Hourglass (by Joelle Hoverson, Last Minute Knitted Gifts)

Hourglass 

A good intro to yoked sweaters, thus opening the door to most of the patterns I like in Norah Gaughn’s Knitting Nature. And I have 12 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in plum in my stash right now that are dying to become this.

Shawl Collar Jacket (by Alexandra Virgiel, Artisokka)

 Shawl Collar

I really like Alexandra Virgiel’s patterns, they’re simply constructed, elegant and¬†classic with¬†interesting details. I’d like to make this in the suggested yarn, Beaverslide Goods Fisherman, about which I’ve heard great things.

And in the “only after given a sizable gift certificate” category, I’d also love to make the Greek Pullover from Interweave in the called-for Rowan Kid Classic in one of ¬†their new colors, peat. I saw this color in person the other day, and I’m in love with it.

Whoo! I’m exausted after all that speculation. Back to the Christmas knitting. I received my Dale of Norway Hauk I ordered from Webs, more on that in the next post.

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Eight Is Enough?

December 1, 2006 at 4:11 pm (Blogroll, FO, knitting)

Basic Cable

Yay, I wrapped up the Basic Cable, a Christmas present for one of my sisters, last night.
Pattern: Basic Cable
Source: Stitch N Bitch Nation, Debbie Stoller

Materials: Paton’s Classic Merino Wool (100% Merino Wool) in Natural Mix, 1skein; Susan Bates 16″ Circulars, Size 6; Inox 16″ Circulars, Size 7, Brittany Birch DPNs, Size 7
Started: November 22, 2006
Completed: November 30, 2006

I added about three extra cable repeats and started decreasing after I had about 6.5 inches so that my sister can pull this down over her ears.
I like it, it’s a simple pattern, the yarn is soft. All very basic. It was also incredibly fast to knit. I think it took me a total of about four or five hours. I’d like to make a plain cable hat for me, but when I do, I think I’ll try the Winter Femme. While I don’t think my sister will notice, I won’t be able to live with the bottom ribbing not matching up with the cables.¬†

So when I was updating my Flickr account last night, I noticed that I have made EIGHT hats since the end of the summer. No wonder I’m hat-fatigued. Unfortunately, I know I’m going to end up casting on for one with some Nashua Creative Focus Worsted that’s been burning a hole in my knitting basket. I love that stuff, and it would make a perfect hat. Plus, I only have one ball, what else am I going to make with it? I’m also itching to cast on for Shedir with some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, also in the stash. Maybe after the new year I’ll be more hat-refreshed. Oh, and if you’re counting, that’s four Christmas presents down, two to go! Yay!

One more thing,¬† I had some time at lunch and went blog-trolling. There’s a lot of great newer blogs out there, I’ve added a few new ones to my blogroll. Check ’em out!

(Sorry for the choppiness of the writing–I’ve been writing really technical stuff¬†all week and I think I’m a bit worn out!)

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