Eyes Bigger Than My Needles

November 9, 2007 at 12:27 pm (Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress, Yarn)

Knitting daydreams are a wonderful thing. I can spend hours upon hours thinking about a project, picking out the perfect yarn, pricing it and (this is my favorite part) adding it to a list. But the problem is, a lot of these “knitting dreams” never actually make it on to my needles. I lose interest, either due to seeing 5,000 different versions, my tastes change or something else catches my fancy. It’s not really a problem – I get a lot of enjoyment out of imagining all the things my needles and yarn can do, it’s just interesting to see which patterns are actually made and  even make it out of the house on my person.

I guess the reason I’m thinking about this is that my Ravelry queue has grown to immense proportions. I’ve listed somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 projects I’d like to make. 140 projects!! Considering I usually finish (and by finish I mean, seamed, blocked, signed, sealed, delivered, ohyeah) around 14-16 projects a year, it would take me about 10 years to finish these. Unless I no longer have to work, eat or sleep and can knit 24-hours-a-day. While a tempting thought, this is not likely. So let’s take a gander at just the top 15 projects in my queue:

  1. Ester Shrug in Cascade 220, Lake Chelan Heather
  2. Mermaid Fingerless Gloves, Socks That Rock Lightweight, Corvid
  3. Top-down Boatneck Sweater (own design), Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Smoke
  4. Modified-to-Suit-Winter-Wear Green Gable, Elann Peruvian Alpaca, Thistle
  5. Danica, Noro Silk Garden, #269
  6. Sideways Spencer, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Blue Ink
  7. Kiri Shawl, Jaggerspun Zephyr, White
  8. Gathered Pullover, Elann Pure Alpaca Fina, Loganberry
  9. Spiral Boot Socks, Reynolds Sea Wool, Purple
  10. A Cardigan for Arwen, Elann Highland Wool, Oatmeal Heather
  11. Chevalier Mittens, Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, Elderberry
  12. Arm Warmers, Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight, Eggplant and Natural Dark Grey
  13. Swatch Bangles, Scrap Yarn
  14. Trapeze Jacket, Classic Elite Classic 150, Ivy
  15. Juno Regina Shawl, Handpaintedyarn.com, Cuarzo Verde

Crazy right? And I only have yarn for three of these projects: the Ester shrug, Kiri and A Cardigan for Arwen. I’ll have to check back in February or March to see which two or three of these have actualy been made.

So what’s holding up  progress on my selfish knitting dreams? Why Christmas knitting, of course. As I’ve said before, I’m only planning on three items for this year, shawls for my two sisters and mother. I’m almost done with the Swallowtail shawl for one sister, however I’ve hit a roadblock. Instead of knitting 14 repeats of the bud lace chart, I’ve knit 15. So now I can either tink back 6 rows (which is undoing close to 700 stitches), or I can forge on and knit four more repeats to go the next size up on the shawl, a la Pepperknit. But I’m not sure if I have enough yarn. So this is on hold until I can bring myself to tink or take a risk. Any opionions on what I should do? I only have three hanks of the yarn I’m using, Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk, which is about 500 yards total. Should I risk the larger size?

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
In the meantime, I’m working on my other sister’s Clapotis, which I’m knitting up in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a gorgeous rust shade. I’m really enjoying this one, which is unexpected, given all I’ve heard about the stockinette hell that is the Clap. To each her own, I guess.

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Summertime, and the Knitting’s Easy . . .

July 8, 2007 at 10:59 am (Inspiration, knitting, reading, Work in Progress)

So my summer has been extremely busy, but never fear, there has been knitting. I finished the back of the Prairie Tunic, and then dove into the ribbing on the ubiquitous Circular Shrug because I needed a break from the fingering weight cotton. Ow, my hands. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the two projects ever since.
Prairie Tunic

I’m a bit obsessed with the Prairie Tunic though; it’s tickling both my “process” and “gotta have it” knitter halves of my brain, so despite the pain, I can’t keep my mitts off of it.

Circular Shrug

But the Circular Shrug is my “easy on the brains,” soothing knit, so it’s coming along at a nice pace.

Causing me to rearrange my knitting queue yet again has been the lovely Fitted Knits, which my dear husband surprised me with last week (I think he got it to feel better about his own Amazon purchase, but I’m not looking this gift horse in the mouth!) I think I may want to make everything in this book, save maybe the dress and suit at the end. The patterns are all so wearable, and knittable to boot. Since it is summer knitting time though, I think I may want to try the Coquette Lace tube top first, especially after seeing Carrie’s adorable version.

I must be on a tube top kick or something, but I’ve also been casing yarns for the Tube Toporini. I’d like a relatively simple knit to follow up the Prairie Tunic—a quick hit if you will. I’m thinking either Blue Sky Organic Cotton in Bone or Knit Picks Shine Worsted. Any thoughts on a good, firm worsted weight cotton for this pretty little knit?

Can’t think about the next knits too much though, I’m scrupulously avoiding casting anything else on right now—I really want to get these ones done in time to wear it out this summer. This has taken some considerable strength, especially considering that Webs has Debbie Bliss Cathay for about $3 a ball and I’m itching to cast on Knitting School Dropout‘s Leaf T-shirt, and that reclaimed Blue Sky Alpaca Silk is just dying to become a Luna Moth Shawl. Dying. And let’s not even think about the temptation wave I’m hit with every time I pick up Fitted Knits. Must. Stick. to. Plan.

The fact is, I don’t have much time to spare this summer. You see, lately I’ve been dipping into the well of a previous obsession—reading. Before I learned to knit, I was a voracious reader, consuming about four or five books a month, on average. Knitting has slowed this ingestion down to mere bites here and there. I keep an ongoing reading list for the year, much like my knitting project list, that lists books I’ve read, books I own and have not read and books I’d like to purchase/borrow from the library. I’m shocked and appalled to note that I’ve only read four books this year. Yikes.

But I’ve been bitten by the reading bug once again this summer, and it’s a good time to scratch the resulting itch. There are a lot of great books out right now. But of course I had to make a list. Let’s see how far I get . . .

Lost Hearts in Italy, Andrea Lee

Birds Without Wings, Louis De Bernieres

Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

The Last Town on Earth, Thomas Mullen

What are you reading this summer?


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Goldi-Knits

June 16, 2007 at 12:10 pm (Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress)

Or, How I Learned to Stop Casting On and Love the Prairie Tunic

I have cast on not one, not two, but three new projects this week. Only has survived. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Cast On #1: Lace Nightie

I’m usually pretty disciplined about my gauge swatches, but this time I did one of those “knit three or four rows and fudge it” maneuvers. Needless to say, once I’d finished the first pattern repeat, I had enough lace nightie to fit around my hips twice. It’s not pretty, but you’ll have to take my word for it. I’ll spare you the photo evidence. To the frog pond!

Cast On #2: Circular Shrug

Swatch for Circular Shrug

I’m aware that everyone made this two years ago. I sill want one. But right now? Meh. I just really don’t feel like knitting this. And you know why? I got distracted by the . . .

Cast On #3: Prairie Tunic

Oh my. That feels right.

Prairie Tunic WIP

Is it just me or are Rowan colors just the prettiest?I always balk at the price, but when I do spring for it, I’m just blown away. And I have to say that this pattern is just the perfect combination of interesting and easy-to-memorize and knit in front of the TV.

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Saturday Anew

May 5, 2007 at 10:41 am (Finishing, Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress, Yarn)

Not much to tell, but plenty to show on this bright Saturday morning.

Blocking

Razor  Cami Blocking

As you can see by the absence of straps, I did indeed run out of yarn. However, I bought some navy blue ribbon yesterday, and I’m going to make straps out of that. I’m not the world’s best sewer, but I’m hoping that it works. We shall see.

Casting On

Tivoli Progress

I’ve cast on for the Tivoli in Ink Blue Sky Dyed Cotton. This yarn has been in my stash for about a year. It was originally purchased for the Chevron Rib Tank, but after reading some poor reviews of that pattern I used it to make about half of the Blue Sky Fitted Tank. I got gauge with Size 9 needles per the pattern directions, but I really didn’t like the fabric it created. This time, I’m using Size 8 needles, and the fabric is loverly. I did, however, have to completely rewrite the pattern, since Dyed Cotton has a worsted gauge and the pattern calls for a sport/DK gauge. It fits so far, but we’ll see how it goes.

Inspiration

I came home to find my Summer 2007 Interweave in the mailbox. I’ve already devoured it, of course, and I think there are at least two patterns are my most likely to succeed. So pretty.

I’ve also been ogling some yarns to create this:

I’d like to try the Karabella Zodiac that the pattern calls for, but the price is a little steep. So I’m also thinking about Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Wolverine Blue and Elann Sonata in French Navy. Any other suggestions for a reasonably priced yarn sub? I really don’t think I can stomach $40 for a tank top, lovely as it may be. Especially since I’m likely to purchase some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk today to start the Clementine Shawlette. Alpaca Silk is probably my favorite yarn, and I think this shawl would be a perfect birthday gift for my sister. I have to get it started soon though, as her birthday is coming up fast—June 3.

Mexico

And finally, I picked this up yesterday at the Post Office. I have to say, it was not fun to compare the current passport photo with the one from 10 years ago. I’ll just have to remain focused on all the wisdom I’ve acquired, even if it has been accompanied by roughly 15 pounds and less resilient skin!

Passport

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A Dispatch from Sleeve Island

January 13, 2007 at 11:12 am (Inspiration, Work in Progress)

So I tried to post earlier this week, but WordPress went insane and I was unable to edit my post, which had gotten inexlicably screwed up once I posted it. After much whining and many expletives, I just deleted the thing, taking Karin‘s nice comment with it. Sorry Karin!

Anyhoo, I’m still knitting away on the Hourglass sleeve, and it’s taking forever. But at least I’m a little more into the zen aspect then I was earlier this week. I actually only have about 5 more inches before I can start the next one. I’m really kind impressed at how faithful I’ve remained to this project.

Hourglass Sleeve

It’s actually much longer than this now. Yay for progress!

I haven’t been entirely faithful though . . .

Beginning of Cable Scarf

I’ve been playing with a chunky cable scarf pattern too, kind of a cross between a scarf I saw in the Lion Brand catalog and one that I believe is from the Knit Cafe. It’s in some KFI Cashmerino Chunky, an impulse buy that’s been marinating in the stash for a while. We’ll see how it goes.

Have you seen the new Vogue Knitting? Yes? Well have you seen this fantastic knit pattern?

Vogue Sweater

I think I just drooled on my keyboard a bit. 

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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. 🙂 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—one 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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Another Peaceful Saturday Morning

November 25, 2006 at 11:28 pm (Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress)

I spent my precious Saturday morning with a lovely companion . . .


Trellis Scarf in Progress

I settled in with the Trellis Scarf, a cup of very strong coffee and Oliver, and away I went. It was a little awkward at first, as I’m not accustomed to laceweight. But I had the yarn in my stash and I’ve wanted a lacey scarf for some time now. The dreaded K7tog to five st decrease was actually not that bad. I made sure to purl the row before it very loosely and it went just fine, even on Clover bamboo needles. I may make my life easier and sharpen my needle tips, I think it would make the laceweight that much easier to handle.

I finally signed up for my library card this week and picked up some gems. Rochester has a great library system, and it’s searchable online. Plus I’m pretty particular about the knitting books I buy–both the budget and the fact that we have so many books that most of them live in boxes in the attic preclude too many knit book purchases. It’s ok, I’d rather check them out of the library and spend my money on yarn!

Books
Unfortunately they didn’t have EZ’s Knitting Without Tears when I went, but luckily my dear husband found it at one of the branches this morning. I’ll have excellent reading all week now. I think I see a Ganomy hat and mitred mittens in my future . . .

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Strange Designs

November 17, 2006 at 3:14 pm (Inspiration, knitting)

Do you find that knitting makes you consider wearing things that you wouldn’t otherwise? I normally dress very plainly—jeans and a black sweater or t-shirt mainly. The knitting certainly steers me away from my black top comfort zone, mostly because it is pretty uninspiring to knit in black, and because it could possibly ruin my already feeble eyesight. It also encourages me to try different constructions, assymetrical sillouettes and patterned stitches. I mean, seriously, would any of us ever worn a shrug if they weren’t so easy and fun to knit? A lace triangle shawl? Legwarmers? Anyone?

I was checking out the spring preview for Knitscene (which, why is there a Spring preview out before Christmas?) and I noticed this little number.

Orbit Lace Top

I would probably never have picked this out if I weren’t a knitter, but I really, really like this and it looks like it would be interesting to make. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, per se, but it’s strapless and tunic-length. Not what I normally wear or even pick up to try on in a store. I’d probably put on some straps and do it in another color, but don’t you think this would look great in the summer over a tank top with a black pencil skirt? Or over an A-shirt with jeans and flip flops even.

I guess what the knitting does is expose us to designers with a view that is certainly different than those designers that Banana Republic, Gap and the like employ. That’s not to say I’ve never shopped at those stores or that there is anything wrong with them. I’m just saying that as fashion becomes increasingly homogenous, it’s nice to be able to make something one of a kind that was dreamed up by a designer that doesn’t have to think about appeasing the majority of the population. Knitting gives us an in with fresh design without haute couture prices. And that makes me really happy. Even if that means I end up knitting tube tops and legwarmers from time to time.

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On Knitting for the Wee Ones

October 19, 2006 at 3:53 pm (Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress)

So I’m cruising through the Debbie Bliss V-Neck Cardigan. I’ve finished the back and one of the front panels and should be able to wrap up the rest of it by this weekend (hopefully). Although, once I’ve finished the parts I have to seam it (yikes) and pick up stitches for the ribbed collar (bigger yikes), two things I’ve never done.

 V-NeckCard Halfway

Here’s my uber-exiting progress shot, since I’m about halfway through.

I’m finding that I’m really enjoying the baby knitting—it goes so fast. And let’s face it—baby knits are just damn cute. Since I do have the most adorable niece in the world (of course I’m not partial or anything) I’ve scouted out some patterns for future birthdays/landmark occasions. I’m assuming that not everyone is obsessive enough to have looked at every single pattern in the Knitty archive, but lucky for those baby knitters out there, I am. Knitty has a treasury of cute patterns, I must say. My favorites:

anouk

Ok, how freakin’ cute is that. It’s Anouk by Kate Gilbert. It includes directions on how to do the little pockets with duplicate stitch or intarsia, if you’re feeling spicy.

Trellis

Trellis by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff. This would be nice in Knitpicks Main Line, which I’ve found to be a great sub for Rowan Wool Cotton (I’m using it on my Sesame, which is on hold until the X-Mas knitting is done—if I can restrain myself). What a great way to attempt aran knitting in a much less intimidating size.

And finally, if you have a hankering for picots . . .

missdashwoodalt.jpg

This is just a beautiful baby, first of all. I’m not one of those women whose uterus is ticking (not that there is anything wrong with that) and I totally want to snuggle this one. Back on subject, this is Miss Dashwood by Heather Ramsay. This is a definite must knit for my niece, although the picots scare me a bit.

So that’s it. I’m so glad it’s Thursday and the week is winding down. Hopefully I’ll be able to clean up our craft room a bit to make room for some blocking action. Then I’ll actually be able to show you my Flower Petal Shawl and Ropes and Cables Scarf, which are done, I swear, they just need finishing.

Oh, and thanks so much to those people who have commented. The comments you receive make blogging so enjoyable—you put yourself out there for the world (at least the knitting corner of the world) to see, and you’re rewarded with such encouragement and warmth. It just makes my day.

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Love.

October 15, 2006 at 7:38 pm (Inspiration, knitting)

The preview for the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits is up, and I’m in love.
Enid Cardigan
design by Véronik Avery
Yarn: Reynolds Whiskey (100% wool; 195 yd [178 m]/50 g): #59 charcoal (MC), 6 (7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 11) balls; #53 teal, #98 lavender, #103 green, #86 raspberry, #16 burgundy, and #4 light blue, 1 ball each. Yarn distributed by JCA.

Must add this to my already long list of potential future projects . . . sigh.

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