Time in a Bottle

October 7, 2008 at 9:23 am (Finishing, FO, knitting, Work in Progress)

Hourglass Pullover
Hourglass Sweater
Pattern: Hourglass Pullover by Joelle Hoverson
Source: Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Materials: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (55% Merino Wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere) in Plum, 11 skeins; Size 8 24″ circs, Size 8 DPNs
Started: December 2006
Completed: October 2008

I finally finished this. I repeat, I finally finished this. And I love it. Why, oh why did I wait so long!

Primary knitting on this lovely pullover was actually completed back in February 2007. But due to the extensive hem knitting that I apparently wanted no part of, this languished in my knitting basket for a year and a half. Cut to a new me, a new season, and a very refreshing finishing spree, and I decided, “Hey! I don’t have to do the hems! I should just knit a new border on this and be done with it.” And a new sweater was born.

As for modifications, we have the aforementioned seed stitch borders, and I also did matching decreases. The pattern calls for just a bar increase in the body and k2tog decreases in the sleeve. I did a lifted increase to make it a bit more seamless and matching k2tog, ssk decreases in the sleeve. It fits perfectly and the yarn is so very soft. I’ve heard some mixed reviews about the pilling factor in this particular Debbie Bliss yarn, but I guess I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

In other news, I’ve finished another clapotis in Noro Silk Garden; I’ll do a full FO post when I finally have a picture worthy of its inate loveliness. I’m also well on my way toward finishing the 28Thirty (just one sleeve to go) and I’ve cast on a new set of Dashings in Berocco Ultra Alpaca to replace my favorite fingerless mitts which were tragically lost in a drinking related incident last year. (sob!)

Here’s a sneak peak for you…
ClapotisDashing

Hope everyone is enjoying the crisp, cool fall weather, and busting out their handknits to keep them warm as we head into my favorite time of year…

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A Gal with a Plan

February 2, 2008 at 3:56 pm (knitting, Work in Progress)

Yeesh I was a crab in my last post. Remind me not to post on Saturday mornings before finishing my first cup of coffee! I should always delay at least until the afternoon.

Anywhoo, I realized last week that the reason I’m a little discouraged knitting-wise right now is because I’ve once again let my WIPs build up. I don’t mind having a lot of things on the needles at once; I’m most certainly not a project knitter. I believe that this is my hobby, so I’ll knit what I want to, you know? But I still start feeling overwhelmed when I have too much going. And what better way to fight off the winter blues than with a little FO high, right? So with that in mind I’ve set out to make some progress on the two worst offenders in my WIP pile.

Broad Street Mittens
WIP Broad Street Mittens

Every time my husband sees me knitting something new, he says, “How are my gloves coming along honey?” Yeah. it’s a good thing I don’t find that annoying. At all. So yesterday, I sat down and knit the whole hand and most of the fingers on the second glove. This one really needs to be knocked off the list, since according to my records I cast on for this in January 2007. Yeah, you heard me right: 2007. Yikes.

Circular Shrug
WIP Circular Shrug

The problem here is that I really don’t enjoy the yarn (Caron Simply Soft – I was stashbusting) and the mock rib is reeeeeeeeelly boring. But I really want this one for my wardrobe. (Note: I won’t be picking out projects solely on this merit again.) I finished off the mock ribbing last night, so now I just have the five inches of 2X2 to finish, and then seaming. And while it’s boring, it was certainly nice to work on something I didn’t really have to pay attention to while watching Lost Thursday night.

Once these two are off the list, I’ll be able to turn back to my 28Thirty again. I’m just about done with the body, but I think I may knit the sleeves first and then see how long I can get the body with the amount of yarn I have. Here’s a little peak:
WIP 28thirty

And here’s a peak at the “travel” knit I’ve got going:

WIP Le Slouch #3

Another Le Slouch in Rowan Kid Classic, Smoke for my sister and a co-worker.

And finally, Punxsutawney Phil is a jerk. But Happy Groundhog’s Day anyway!

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Wolf Dressed in Alpaca & Silk

December 12, 2007 at 4:31 pm (knitting, Work in Progress)

Swallowtail

Don’t be fooled by this innocuous looking shawl. I know it looks pretty and soft. But, like the Sirens, it lulls you into complacency with its easy bud lace pattern only to smash you into pieces with its evil little nupps.

So maybe it’s not that bad, but I’ve got to tell you, I’ve had enough of the shawl knitting. I have to get this done this week, if only to maintain my already weak grip on sanity. No…more…lace….

So, sadly, it’s look as if I’m going to have to give up the ghost on my mother’s Arctic Lace stole. If I really pushed myself, I might be able to get it done in a week but I really just don’t think I have it in me. Plus, I’m thinking it’s going to be on the short side. Sigh…

Luckily, when I was home on Sunday for my sister’s birthday my mother made a big fuss about my Gretel slouchy hat, and then bemoaned the recent hat and scarf purchase she had made. That planted the seed of abandoning the stole for something a bit more practical—a hat. If I have time, I’ll whip up a neck gaiter too. I can finish the stole for Mother’s Day, which eases any guilt I may feel.

I’m deciding between Le Slouch, Slouchy Copy Hat, Mary Jane’s Pithy Hat, and the Last Minute Purled Beret. They’re all fairly similar patterns, so it may very well be an amalgam of all of them. For the gaiter, I’m thinking Cherry Garcia, Tudora, or Kim’s Cashmere Neckwarmer. Hell, I may even just make something up. A simple knitted tube can’t be all that hard, can it? (Said the tired, crazy-eyed Christmas knitter as she picked up her pointy sticks.)

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Oh Sh%&!

December 8, 2007 at 11:09 am (FO, knitting, Work in Progress)

Has anyone else noticed that Christmas is in 17 short days? Is that fact making anyone else break out into cold sweats?

Yeesh – How did I manage to do this to myself this year? Three shawls did not seem like an overwhelming undertaking back in late September. While I’ve finished Clapotis for my one sister, I still need to do the border lace (including nupps) on my other sister’s shawl, and I may or may not have enough yarn to finish the remaining 2/3 of my mother’s Arctic Lace Stole. This may be a short post, my fingers are needed elsewhere!

ClapotisWIP SwallowtailArctic Lace Stole

Maybe the problem is that in between stuffing my face with the closest food item over Thanksgiving I decided to knit Calorimetry and finish my Gretel slouchy hat. I know, I lack focus and direction.

Gretel

Gretel

Pattern: Gretel
Source: Ysolda

Materials: Cascade 220 (100% wool) in brown, 1 hank; Size 5 & 7 24″ circs, Size 7 DPNs
Started: Late October 2007
Completed: November 22, 2007

It’s so cute, it may just be worth the stress it’s caused me, since I sacrificed Christmas knitting time to finish it. I didn’t do the tubular cast-on, mainly because I’m lazy and mostly because the directions made my eyes go googly—I did the regular long tail. I like it, but I think I need to block it again, because it’s just not slouchy enough. The cable pattern is just gorgeous though, and it was a lot of fun to knit.

Carolimetry

Calorimetry

Pattern: Calorimetry
Source: Knitty

Materials: Filatura di Crosa 127 Print (100% wool) in brown, 1 hank; Size 8 24″ Circulars
Started: November 18, 2007
Completed: November 18, 2007

This took about a day to knit. But now I’m kind of wishing I’d picked a more neutral color, since it’s a little loud. Oh well. Also, if I ever make one of these again, I’ll go down a size and to make a denser fabric. It’s really stretchy, and a little bit too big. Still have to add a button too. *sigh*

In other news, I finally made it to my local knit night last week. Not surprisingly at all, I had a wonderful time. The lovely Jenna found me on Ravelry and invited me to come, which was just the push I needed. Everyone was so warm and nice, and I can’t tell you how great it is to sit at a table of women who are just as nerdily obsessed with the same craft as you are. Nerdily in a good way, of course. Yay fun!

And one last thing. Just as soon as all this Christmas lace knitting is done, I’m casting on for Dahlia in the new Knitty. So cute, and I have the exact yarn in the exact amount called for in the pattern in just the right color, just sitting in my stash waiting to be used up. Serendipity!

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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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You Done Good, LB?

August 26, 2007 at 9:15 am (Finishing, knitting, stash, Work in Progress, Yarn)

We interrupt regularly scheduled knitting to bring you an impromtu baby sweater…

Mmmmm….stripey goodness.

The above project is the beginnings of the Child’s Placket-Neck Sweater by Joelle Hoverson from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, or available for free here. When my husband’s professor’s wife (got that?) recently gave birth (recently as in Monday) to a boy, Matt asked, “How fast can you knit a baby sweater?” As it turns out, pretty fast, especially when using worsted weight yarn. I’m using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, due mainly to a moment of weakness in Michael’s this week, and the fact that Matt deemed my first choice, which was in the stash and teal, “too girly.” I’m already onto the sleeves; the striping keeps me interested and the Cotton-Ease is truly lovely yarn with which to knit. It’s soft, but not too acyrlicy shiny, and the colors are downright “Rowan-esque.” While I was in Michael’s, I came *this* close to purchasing three skeins of the new Organic Cotton in a pretty green shade to make a Tube Toporini. At first glance, it’s pretty similar to the Blue Sky Cotton; but a few dollars cheaper per skein, although I think it has less yardage, about 100 yards as compared to Blue Sky’s 140ish? So it may work out to be about the same in the end.

I have some mixed feelings about Lion Brand’s new offerings. On the one hand, I’m really glad that the yarn company is creating products composed of natural fabrics in subtle colors. These products obviously appeal to those of us that would normally be shopping for yarn in an LYS. So why do I feel kind of….wrong…..buying them? When you think about it, Lion Brand is just as large a company as Cascade or Classic Elite, or even Rowan. And I really feel that price is kind of irrelevant, since when you factor in price per yard, Lion Brand is no less expensive than these “higher end” brands. But Cascade, et al. sell their products almost exclusively through smaller, local outfits instead of the “big box” stores to which Lion Brand mainly distributes. Maybe that’s what bothers me—the setting in which the product appears, as opposed to the product itself. Either way, when presented with a soft, pretty yarn in nice colors, I buy it, whether in the comfy LYS I love, or the generic Big Craft Store I don’t. I just don’t feel as good about the product from BCS. Not coming up with any conclusions here, obviously, just ruminating. Any thoughts?

I will have a few other things to show you now that my most recent hiatus from blogging has passed. I finished the Coquette Lace Tube Top from Stefanie Japel’s Fitted Knits a short while back, so I’ll do a full FO post on that once it’s all blocked and dry (maybe even a two-fer with the Razor Cami). I’m also finished with a quick-n-dirty Bainbridge Scarf (also in need of finishing/blocking), which I found on Ravelry, in some leftover Debbie Bliss Merino DK. It’s looking like the Prairie Tunic may hibernate until next summer, since I really have no desire right now to finish the back. I’m guessing I’ll find renewed interest in it come April when I’m yearning for summer, just like I did the Honeymoon Cami this past April. Let’s face it—as the end of summer draws near, I’m jonesing for some wool. I’m just tired of cotton and summer knits in general. I want some sweaters and shawls.

Coquette Lace Tube TopBainbridge Scarf

And finally, a sure sign of crisp fall weather to come, my favorite LYS had its annual end-of-summer sale last week after moving locations. I picked up some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a rust color and a plum for a Clapotis and Diamond Fantasy Shawl . I also picked up some Cascade 220 in brown for Ysolda Teague’s Gretel. Hey, does anyone know if Silky Wool has been discontinued? I’ve seen it on super-clearance in a few places, and if it is, I’d like to prepare myself since it’s probably my favorite yarn. So next, I plan on casting on the Swallowtail Shawl in Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, getting an early start on Christmas knitting, and this is the chosen project for one of my sisters. I think I’ll knit the Clapotis for the other sister and the Diamond Fantasy shawl for Mom. I’m going to try to space these out over the next few months while digging into some sweaters like the Puffed Sleeve Feminine Cardigan, Ester, Wicked (yes, again), and Flair. Maybe even a Cloud Bolero, but I think I’m really getting ahead of myself here. Oh joyful fall knitting!

Village Yarn Shop Sale

Yum….

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Off to Kentucky…But Will I Get Lucky?

July 26, 2007 at 11:04 am (knitting, Work in Progress)

It’s amazing how since I’ve started knitting, a great deal of thought goes into which knits to bring on a road trip. I used to try to bring WIPs, thinking that if I’m trapped with a knit, I will be forced to finish it. I’ve stopped doing that, it never really worked; I’d just end up stubbornly not knitting what ever I brought along! I do always end up bringing more than one project though, and I’m usually surprised by the knit I choose to work on (i.e., it’s not usually my main knit at the time). So as we’re off to Kentucky for the wedding of two dear friends, I plan on bringing three projects. (Hey, don’t knock it;there’s 20 hours in a car involved in this road trip!)

Prairie Tunic

I’m sure you’re getting sick of these progress shots, but I swear I will finish this by the end of the summer. I had to restart the front side after completely forgetting to do the decreases in the first few inches. That was a little frustrating. But at this point, it’s me versus the Prairie, and like the little pioneer that I am, I will triumph over the fingering weight cotton!!

Monkey Sock #2

The Monkey has been resurrected! Socks are always a good choice for trips, what with the issue of elbow room, and sock #2 is coming along nicely.

And finally, since I always like to bring along a new project, in case any tragedy strikes my WIPs, I’m bringing the fixings for the Coquette Lace tube top from Fitted Knits. Five lovely skeins of Cascade Pima Tencel in a nice shade of medium/royal blue arrived just in time from Webs.

Cascade Pima Tencel

I’m a little blue crazy this summer right? And coming soon, another blue knit, my finished Razor Cami!

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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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What’s Old Is New Again

May 12, 2007 at 4:31 pm (Finishing, knitting, oliver, Work in Progress, Yarn)

Earlier this week, I was rifling through my knitting basket (the less used one upstairs) and I came across an old FO that has never seen the light of day. I finished it in the Spring of last year, I think, and never really liked the color. So I pulled out an errant container of RIT dye, and experimented.

Before:

FO - Dream Swatch Head Wrap

After:

Dream Swatch Headwrap

I think I’ll actually wear it now, although it is a bit on the rolly side. It’s the Dream Swatch Headwrap by Wendy Bernard in Paton’s Grace, in spearmint, dyed blue. This was my first attempt to dye, and even though my bathroom looked like a smurf exploded in there, I think it turned out pretty well!!

I also wrapped up the Tivoli in Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton this week – here’s a sneak peak at it in its pre-blocked form, I’ll try and put together a full FO post this week.

Tivoli

I also got my Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in Amethyst. I ordered from Kpixie this week since my wonderful LYS was cleaned out, and what fast service! I’ve already cast on for the Clementine Shawlette. I’m really loving this pattern and the yarn is like butter. Yummy.

Clementine Shawlette

This will be perfect travel knitting for the trip next week.

And since someone couldn’t keep their nose out of the photo shoot this afternoon, here’s a few shots of my sweet Oliver. Hope you enjoy your weekend!

OliverDream Swatch HeadwrapDream Swatch HeadwrapOliver

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