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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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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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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Confession

February 4, 2007 at 1:54 pm (knitting, Work in Progress, Yarn)

I’m going to share with you a dirty little secret.

Ahem.

I’ve never been a completely monogamous knitter, but in the last month, my WIPs have gotten completely out of hand. I usually maintain about three or four different items on the needles, any more than that gives me agita. But I think I may be nearing double digits now, and I’m a little scared of my knitting basket. I just can’t stop myself from casting on. I don’t know what it is: Cabin fever? Post-holiday knitting euphoria? Too many yarn sales?

OK, so I’m taking you with me on my scary journey. Ready? OK.

Hourglass Pullover

Hourglass Yoke

This one is at the top of my list. I’ve finally vacated sleeve island for yokesville, and I’ll hopefully finish it this week now that I’m back on track. Hopefully. If I can keep my mitts off the . . .

Wicked

Wicked Yoke

So, my yarn store? That I love? Had a huuuuge sale. And these four skeins of Cascade 220 in a lovely dark teal just jumped into my basket. It was unreal. Then I got home, promptly downloaded the pattern, and knit the neckband and half the yoke decreases last night. Yeah, this is totally next, I’m in love with this knit.

Anthropologie Capelet

Anthropologie Capelet Yoke

Yeah, I know everyone did this two years ago, but I had bought this Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky a while ago, and what else was I going to do with five skeins of it. Plus, I’ve wanted one of these for a while now. Fingers in my ears, not listening.

Log Cabin Socks

Half Log Cabin

Lest you think I’ve forgotten these, I haven’t. But the chunky weight yarn on size 5 needles causes a lot of pain. So my orphan sock will just have to wait for a sibling a little bit longer until I’m feeling a bit more masochistic.

So that’s not so bad, I guess. But let’s keep in mind that I still have the Trellis Scarf on the needles as well as a random Cable Scarf, Broad Street Mittens, Honeymoon Cami and Sesame cardigan waiting in the wings. Not to mention plans for . . .

Perditas
Future Perditas

and . . .

A Cardigan for Arwen
Arwen Yarn

Sixteen lovely skeins of Elann Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in Oatmeal Heather.

Woo! Well I feel much better now after confessing my knitting trespasses. It’s only ten WIPS – not too bad. And since I don’t really count the Sesame and Honeymoon, as I’m going to rip them it’s really eight WIPs. Maybe someday I’ll have some nice FOs to show you. Better get to work!

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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—simple 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—I 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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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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The Wonderful World of Yarn

November 30, 2006 at 10:14 am (knitting, Yarn)

I’ve had precious little time to knit lately. Work has been intense and I’m very tired when I get home.  You can trust that the Basic Cable Hat, Trellis Scarf and Irish Hiking Scarf are coming along, but I’ll spare you the boring progress shots today. (Plus I’m too lazy to pull out the camera right now!)

I was able to expose my husband to the wide and wonderful world of yarn this week. He requested a pair of fingerless gloves a while back, and it’s a good thing I haven’t cast on for the Knucks I was planning because he amended his request earlier this week. An avid fly fisherman, he decided he would like a pair of fingerless gloves with a mitt that folds over top of his fingers to keep his fingers warm while casting, yet still allow the nimbleness needed to attach his lures. And he’d really like it if they were water resistant. Is that possible? Why yes!! It is!! I present to you my next project, the Broad Street Mittens by Janet Cortese, available from Knitty.

Broad Street Mitts

The best part is the Dale of Norway Hauk from which they will be knit. I just ordered some from Webs. Needless to say, he was very surprised to find out that there actually is water-resistant yarn. Then I really blew his mind when I informed him that yarn is made out of lots of things, including soy, bamboo and seaweed to name a few. I was probably a bit of a know-it-all, but I absolutely love telling my husband things he doesn’t know already. Even if it outs me as a yarn dork to the Nth degree . . . .a fact that I generally keep on the DL* with the non-knitters. You know how it is . . .

*Yes, 1999 did just call; and yes, it would like its slang back.

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Silver Lining

November 3, 2006 at 9:08 pm (Yarn)

It’s been a bad week. A really bad week.

koigu1.jpg

I was encouraged to go to the LYS by someone sympathetic . . .
Two hanks of Koigu PPPM #P134 brought to you by spousal enabling in the face of weepy, stressed wife.

(These will be my first socks, by the way. I’ve come over to the dark side.)

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