Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The bug cozy...unveiled

This weekend is particularly crafty in Columbus, OH. We've got a craft show at the North Market on Saturday, and alti-craft fair at the newly opened Surly Girl Saloon in the Short North, also on Saturday, and Winterfair at the State Fairgrounds on Thursday - Sunday.

That last one is important, because if you want to see the handiwork of the Extreme Knitting team all put together, the knitted VW bug cozy will be on display throughout the event. I haven't seen it sewn together yet, so I can't wait for this. I have also heard that we are to be featured in the Weekender in Thursday's Columbus Dispatch. I didn't show up to get in the group photo unfortunately, but this should be pretty cool!

I'll try to have photos and a full report here later this week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The hat that ate my brains.

Stayed home from work today because of being just generally headachy and body achy. Was able to finish up the knitting on a small project that I started at Saturday's SNB though.

I've been lusting after this particular piece of headgear since I got the book it appears in over two years ago. And then, earlier this year, I happened upon a fabulous sale at Fine Points in Cleveland, so I got the required yarn at a great discount.

This is a super fast knit, and at this gauge, I would definitely recommend this as a beginner fair isle project, especially since it will be felted, which will cover up a lot of issues with tension. After having been working on such tiny needles and doing such an awful lot of intarsia lately (argyle socks! argh!) working in what felt like super-loose gauge was a welcome change for me. For once, I found myself liking large needles.

When I first took it off the needle, my initial thought was, "Oh, maybe I don't have to felt it -- it fits like a normal hat!"

Or perhaps not.

Here's a closeup of the inside:

I'm really thrilled with how my floats look. I am definitely improving. And having that extra layer back there when it felts will make this a super warm cuddly hat.

The details:

Pattern: Classic Cloche from Knit One, Felt Two
Yarn: Brown Sheep Prairie Silks in Krona Coffee and Peruvian Blue. The pattern called for a third color, but it was such a subtle shade, that I went with just the two, and used almost 2 balls of the Krona (yes, that's how they spell it) and about half a ball of the blue.
Needles: US 11.

Now, for the moment of truth. Felting in a foreign washing machine. Time to do the laundry.

Also, you may have noticed some template changes here. I'm not as comfortable as I'd like to be with shorthand CSS, so if you notice anything strange (especially with that top banner) or have any tips, please pass them along to me.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I just know the suspense is killing you all!

Did she make it? Was the hourglass sweater modeled at Thanksgiving dinner?

Alas, no, it was not. As per usual, your narrator failed to realize just how long finishing would take her, and so after leaving the dinner table on Thursday, she commenced to sew down hems. And hems, and hems. And facings. For a sweater knit entirely in the round, there's lots of sewing on Hourglass. I finally kitchnered the underarms on Friday and wore the sweater that evening.

I'm not allowed to wear it again though until I'm one with the lace ruffles I'm going to add. I considered all the color suggestions I got here and on my other blog, but I think I'm going with the black. Mostly because I have two balls of that, when I only have one ball of most of my other Kidsilk Haze colors. I have no clue how much yarn the ruffles in my head will take.

Sweater is comfy though. Mohair is super warm.

Saturday at Stitch n' Bitch, I did cast on for a new project. Not a holiday project, which I should have been working on, but a quickie for myself: the Classic Cloche from Knit One Felt Too in Brown Sheep Prairie Silks. The pattern called for three colors, but I am only doing it in two, as the third color is used so seldom as to be obsolete. I got the hat about halfway done on Saturday and hope to get it finished tonight so I can felt it as I do laundry. Fun.

And then, I'll take some photos tonight, so you can see the progress I've made on that, the sweater, and of course, the argyle socks for my class, which are progressing slowly, but look faboo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OK, kids, I'm down to the deadline wire again, as per the usual. This time, on the Hourglass sweater, which I'd really like to wear to my parents' house tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner. I am about an inch beyond joining the arms right now, and since I shortened the body and sleeves a bit, I can't wear it until I complete the ruffles I plan to attach as well.

So, if you're the gambling sort, place your bets now, as to whether you'll be seeing a photo of that FO anytime soon or not.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Someone knit for me!

So I'm sitting here feeling guilty for not really having any content to post today, then I realized, duh! I took a photo of the Scarf Me pal scarf I received last week, and while I thanked my pal, I haven't posted it here yet. Bad Amy!

So, in penance, I offer a truly dorky photo of yours truly:

Ha. When I got the box in the mail, I thought it felt strangely heavy for a scarf, and when I opened it up, that little sheepish dude was hanging out amid the chenille. I haven't named him yet. I was thinking of "Mr. Sheepley" or something suitably obvious.

Here's a better photo of the scarf, in action, as a, well...scarf:

Rox was my scarf pal, and I love what she did. Especially because I love the look of chenille, but it drives me batty to work with it. The pattern is from knitty.

Thanks Rox!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You've got to love an LYS that lets you not only go mucking about in a pile of yarn they haven't even priced yet, but also lets you rummage around in the box it was shipped in to pick out your colors.

Silk Purse! Silk Purse!

Yep, Knitters' Mercantile is carrying Alchemy Yarns now.

I can't imagine what would make me happier right now. Especially since I had enough loyalty points for a discount, so I essentially got one hank free. You can't beat that.

Unfortunately, this project must remain top secret as it's being submitted somewhere, but someday, you shall all be able to see the loveliness. I just couldn't wait to share.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I got tagged, by Steph Sits and Knits so here's all you ever wanted to know, and more:

(Plus, posting this means my blog now has 100 entries. )

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. It's so luxurious. However, I can't exactly afford it all the time. I also adore Mission Falls 1824 Wool, but it's been discontinued. Sigh. Anything with silk in it is cool for me right now. And Noro Lotus is something I'd like to play around with more. It's spiffy and creamy and soft and sparkly. For standard, everyday knitting, you can't go wrong with Rowan. Sure it could be less expensive, but in my book, it really is worth it.

The worst thing you've ever knit?

Absolutely the Ribbon X-back tank from knitty. I substituted Rowan Cotton Tape that I'd gotten on extra-super clearance, and didn't realize that since it's a knitted tube rather than a woven ribbon, that it would stretch like crazy. So after two failed cast ons that resulted in garments big enough for me and a friend, I finished the thing and it turned out to be both too big around and far too short.

I finally frogged it two weeks ago.

Most valuable knitting technique?

Weaving in ends as you knit. I learned it to do colorwork, but I use it all the time.

Your most favorite knit pattern?
This is a hard one. The only thing I've knit multiples of is Fuzzy Feet, and while I like the pattern, that was just as much about it being a great gift. I really did enjoy the Great American Aran Afghan, but can't see attempting it again. I like raglans in general, because they are fairly mindless to some extent, and go really quickly in the round.

Best knit book or magazine?
I think Interweave is my favorite mag, but Vogue is up there. I'm one of the unvocal minority in the knit blogging world who thinks that it's ok that there is the occasional misstep (ie the cover of the most recent VK) because I don't like everything that comes down a runway, even from designers I adore, like Marc Jacobs and Prada. So why should a knitting magazine be held to such a higher standard?

Favorite Book?
My favorites for patterns and inspiration are Last Minute Knitted Gifts, Loop-d-Loop, and Weekend Knitting. For design help, I like the Stitch n' Bitch journal, Nicky Epstein's "edge" books, Vogue Knitting, and the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.

Your favorite knitwear designer?
Hmmmm....I think Kate Gilbert is going to be the next big thing. She does such creative patterns in accessible ways. I like Teva Durham's stuff too, but I think Melanie Falick is probably my fave for the time being.

Your favorite knit blogs?

By now, this meme has been around long enough that most of the usual suspects have been mentioned, so I'll plug some of the blogs I like to read that you may not know about:

Digital Yarn
The Knitting Doctor
The Knitting Brow
My Life in Stitches

The knit item you wear the most?
Probably Bad Penny, because it is lightweight enough that it can be worn year round. Clapotis is getting right up there though.

Who should I tag?

How about KnittingRat, The Knitting Brow, and KnitBuddies?

I'm full of questions: the interactive post.

Yarns for designs: Desperately seeking silk

So, as many of you know, Amy Singer of knitty fame is going to be coming out with a non-animal fiber knitting book next year. So, as usual, I'm desperately trying for my own piece of the knitfame pie. Since I've done a fair amount of work in bamboo and such, I thought this would be a good thing for me to submit too.

I got two sketches finished up and scanned last night, and I may try to get another one or two ready as well. Here's the iffy part though. I also need to have swatches in the yarn I want to use. For one or two of these patterns, that's not a problem at all, because I was planning the projects anyway and have the yarns on hand. For the third, the big one, I don't have anything though. I ordered a few balls of Cascade Pima Silk last night to try out, but I'm not sure it's the right yarn. I thought of Noro Lily, which I have on hand, but which seems to be discontinued. Is that true though? I found conflicting answers on different sites.

So I need some suggestions. What I would like is a silk, or a silk blended with cotton or a synthetic. Bamboo might work, but it would have to be available in solid colors. And it has to have a smooth texture -- no ribbon yarns or tweeds. Ideas?

Projects in progress...

I did get actual project work done this weekend as well. A trip down to Cincinnati to knit and have fun with some other bloggers, Delana, Natalie and Julie among them, means that I have one completed sleeve for my Hourglass sweater now, and some pretty pink-stained fingers. I'm trying to get this done in time to wear on Thanksgiving. Not that it's probably going to be cold enough to wear a sweater out of Kid Classic, but I'll suffer through it. I think finishing the body of the sweater won't be difficult, but the ruffled edgings I'm planning might take a bit longer. And, I still haven't decided what colors the ruffles are to be yet. So here, dear readers, another question for you. If the sweater is this color:

which of these would you trim it in?

I definitely have my own favorites out of those choices, but I have other plans for some of those, so I want honest opinions without being tainted by that.

Carlotta is languishing a bit. My original goal was to have it done by Christmas, but I had to rip out an entire ball of yarn from the back, because my bead placement was a bit off. So I have made negative progress there, and she's only about 5 inches long again. Sigh. Truly, it only has to be done in time for the state fair next July, but I really love this sweater and want to wear it!

I need to start a sock, so that I have purse-sized knitting going on. I can't seem to decide what to cast on though. I have some koigu, but I think it wants to be gloves. And I'm designing the gloves myself, so I can't just start willy-nilly. Maybe I'll use this though, and make some nice, standard dressy black socks to wear to work this winter.

Pattern ideas?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The socks! They fit!

Perhaps it's the result of a lifetime of living as a large-footed woman in a one size fits all sock world, but I don't mind a slightly tight sock.

So the Crusoe socks, while snug, are quite comfy after all. I finished them up this afternoon and am wearing them now.

Those are my Dansko Mary Janes. Seriously the most comfy shoes I've ever owned.

Now, being that these are a little snug, even with me adding about 30% to the number of cast on stitches, these are still short little socks. So combining that with the slipped stitch pattern, they use a bit less yarn than most. I was shocked at how little really. I got this much done out of one hank of yarn!

So I have about 3/4 a hank of that left. Maybe I'll make myself a matching hat. Or combine it with another yarn for a second pair of socks. I do have a bright pink that I'm using in my argyle socks for my class that I certainly won't use a whole lot of at all.

The requisite action shot:

Yes, indeedy, I have pretty much no arches in my feet.

Pattern: Crusoe from knitty
Needles: US 1
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Irving Park

The completion of these means I have a mere two projects active on needles--the Hourglass sweater and Carlotta (and two more off season projects languishing: the dress from the summer IK cover, and the tank from the summer 04 VK cover). Oh, and the aforementioned argyle socks which are still in their infancy.

I need a small project to start on. It should be a design project, so if it is, it may get suspiciously quiet here, since that must be kept secret until the proper time.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Two FOs (includes the power of Clapotis)

So this week was exciting, bringing with it an unexpected root canal, and it's associated day of Vicodin induced haze. Hooray.

However, being that narcotics seem to make me hyper rather than knocking me out, as they do most people, I actually was productive in my haze, and managed not only to finish seaming up my Zeeby's bag, but to finish my Clapotis as well. Plus, I watched about six hours of celebrity poker and world series of poker. My Texas Hold 'Em game shall improve!

First, Zeeby's, which was begun three years ago, when I was in my knitting infancy. It's a bit....rustic. But it will still serve as a lovely around the house knitting bag.

Pattern: Zeeby's Bag from Stitch n' Bitch
Needles: Size 8
Yarn: Rowanspun DK

And then, there's Clapotis. I resisted knitting this for so long, but this pattern really is a bit of genius. It's fun to knit and fun to wear. And the drape is spectacular. Plus, Lion and Lamb? Well, if I had to choose one yarn to use for the rest of my life, I believe this would be it. Money would have to be no object, but this stuff is worth it.

I finished knitting this Thursday evening and then wove the ends in Friday morning so I could wear it to work as a cute little pashmina/poncho/wrap deal with a kitschy brooch:

(I think the work ID really makes this look, don't you?)

And then today, to show it off at an imprompu knit gathering, I threw it on as a scarf:

Now, this Clapotis must have some sort of weird power, because while walking back to my car this afternoon, absent mindedly adjusting the drape of it as I went, I was stopped by a fetching young man getting into his car. I didn't hear what he said, so asked him to repeat himself. "You are very beautiful," he repeated in an equally fetching accent.

If the glass of wine and the walk with my ridiculously heavy knitting bag hadn't already made me a bit flushed, I'd have turned bright red. I walked on, as it doesn't matter how fetching or charming young men getting into their cars are, I don't particularly feel comfortable chatting them up on the street. But I smiled and thanked him first.

But the power of the Clapotis really must be something, because he told me this despite the fact I was wearing "wine lipliner." You know, when you drink red wine while your lips are chapped and the tannins stain the chapped parts of your lips? Not so fetching. Or maybe he was into that.


Pattern: Clapotis, modified to be scarf size (only 8 repeats of increase rows)
Needles: US 8
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in Tuscany

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I don't know what bug bit me tonight, but I am close to finishing my oldest UFO. It's Zeeby's Bag from the first Stitch n' Bitch book, made out of Rowanspun DK, which was my very first clearance shelf yarn stashing purchase. In purple and green of course, my fave combo.

I was delighted tonight to find out that I had more done than I thought I did, so all I had to do was cast off the pocket, and knit the straps.

Everything is happily blocking right now:

I started this project so long ago that I have silly beginner mistakes in the stockinette parts, like slipped stitches and weird YOs and such. I'll sew them up and hide most of them, or maybe I'll do some creative embroidery to work them in.

But finally! It shall be done! Now my oldest UFO is the cross strap tank from the front of the summer 04 VK. That isn't that far from done either, but I suspect it won't fit, so I've been avoiding it for quite some time.

Tomorrow: Argyle sock class.