Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday Update

We were away for the weekend so I feel like it has been ages since I posted last. I didn't get a lot of knitting done while we were gone. I'm working on a certain present that I don't want to reveal because someone may know who it is for blah blah blah. Not very exciting for you, sorry.

So, I have gotten a little work done on my new sock. I'm giving up on the other toe-up, but since I didn't have the heart to frog it yet I just started the new sock with the 2nd ball of yarn. The recap on this sock is as follows...
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Grays Corner using the instructions from Sensational Knitted Socks for toe-up socks on 5 needles with a 5 stitch beaded rib pattern. I love this yarn. Mmmmm, Lorna's Laces.....

Next up we have the continued work with Eris. I have just turned a corner with her -- literally! I just completed the first "corner" of the front. I lengthened her a couple inches (I always find things too short waisted), but now I'm afraid she might be a little long! Well, I won't really know until she's finished and blocked....just have the other cabled corner, the hem, two sleeves with cabled cuffs, and the zipper (gulp!) to go:) Where the heck do I get a zipper? Hmmmmmmm.

So my super fabulous Secret Pal sent me an e-postcard today of a shark! Yea! Sharks! Thanks -- it brightened the rainy day:)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sensational Knitted Socks!

Carol (from "group") mentioned to me last week that there was a new sock book coming out that was getting a lot of buzz. I, of course, had the instant and undeniable need for this book, so a quick trip to Overstock and it was on its way. Well, I got the book last night: The title is Sensational Knitted Socks (by Charlene Schurch). This truly is a sensational sock book. The premise of the book is to provide a template for sock knitting which gives the knitter countless potential sock patterns. All of the patterns are cleverly arranged to include instructions for 4-needle, 5-needle, and 2 circular sock knitting. You just pick the basic form of sock you like (e.g., toe-up, cuff-down, short-row heel, heel flap), the size you want (there are numerous charts and tables to assist the knitter), and then the stitch pattern you like (stitch patterns are arranged by number of stitches per repeat -- very handy). Voila!

I have a poor toe-up sock languishing in a state of incompleteness due to the fact that it is my first toe-up sock (and first short row heel) and I did a poor job on both the toe and the heel. Now this sock yarn (gorgeous Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock) will be reborn with the help of Sensational Knitted Socks! I have already cast on using her "easy toe-up" instructions (much easier than the craziness I went through on the last one) and I anticipate having an easy time the rest of the way -- I will get some pictures on here once I finish up the sock and show you the results!

Eris is coming along beautifully, but, due to the high temps (and humidity-blech!) the last few days, working with a heavy merino sweater has not been an attractive enterprise. So, until the weather breaks, Eris will be on a short vacation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Holy Koigu, Secret Pal!

I was walking up to our house after work today and was thrilled to see I had gotten a package from my secret pal - WOW! I ripped open the box and was floored to see two skeins of lovely lovely Koigu -- how did my secret pal know that I have been lusting after this wonderful yarn? Ah the colors, the beautiful colors...And two books! I cannot wait to read them. Secret Pal, you made a blah Tuesday into a wonderful Koiguday:) Thank you so much!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Life is Good

First of all, our new couch and chair arrived. I love them! The couch is actually a kind of daybed so it is nice and deep. The chair is squishy and comfy. I am so happy with them. Sorry about the terrible pictures. I don't know why they look so crappy (and look-- orbs! Our apartment must be haunted:) ) Ignore the stupid cat scratching thing on the front of the chair. It is no longer there as they do not appear to want to ruin our pretty new furniture -- hooray! The wall color works pretty well with the red so for now we will leave it alone. We luckily sold the old couches the next day so our apartment feels so open and stylish.

Friday not only brought our lovely new furniture, but a postcard from my Secret Pal - So exciting! I am having a lot of fun coming up with ideas for my person that I'm spoiling and of course I am thrilled to receive such an adorable piece of mail --Thank you Secret Pal!

So, I spent all weekend knitting with my butt on the new couch. It was great! M and I did take a break and go shopping on Saturday afternoon as we are going to a wedding next weekend and had nothing good to wear. (I am terribly lucky that my husband loves to shop as much as I do). We both found great outfits and then went out for some sushi. Another terrific Saturday with my guy:)

Then more knitting.... Here is the progress I made on Eris. She's looking fabulous and I am enjoying knitting her every step of the way. The pattern is just challenging enough that I need to pay attention, but it is so clearly written that I never feel lost. I'm having so much fun making the cardigan, I'm thinking maybe I should make a pullover too -- or maybe even tackle Rogue!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

To "Eris" is Human....

I just finished the collar! Looky looky! To recap: this is the Eris pattern. I am using KnitPicks Merino Style in Nutmeg. I used size 4 needles for the collar and I will be using size 6 for the body of the sweater. I'm very excited to have gotten this far with no mistakes. The collar took me just around a week with various other knitting going on.

I couldn't resist modeling the collar on Laska as I have become addicted to the site (if you need a laugh, go check it out).

Secret Pal Six has begun and I'm already having fun. I have contacted the person I'll be spoiling and my secret pal has contacted me! I've become so preoccupied with what to get my pal -- so many possibilities, such an urge to go overboard:) As for my secret pal, she (or maybe it's a guy....) asked me if there was anything I really would like and honestly I would be happy with lots of different things. I am hankering for an Elizabeth Zimmerman book or some Southwest Trading Co. Bamboo yarn (Carol has been knitting with some at "group" and it is lovely)...but shiney things or chocolate makes me happy too:)

The fabulous new couch and chair will be delivered tomorrow! I. Can. Not. Wait! Yea! Red furniture! It will be hard to concentrate at work tomorrow knowing that the new furniture is there without me. At least the cats will be there to cuddle with it until I get home.

Smoking Update:
Time Smoke-Free: 61 days, 21 hours, 43 minutes and 6 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 743
Lifetime Saved: 5 days, 16 hours
Money Saved: $204.96

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Weekend Update & Secret Pal 6 Questionnaire

This weekend I did not get as much knitting done as I had hoped to -- pesky housework got in the way. At least I am no longer scared of our bathroom:) Official status on current works in progress is as follows:

Eris: I have nearly completed the collar -- I am loving the cables!

Ruffles: All done and I made a matching Kittyville hat (from Stitch 'n Bitch) too.

Irish Hiking Hat: (based on the basic cable hat in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, but with adjustments as detailed by KnitChick). This hat almost ended in tragedy as I ran out of yarn an inch from the end (see first photo), but I bravely ripped back just enough so that I could decrease earlier and complete it. It looks really good and M asked if he could have one too!

Here and There Cables Scarf: I looked at it....that's about it.
Toe-Up Sock: I think I hate this sock. I like cuff down. My short-row heel looks crappy. The yarn is too great to be treated so poorly. :(

Since secret pal assignments are going out in a few short hours, I now give you my answers to the Secret Pal 6 questionnaire....

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I am mostly a yarn snob. I pretty much avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand, but I am currently using Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Glitterspun for a Harry Potter scarf. However, I'm also using merino wool for a few projects right now too. Overall, I would say I'm 95% yarn snob (I have a real weakness for shiney yarns...).

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I do not spin nor am I very interested in learning -- it would cut into my knitting time! I am a reformed crocheter... I spent years avoiding knitting and only crocheted because it seemed so fast. Well, I never really loved the end product of crochet so I have now focused all my attention on knitting. I can now knit as fast as I used to crochet -- yea!

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

Nope (but I am recently a non-smoker, so I'm a little sensitive to the smell of smoke).

4. How long have you been knitting?

My mom first taught me how to knit when I was 7 or 8. However, aside from many malformed scarves and cat blankets I never really progressed until a year or so ago when I became completely and utterly obsessed with knitting. So, 20 years going on 1:)

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes -- I even have a knitting wish list in my Amazon wish list:)

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I love coffee, vanilla, cherry, cinnamon, lemon. Pretty much everything except raspberry. I don't like raspberry. Blech.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

I have more than one:)

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

Not too much aside from knitting. I read, watch movies, and play videogames.... Sometimes I cross-stitch. Not so much any more.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I love 80's music. Huge fan of new wave, e.g. Depeche Mode, Morrissey, the Pixies. I also adore Cat Stevens. And Phish. And the White Stripes.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

That is always such a tough question. I really love all colors. I'm drawn mostly to earthy vibrant colors, like forest green and chocolate brown. I love pinks and purples too. I guess I'm not a huge fan of orange. Well, I like orange....just don't know what to do with it:)

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I'm married to a wonderful man and we have three cats (our furry children).

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

My life's dream (in no particular order) is to be a great wife, a great mother, and an overall good human being. I want to go to sleep at night with no worries beyond what shall I knit next:)

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I love all the KnitPicks yarns I've tried so far and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. Rowan is great too. Malabrigo....mmmm....Malabrigo.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I'm not a huge fan of most cottons. Cotton needs to be blended to make me happy:) Acrylic is generally also on the no-no list (except for the previously mentioned Harry Potter scarves).

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Socks and sweaters. I have a million future projects for both and just as much yarn! I'm really into cables right now.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Socks. I really like knitting most things. I try to always have projects going that demand different levels of attention so that I have one thing I can work on while watching TV, one thing I can take to knitting group, another that needs my full attention, etc.

17. What are you knitting right now?

Numerous holiday gifts (mostly scarves from Scarf Style) and I have just started the Eris cardigan. Oh, and a Harry Potter Ravenclaw Scarf.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

I don't think of them much.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

I tend to knit everything on circulars and double-points. I started knitting a scarf recently on straights and after a few inches switched to circular.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I love bamboo and I have a denise set (plastic) which I'm quite fond of.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

Yup, and I'm a bit addicted to it (and the lovely yarns). I've only just started though, so I'm still learning.

22. How did you learn to knit?

My mom taught me the basics. The rest I learned from books and the internet.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

Well, I have a crocheting UFO that has been ignored since I became more of a knitter than a crocheter. It's a massive afghan that I'm half-way through....I'm really not sure if it will ever be finished....I haven't touched it for at least 6 months....

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

I have many, to name just a few: I love Hello Kitty, the Smurfs, Bucky and Satchel from Get Fuzzy, and the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I'm a huge Simpsons fan too. And Wallace and Gromit. As for animals, I love cats and sharks. I'm also rather fond of penguins and sheep.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

All of the holiday time surrounding the winter solstice:)

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Shark things...yarn...cats...books....:)

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knits

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Any of the Elizabeth Zimmerman books, Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, a good stylish kid's knitting book (I have a new nephew and a 2 year old niece).

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??

I love Rogue (but I'm scared of her too)...Hopeful....Hermione's Cable and Bobble Mittens....

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Look What I Can Do!

I proudly present the the first half of one half of the collar for Eris!

Eris was the winner of the informal vote and since she was also my first choice I just jumped right in. So far so good. By the end of this evening I was even comfortable enough with the charts to watch a little Daily Show while I completed chart C. This is only 3 of the 6 charts for the first half, but I think I should be done with the collar by the end of this coming weekend. This pattern is so well written -- I can actually follow the charts! Of course, I had plenty of "help" with this project and now a little photo essay:

Nemo (the cat) came along looking for attention....

I was trying to follow a very complicated chart...

I convinced him to stay at one end of the couch...

He started to cross the line....

He exploded with kitty cuteness all over my pattern! (Shortly after these pictures were taken Nemo was evicted from the couch otherwise you would not have seen so much of Eris).

This past 3-day weekend I got a lot of knitting done. Here are a couple of the scarves I'm working on for holiday gifts. Both of these were very difficult to photograph due to the colors and textures...I'll try to get better pictures once I finish them up.

We got a call today -- our new couch and chair are in! Over a month early -- Hooray! They'll be delivered a week from Friday. I'm so excited:)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Future is so bright....

Amidst the holiday knitting, I have grand plans to knit some wonderful sweaters and cardigans for myself. Only trouble is I can’t decide which of the following I should knit next. The options are:

Eris in KnitPicks Merino Style Nutmeg
Ribby Cardi in Cascade 220 Brown and Blue
Cheesylove in Cascade 220 and Kitten Mohair, Dk. Gray and light blue respectively
Heather in Jaeger Shetland Aran in Sage Green
Veste Everest (Interweave Knits Fall '05) in Jaeger Luxury Tweed in Lavandula (purpley)
Mariah in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Evergreen

What do you all think? I just can't decide!

So, the Easy Peasy Scarf is completed and blocking. I really like how it turned out and I hope the recipient finds it as soft and cozy as I do.

I started two more holiday scarves last night. Unfortunately, the reason I started two was because the first one was just not working. I’m using the Here and There Cable pattern from Scarf Style. I have plans to use it for numerous gifts this year because it is such a neat pattern. I started the first one last night using this awesome hot pink and black yarn from Uruguay (ebay seller 100purewool). I went to extra trouble to get the necessary yardage as this scarf pattern apparently eats yarn. However....the variegation destroys the pattern. Destroys. Blech. M and I agreed that this yarn is better suited for another pattern --and I just thought of what I’ll do with it! I’ll make Ruffles from Scarf Style! I shall call this new scarf Fawkes (the phoenix in Harry Potter) as it will rise anew from the ashes of its former self!

Then I cast on for another holiday gift scarf using Manos de Uruguay (gotta love Uruguayan yarn J ) and the Here and There Cable pattern. So far, this variegation appears to be subtle enough to work. I think it will be fabulous!

The toe-up sock is progressing...I'm loving loving loving the Lorna's Laces! So springy and the color is so saturated. This photo also is photographic evidence of the brutality of a siamese cat on a midnight race around the foot (which was on my bed, minding its own business) was apparently in the way of the 6 1/2 pound flying siamese cat. Ouch!