Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We leave for our hometown soon (yea!), but I am unsure whether there will be any knitting time at all as our schedule is packed (we have four sets of parents plus other friends to visit). Also, we are cutting this year's visit a little short since Matt just can't be away from the labs for long. Regardless, I am bringing along a full knitting bag with hopes that I'll have some free time here and there. I'm going to take along the Philosopher's Stone Socks that Rock socks and finish them, I hope. I also will take along the long neglected Yarntini Pure Falls Socks and then maybe a little more sock yarn...

Yesterday I received my Pick Up Sticks Sock Club Kit. This month Connie sent out the most stunning sock yarn - Posh Yarns Lucia in the color Passionale! The yarn is 30% cashmere and 70% merino wool - so soft! I can't stop petting it. :)

In stupid neck pain news: First of all, thanks for all the nice comments. It always cheers me up. :) As the week has gone on, I had thought my neck was all better, but then Thursday morning I relapsed. This time I went to the doctor and she prescribed a few different drugs and recommended I get some x-rays and an MRI. Hopefully we can figure out what the heck is going on. It's feeling much better today, but I'm sure the pills are doing most of that. I don't care so long as I feel good for the holidays!

I'll be taking a little break from blogging for the next week or so. I'll try to sneak one or two more posts in before the new year later next week. Until then, I wish everyone a fabulous holiday time whether you celebrate the solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa - oh, you get the point!

Have a fabulous winter celebration!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rockin' Around

Quick, non-knitting report: At around 5:30am on Saturday morning I woke up with the worst searing pain. No matter which way I turned my neck it was intensely painful. Even putting my head on the pillow hurt! Geez! Since then it has slowly gotten better, but man, it hurts! No idea what I did, but we figured I must have pinched a nerve at some point. Ugh! What a way to spend a weekend. :(

As you can imagine, very little knitting happened over the last few days. I only today felt I could pick up the needles, but even then it was just to finish the toe to the first Socks that Rocks Philosopher's Stone sock. I'm going to take it easy on the knitting for a while until my neck is back to normal. I really like how this sock turned out. I used the garter rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. The lightweight Socks that Rock knit up into a very nice, dense fabric and I just love the combination of colors. Now, to cast on for sock number 2...

In happy cheery news I received the final 2006 Rockin' Sock Club kit today (I'm staying home from work due to the neck pain). The kit included two colors! On the left is Rare Gems in mediumweight. Rare Gems is created when there are dying mistakes. Have you ever seen such a gorgeous mistake? On the right is the official December color - Mustang Sally in lightweight! I absolutely love both of these. The pattern for Mustang Sally is very pretty, but it involves beads...not sure about the beads...The color reminds me of another Blue Moon Fiber Arts color - Cherries Jubilee (I used that color in their cotton sock yarn, Sock Candy this summer). I just love the intense pinky reds. Yea!

So, not sure what knitting will happen in the next few days. Kind of depends on the whole stupid neck thing. Ugh.

Good news is that I did finish Durrow on Friday (I have a feeling the hours of finishing may be what killed my neck). More details on the sweater once it is gifted to the recipient next week. :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Uninspired Friday Post

Nothing really to report here. I've made some progress on the Socks that Rock Philosopher's Stone sock. I really like the simple garter rib pattern (Sensational Knitted Socks book). I couldn't get the colors to really come out well in this photo. There's no pink. It's all navy, forest green, brown, and grey.

I've been in a bit of a blah mood lately. Not sure why, but I'm hoping the fact that I have a staff potluck at lunch today after which we are free to leave for the rest of the afternoon might brighten my mood. Yea! Afternoon off! Maybe, just maybe, I'll tackle the neck to Durrow. I still haven't heard back from the designer about the neck shaping directions so my plan is to simply knit the front the same as I did the back - genius! :) I'd heard online that a lot of people felt the neck came out too large anyway so this way it should create a higher crew neck. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Up, Up and Away

Interlocking Balloons

Pattern: Interlocking Balloons from Scarf Style
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style in Dusk - almost exactly 5 skeins (approx. 600 yards)
Needles: Size 5 (Denise Set)
Start Date: December 4, 2006
End Date: December 12, 2006
Comments: I had been looking at this pattern for a long time. I always thought it would make a gorgeous scarf, but the chart made my head hurt just looking at it. Don't get me wrong. I love a good chart, but for some reason, this one, with all the little dots, caused me a bit of anxiety. So, with my trusty chart keeper and highlighter tape I began and before I knew it I made it I was through the first repeat.

The Knit Picks Merino Style was perfect for this pattern, allowing for stitch definition, but incredible soft squishiness too. While this isn't a quick knit by any stretch of the imagination, it was a fun knit and I'll be happy to knit another one for myself. (This one is a gift for an undisclosed recipient).

I wasn't able to make it to the end of the the 10th repeat as I started running out of yarn, so I did a total of 9 repeats and 12 rows into the next. The scarf is 9 inches wide (as the pattern predicted), but 72 inches long! Perfect for the tall recipient! The scarf as written was supposed to be 62 inches so I was excited to get such length out the yarn even though I didn't finish the last repeat. I guess my row gauge was totally different (I rarely check that when knitting a scarf).

That leads us to the final gift knitting project of the season - a pair of socks (I totally bailed on knitting a stocking for my nephew. I've promised to do it for his birthday in April or, at the latest, next Christmas. He's 20 months old. I don't think he'll even notice.). These socks will be knit in Socks that Rock Philosopher's Stone (lightweight) using the Garter Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. They are another top secret project with an undisclosed recipient (Well, I actually asked the undisclosed recipient if he liked the color just to be sure, so it's not a total surprise, but I'm keeping it quiet anyway - shhh!).

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, December 11, 2006

Why Are Weekends So Short?

I am a really strong advocate for a five day weekend and a two day work week. This weekend just flew by! I was able to put in some serious time with the Interlocking Balloons scarf (from the Scarf Style book) and I am very happy with its progress. I knit part of Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and as much as I could on Sunday. I have now completed 7 of the 10 repeats. The end is near!

The Knit Picks Merino Style is such a pleasure to knit. It feels so soft and has a great sponginess when it's knit up. I have more of this yarn in a different color set aside in my stash to knit an Interlocking Balloons of my very own (who knows when that will happen though...). I will warn you that the chart for this scarf can make you go cross-eyed. If I didn't have my chart keeper and my highlighter tape I would be hopelessly lost. Those are two very valuable tools that I highly recommend. Some bloggers reported the pattern becoming more intuitive as they went along. Well, not for me. I mean, in some parts yes, but overall I need to refer to the chart continually.

I'm finally working on the Yarntini Pure Fall Toe-up socks again. I kind of have been avoiding them since I new I'd be in trouble once I finished the foot. You see, I had plans to use the directions for the toe-up with heel flap construction in the Sensational Knitted Socks book, but when I read ahead it said to knit the foot until a certain length based on measurements that you can look up in the front of the book. I turned to the pages the pattern indicated and there was no chart! Well, I was a bit bummed and I've been poking about the internet looking for alternative ways to do a reverse heel flap when I came across another blogger who got hung up in the exact same way. She ended up finding the Generic Pattern for the "You're Putting Me On" Socks which is toe-up with a reverse heel flap! Hooray! So that's what I've just started. I'll let you know how it goes.

This weekend I also received my second mailing from the Sweet Sheep Sock Club. This month's yarn is Sweet Socks in the color The comforts of Home. Sweet Socks is the house brand of the store that is hosting this sock club. It's a lovely mix of colors - perfect for this time of year. The yarn is very soft and reminds me a lot of the texture of Sunshine Yarns. The content is 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon so it will make a nice pair of low maintenance socks. Man, I love getting surprise yarn in the mail!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let it Snow!

Brown and Blue Hat, Scarf, and Mittens

Pattern: Hat and Mittens: Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. Scarf: Sideways garter stitch (cast on a good amount and knit away!)
Yarn: Ebay seller 100purewool - 3 skeins of 218 yards each
Hat and Mittens: Size 6 Scarf: Size 8
Start Date: November 1, 2006
End Date: December 7, 2006
Comments: The only thing wrong with the hat, scarf, and mittens is that they are still drying! I would love to wear them today, but as they are a bit damp I'm afraid they would freeze the second the -8 degree wind chill hit. Thanks to everyone who commented regarding my mitten dilemma. As you may notice, I decided to go ahead and knit the mittens and just use what was left to finish the scarf. I think it worked out very well. I can't say enough good things about the yarn or the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. These warmth-giving items would not be here today without their help. :)

We've got two holiday parties this weekend, but I'm hoping that on Sunday I can put in some time with the Interlocking Balloon scarf. Thank you to everyone for their reassurances regarding the color. I'm glad everyone agrees it is a good blue. I'm hoping to finish it sometime this week, but I have a long way to go.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I love to knit

You know what? I love to knit. There's no hiding the fact. I enjoy the process and the product. I think it's so neat I can whip up a hat in one evening or knit a complicated scarf that will take days and days all with a couple sticks and some yarn. I can't get enough of the textures and colors and the patterns.

Monday night I started another gift scarf. It's the Interlocking Balloons pattern from Scarf Style. The yarn is KnitPicks Merino Style in Dusk and it is lovely and squishy. I've only done two of the 10 repeats, but it's moving along pretty well now. It was slow going in the beginning as I had to adjust to the complicated looking chart, but it is getting easier and the result is so cool. I love the undulating lines of ribbing.

I'd read the yardage requirement may be a bit off in the pattern so I made sure I bought a couple extra skeins as the person this is for likes long scarves (who doesn't?). So far, one skein got me 15 inches in and just over two repeats. I have 4 skeins left - Looking good! (It irks me to ask such a sexist question, but here goes, the color is ok for a guy, right? It's an intense, but dark blue.)

So, last night after knitting the scarf for a little while I decided to make a hat to go with a scarf I started (but haven't finished) last month. I haven't blogged about the scarf since I only worked on it at a couple knitting group nights and then it got shoved off to the side. The yarn is from the ebay seller 100purewool and it feels like Malabrigo. It's from Uruguay (as is Malabrigo) and comes in fantastic colors (like Malabrigo). It's sold at a very very good price and knits up wonderfully so it's a favorite of mine. :)

The scarf is just a sideways garter stitch. I kind of just cast on lots and lots (maybe around 240?) and started knitting in garter stitch. I put it on hold when I came to the end of the first of three balls since I wanted to be sure I had enough to make a hat and maybe mittens too.

The hat took nearly a whole ball - probably around 160 yards (each ball is 218 yards). I'm debating whether to go ahead and knit the mittens and risk having a narrow scarf or just tossing the mitten idea and finishing the scarf making it really wide. What do you all think? (I think I'm leaning towards mittens...)

Here are the details on the hat:
Pattern: Based on the hat pattern in Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns (I added a little more slope to the decreases at the crown)
Yarn: From Ebay Seller 100purewool
Needles: Size 6 (denise set) with a gauge of 5 stitches per inch
Date Knit: December 5, 2006

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, December 04, 2006

One Down...

Misty Garden I

Pattern: Misty Garden from Scarf Style
Yarn: Artful Yarns Portrait in Fazio's Mistress (#114)
Needles: Size US 7 bamboo straight(!)
Start Date: November 29, 2006
End Date:December 3, 2006
Comments: First off, sorry for the blob picture. Winter light and mohair just don't mix. :) As for the scarf itself, I'm very pleased. I'm not normally one for the feather and fan lace pattern, but it just looks so pretty with a lightly variegated mohair. This scarf is a gift for someone and I do hope they like it. I didn't make it my usual length (height of the person wearing it) as it seemed to be a dressier scarf. The total length is right around 60 inches and the width is 7 1/2 inches. The Artful Yarns Portrait was interesting to work with as it is slightly different than a lot of other mohair yarns. Instead of dying the center, core thread the same color as the mohair fluff, the thread is black. This creates a lot of depth when you see the scarf in person (as opposed to my less than good photo). I used right around a skein and a half.

Today I had hoped to announce the official finishing of Durrow, the sweater I'm knitting for Matt. Instead of working on my Tapestry scarf this weekend I decided to finish knitting the sweater. Unfortunately as I neared the end of it yesterday afternoon I hit a snag. I am knitting the front piece (the last piece I have left) and I got to the neck shaping. At that point I got lost. I've read and reread the instructions and it makes absolutely no sense to me. I'm sure I'm missing something really obvious, but I don't know what. I've emailed the designer and I hope to hear back from her soon. Until I get some clarification I'm afraid his sweater is just going to be in a pitiful pile.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snowy Day, Misty Garden

How perfect to wake up on the first day of December to a beautiful snowy world! I couldn't resist a picture of the Misty Garden scarf I just started with the snow in the background. Kilby had to be involved too. :)

So, November was busy with trying to balance workout time with knitting time, but I
think I've got the hang of it now. Most of my November goals were met (just need to finish up a couple scarves for myself, no rush) so now it's on to December in which I will try to knit some for others (and me!).

December Goals:
1) Misty Garden Scarf x2 (one for me or someone else and one definitely for someone else)
2) Stocking (for someone else)
3) Cedar Bark Socks in Sunshine Yarns Hungarian Horntail Dragon (for someone else)
4) Jingle Bell Rock Isosceles Socks (mine, all mine)
5) Interlocking Balloons Scarf (for someone else)
6) 2x2 Rib Pure Fall Socks - started in November (me me me)

The Yarntini Pure Fall socks are moving along. As you know, I started them in November, so no matter what, I'm ahead of schedule. :) I plan on using the toe-up he
el flap instructions in Sensational Knitted Socks and if it works it will open up a whole new world of toe-up socks! I'll be done with the first heel soon. I may put off knitting the second sock for a little while to work on holiday gifts, but I don't know. I hate not finishing a pair...

The other night I cast on for one of the Misty Garden Scarves (that's the picture at the top of this entry) and it's really knitting up quickly. I'm using Artful Yarns Portrait in Fazio's Mistress. So far so good! This one's a gift and I really hope the recipient likes the colors. (The close-up is a pretty good representation of the color - a variety of shades of pink as well as a hint of orange).

This weekend I plan on working on my Rowan Tapestry Yarn Harlot Scarf. I haven't made too much progress so no picture today. Saturday night we'll be at the opera, but other than that I'll be knitting all weekend. :)

What's everyone else going to do this weekend?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hat Ahoy!

An encore performance...

We Call Them Pirates Hat

Pattern: We Call Them Pirates Hat
Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style in Coal and Vanilla
Needles: KnitPicks Options, size 5 for hat, size 2 for lining
Start Date: November 20, 2006

End Date: November 27, 2006
Comments: I made this hat for Matt in August. He loved it. Loved it so much he started wearing it the second it started turning cooler here. Somewhere between Career Services and the Tech Building the hat disappeared from Matt's coat pocket. I think it was an act of piracy. We may never know. I will tell you though, if I see anyone wearing that hat on this campus, I will get the hat back! But, until that happens, I went ahead and knit another one. I love Matt and the hat is pretty fun to knit so I didn't mind too much.

Other than the hat, very little knitting progress is being made. This may shock some of you, but I didn't even knit at all yesterday. I developed a neck ache yesterday morning and, coupled with post-holiday travel fatigue, I just sat on the couch last night like a lump. I think I may put some of my current projects on hold and start on the few holiday presents I have planned for people. That way I am sure they are done in time and who can argue with the allure of casting on for a new project. Silly me missing a whole evening of knitting time just before the holidays! ;)

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, November 27, 2006

We drove, we visited, we ate turkey!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Matt and I had a great time in Carbondale for the long weekend. There was lots of family time, a vast quantity of great food, and a little bowling.:)

Was there time for knitting? Not really. I think I did about an inch of my Tapestry Harlot Scarf (yarn: Rowan Tapestry in Pot Pourri; pattern from the Yarn Harlot). I have a long way to go and since it looks exactly like it did last time, no new picture...

Aside from the scarf, I did make some progress with the Yarntini Pure Fall socks last night after we got home. I've restarted them on size 0 and it's knitting up much nicer. I am really enjoying the self-striping action as well as the soft yarn. Toe-up seems to go faster for some reason...

I'm also almost finished with Matt's new pirate hat.

I did want to let people know that if you are interested in getting an Offhand Designs knitting bag, be sure to check out the fundraiser they are having right now. All proceeds go to helping a young lady purchase a new wheelchair. So, go donate some money and get yourself a new knitting bag at a good price with a side order of good karma. (I'm not going on record that I bought another Zelda, but don't be surprised if in the spring my workout incentive is another bag...I'm just saying...)

My incentive to keep to my workout schedule in December and part of January is to officially rejoin the Rockin' Sock Club. I know I don't want to miss out on that so I have to meet every scheduled workout between now and when the invoice arrives. The only viable excuse to missing a workout and still remaining eligible for my reward is if I'm sick and Matt confirms that I'm not faking. :) So as to avoid setting myself up for failure, I am going to lighten the workout schedule a little through the holiday week, especially while we are visiting family. I will try to at least get a few walks in during that time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm a Dodo-Head

Ever since I knit Widdershins I have been wanting to do another toe-up with heel-flap sock, but the measurements for Widdershins are just too small using my preferred sock yarns and needles. Then I saw someone mention on her blog that she used the toe-up heel-flap instructions from Sensational Knitted Socks when she knit her socks. Doh! I never realized there were instructions in there for a toe-up heel-flap! I love that book and peruse the patterns often, but I never noticed that in the twelve stitch pattern section it sets out the customizable pattern for a toe-up with heel flap sock! Yea! So, now I can use the fabulously easy toe cast-on from Knitty and the heel flap instructions from the book.

And so last night I cast on for my newest pair of socks using Yarntini in the Pure Fall self-striping colorway. There would be a picture here except that even though I swatched the sock it was knitting up a bit too big so I had to frog back the 3 or 4 inches I got done last night...Oh well...Instead here's a picture of the scarf I cast on yesterday. It's Rowan Tapestry Pot Pourri and I'm using the scarf pattern the Yarn Harlot blogged on October 12th.

Here's a picture of all the knitting that's going along on holiday: the Pure Fall socks, a replacement We Call Them Pirates Hat (I'll explain that one later), and the tapestry harlot scarf. I figured I would need a variety of projects to work on while spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family. (You may notice the new bag - I reached my workout goal for the past month so the Zelda Tote is all mine!)

I'm also taking along my latest read, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I'm just 80 pages in, but it's hard to put down and I expect to finish it quickly. So I'm taking a back-up book as I do not want to be left stranded without reading material. I think I'll bring along a short story book by Alice Sheldon a.k.a. James Tiptree (a sci-fi writer).

What is everyone going to be working on over the long weekend?

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Due to the holiday, I'll be taking a little break from blogging until Monday, November 27th. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 20, 2006


Nodding Violet Knee Socks

Pattern: Customizable Knee Sock Pattern
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight in Nodding Violet - 2 skeins
Needles and Gauge: KnitPicks dpns, size 0 (2.0mm) with a gauge of 8.5 stitches per inch
Start Date: November 12, 2006
End Date: November 19, 2006
Comments: I cannot believe how much I love these socks. I had been admiring the Nodding Violet color for months. I had been looking fondly upon other people's lovely knee socks. I could not be happier with the combination. The Knee Sock Pattern worked out wonderfully. It takes a little math, but even if you are math-phobic I don't think it would be too difficult. These socks fit so well and I can't wait to wear them on Thanksgiving Day. Even though in the picture one sock looks taller, they are the same. I just have very limited photo capability on a Monday morning before work. I also will not be wearing them with my jeans rolled up to my knees. :)

These socks were another quick knit, but it's mainly due to the fact that I was home sick all day on Wednesday and that gave me a lotof knitting time. Also, I just can't put down the needles when I'm knitting with Socks that Rock. This was the first time I used the lightweight and I was incredibly happy. It has the same texture and twist that the mediumweight has and it creates a lovely, slightly thinner, but still very warm fabric.

Regarding yardage - I almost ran out. I was very nervous when I was knitting the toe on the first sock. I really wasn't sure I would have enough. I think I had about 3 or 4 yards left. That's cutting it close! Just to give a rough estimate in case others are interested, my calf circumference is a little less than 16 inches around, it's 13 inches from the narrowest part of my ankle to my knee, and my foot is right around 10 inches long. Each skein has 360 yards and I had maybe 10 yards left in the end.

Moving on to new things, the second Pick Up Sticks Club kit arrived a couple days ago. Another winner. The yarn is VvS Painted Yarns, a small Canadian company, and the color is Art Nouveau. The yarn itself reminds a lot of Socks that Rock mediumweight. It's a very similar look and feel though the colors are more subdued. Very elegant. The pattern is another stunning creation. I am currently reorganizing my sock knitting list so that I can cast on for this one soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Can't Type, Must Knit

Knee Sock* #1 is finished! Love it. Awesome fit. Second one already cruising. Turkey Day goal is possible!

No time to type more, must knit.

*Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight in Nodding Violet. Knee Sock pattern here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sock and Stash

The knee sock is growing bit by bit. Due to my being home sick today, there's even a chance I'll finish the first one tonight! Knitting custom sized knee socks sure makes you aware of the size of your calf. Let's just say I have very shapely calves - Moo! :) I'm still enjoying the colors to no end. The variety of purples and greens are so lovely together. (Just a reminder that this is Socks that Rock lightweight in Nodding Violet on size 0's. The pattern can be found here). I'm really hoping to have these done in time to wear to Turkey Day dinner. We'll see, we'll see.

A new skein of sock yarn showed up at my door recently (how does that happen?). Here is the first Sweet Sheep Sock Club mailing. It's lovely C*EYE*BER Fiber Yarn by Mama-E. I joined this sock club because I hadn't tried three of the four featured yarns. This is one of the new-to-me yarns and I was a little worried I wouldn't like it, but let me tell you, this is some soft and luscious yarn. At first glance, I was a little thrown off by the colors. They are not my usual, but after reading the dyer's note about the colors being representative of a sunset I looked at it in a different light. By the next morning I was quite taken with the colors:) I'm very happy and look forward to knitting with it. Now I just have to pick a pattern...

A couple days ago, Ava asked where I got the purple stitch holders I use to keep my double points together. It is a Stitchkeeper by Rollie. The site has all the info and you just email her to order. I absolutely adore these things and highly recommend getting a few. They make dpn sock project incredibly portable - no worry that your stitches will slide off in transit!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Socks and Violets

Marble Arches

Pattern: Marble Arches from the October Rockin' Sock Club, medium size
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Pink Granite mediumweight (Rockin' Sock Club color)
Needles/Gauge: KnitPicks dpns size 1, approx. 8 stitches/inch
Start Date: November 6, 2006
End Date: November 10, 2006
Comments: So I knew I knit these quickly, but until I was typing out my start and end dates I didn't realize how quickly. Yowza! I guess it's just further proof that I am absolutely smitten with Socks that Rock (STR). I simply can't put the needles down when I'm knitting with this stuff. I love the density of the yarn and the soft and smooth fabric it creates. And the colors? Love the colors! Yea!
These socks also mark the first time I've used one of the Rockin' Sock Club patterns. So far I haven't been too keen on any of them, but this one is a big winner. I will definitely be using it again. Possibly in a few weeks with some more STR that just arrived at my house:)
(Oh, and someone asked me where I got my sock blockers - found them on ebay, of course! Just go here and check them out. I really think they are great.)

Here's a little picture of my latest Socks that Rock acquisitions. On the left are two Nodding Violets (lightweight) for my knee socks, then we have a mediumweight Downpour and a lightweight Jingle Bell Rock.

Since the Marble Arches socks were all done, I was able to cast on for my long desired Knee Socks in Socks that Rock lightweight Nodding Violets. I'm using the pattern found here. Jen has is almost finished with a pair using this pattern and they look amazing (Jen - please post a picture of your rockin' knee socks)! So far, so good. The lightweight goes a bit slower than the mediumweight, but it's creating a lovely fabric. The colors are even more beautiful knit up. Hands down, these are my favorite colors. I cannot wait to wear them! (Not sure if I'll wear them with a skirt or not...Am I that brave?)

(The colors of this yarn go from a very dark emerald green to an intense purple. I could not get my camera to behave this morning and this is the best I could do. )

Thursday, November 09, 2006

faster than a speeding train...

The Marble Arches pattern from October's Rockin' Sock Club kit is addicting and fun. I cast on for the first sock Monday night and here it is on Thursday morning and the second sock is already underway! I love the colors of the Pink Granite Socks that Rock. It's funny how it striped around the leg, but for the foot it did some really intense pooling (there is a stitch count change from the leg to the foot). Luckily I love striping as well as pooling - that's why I knit with hand dyed sock yarn:) Having knit a few socks with non-socks that rock lately, I had nearly forgotten how much I love to knit with this stuff. The colors, texture, and substance are all outstanding. I'm hoping to finish these up before I get a little shipment I'm expecting from Blue Moon that will include the yarn necessary to knit some knee highs. Yea!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fastest Sweater EVER (and more socks)!

Rosedale United
Pattern: Rosedale United (knitty) (medium/42 inch size)
Yarn: Noro Kureyon #157
Needles: KnitPicks Options Size 6(US)
Start Date: October 24, 2006
Finish Date: November 3, 2006
Comments: This sweater was a lot of fun; both the colors and the pattern. It's a great way to use Noro Kureyon to its full advantage, showing off all the lovely color changes. I didn't realize until I got to the instructions for the intarsia rectangle that the majority of this sweater is knit back and forth, not in the round as I had assumed. Luckily, Kureyon on size 6 knits up fairly quickly, even when knitting and purling. I almost left out the little intarsia rectangle on the upper back and I kind of wish I had now. It puckers a little even though I made every effort to not strand to tightly at that spot. Oh well, it blocked out pretty well and it may even out more as I wear it. I really love this sweater and I think it may be the one that gets the most use out of my handknit sweater collection. I can just imagine wearing it throughout the winter whenever I need a color pick-me-up:)

Dublin Dragonfly Bay Socks
Pattern: Dublin Bay (pdf link here)
Yarn: Sunshine Yarns Dragonfly
Needles: KnitPicks dpns sizes 1 and 0 (9 stitches per inch on 0's)
Start Date: October 19, 2006
End Date: November 6, 2006
Comments:These are the first pair of Sunshine Yarns I've knit using her new superwash sock yarn. Overall, I'm very happy with the result. The texture of the yarn is rather soft. I did feel the yarn is a tad bit thin and the spin is a little splitty, but the colors more than make up for any lack of enthusiasm I may feel for the actual yarn. Dani of Sunshine Yarns just knows how to pick colors and dye some beautiful yarn. From intense burgundy to soft pale blue, this yarn absolutely reminds me of a dragonfly. I'm glad I have more of this yarn, in a variety of colors, in my stash. :)

And here's what I cast on last night - That's the new Socks that Rock Rockin' Sock Club color Pink Granite using the pattern that came with it (Marble Arches). It has the adorable ruffly cuff. Love it!

***Knitting Group is tomorrow night (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30pm until 8:00pm and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Friday, November 03, 2006


I'm a self-indulgent creature. I have very little self-control when it comes to shopping or eating, hence the large yarn stash and the large Alyssa:) I often give myself incentives to finish tasks I don't like. Usually, since I enjoy knitting, I don't have to give myself too large of an incentive other than "finish something and you get to cast on for a new project" or "finish some socks, buy more sock yarn." Currently it's finish the Dragonfly socks so that you can cast on with that new Pink Granite Socks that Rock!

With my health I find the need to bribe myself with large tangible rewards to get me to make positive changes. When it comes to losing weight the motivation part is easy. I lose weight, I get to buy more clothes (I like clothes shopping). But being healthy is more than losing excess weight. I have to exercise. Good for the heart and body. I hate (HATE!) working out. Therefore, I had to create a system of rewards.

The first prize is tiny. Every time I complete a scheduled workout I have Matt award me a sticker for that day (This is definitely a throw back to when stickers were the common reward for doing well at school. Hmmm, I went from being an A+ student to a slacker in the short time between getting stickers on tests and not getting them. Coincidence?)

The next phase of the plan is that for every two week period where I stick to my workout schedule I get a little reward like going to a movie and getting a small popcorn or Matt will buy me flowers, etc. You get the idea.

So the final step in forcing me encouraging me to workout (which I'm not sure I mentioned before, but I HATE TO WORKOUT!!!!) is to come up with a large enough incentive that I will not miss any workouts for a month. You know what that could be? This glorious bag. It's an Offhand Designs Zelda Tote in Forest Stripe. It's been living in the box it came in and there it will stay until November 21st which will be the completion of a four week period wherein my goal is to not skip any of my 20 scheduled workouts. I want that bag so badly (i hate working out).

What motivates you in life or knitting?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


November Goals
So, October is over and with it numerous projects are complete. Ivy took a little bit longer than I expected so that pushed back the time I had allotted for Rosedale United. Now, with both of these gorgeous sweaters nearly finished (Rosedale should be done by the end of the week), I can focus on this month's goals. I had originally planned on knitting another sweater, but I've decided after doing two back to back that I'll just focus on some smaller projects this month.
Rosedale United WIP - Yoke
1) Socks that Rock Knee Highs (Jen is knitting some and they are great!)
2) Rowan Tapestry Scarf, Mitts, Hat
3) Pure Fall Plain Socks October Rockin' Socks in Socks that Rock Pink Granite (I may get around to the Pure Fall socks sometime this month, but the new Rockin' Sock pattern and yarn are too irresistible to ignore)
4) Dublin Bay socks (pdf) in Sunshine Yarns Dragonfly
5) Another We Call Them Pirates Hat (after the tragic misplacement of the first one)
6) Basic scarf using 100purewool

November is all about portable, easy projects. I didn't get a progress shot of my Dublin Dragonfly socks, but trust me, they are moving along. I started them at the end of October hoping to squeeze them in as a third pair for Socktober, but I got incredibly distracted by Rosedale so that didn't happen. I'm just finishing the first sock. I don't think I'll have any trouble finishing these up sometime over the weekend. Once these are off the needles I'll be starting my first pair of knee socks in the long-coveted Nodding Violets colorway of Socks that Rock (assuming my order gets here soon). Gorgeous!

What's everyone going to be working on this month?

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Rockin' End to Socktober

The Arrival of the Penultimate Socks That Rock Rockin' Sock Kit
Yowza! This kit is hands down my favorite so far. I thought I loved Titania the most, but then Pink Granite was delivered and stole my heart. And the pattern? Awesome!

Occasionally I have pondered whether I really needto join the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to rejoin. I've even been doing a bit of ebay destashing to raise a some cash and free up room in the sock yarn stash. I love Socks that Rock, sock clubs, packages in the mail, the exclusivity (is that a real word?), the excitiment, the drama - Ok, you get the point:)

Are you going to have Rockin' Socks in 2007?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lovely Ivy


Pattern: Ivy (from Knitty), 40 inch size
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Silk in Autumn Purple
Needles: KnitPicks circular size US #2
Start Date: October 1, 2006
End Date: October 28, 2006
Comments: Ivy was a challenging and fun project. The pattern is incredibly well-written. The author was very careful to give the knitter a heads up whenever there was simultaneous shaping which I really appreciated. She also wrote out the pattern for both the left and right fronts rather than simply saying "work right front as you did left. Reverse shaping." I also really liked how the larger decrease sections were hidden in the cable ribbing. Very clever and it looks fantastic! The neck edging was very carefully created. Overall, Ivy is probably one of the best patterns I've ever worked from. While it was an incredible challenging project the author did such a great job in the pattern writing that I never felt lost.

As for the yarn, I really enjoyed working with the Elann Peruvian Highland Silk and boy is it warm! This sweater will keep me toasty all winter, I'm sure. While knitting it I did not notice any pilling. The rich intense color is amazing. I can't believe the price on this stuff!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Changing Colors

I cannot think of a more perfect project to be knitting during the fall season than Rosedale United. The yarn's soft shifts of autumnal hues are reflective of the changing colors of late October leaves. There has been a fabulous show of colors this fall. It is the last burst of vibrancy before a long dark winter. I'm nearly finished with the sleeves and then it's on to the body. I'll begin the finishing of Ivy tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Finishing, Beginning, Continuing, Informing, & Canceling

Ivy is finished! Well, all the knitting is done (except for a little bit of the neck band that you finish once you seam everything together). The sleeves are now blocking and I think I'll assemble it sometime this weekend. I don't ever like to be tired or rushed when sewing seams as I tend to get a little sloppy. So, pictures Monday!?!?

With Ivy off the needles, I officially began Rosedale United. I'm using some Noro Kureyon (#157) that I picked up on a fantastic deal from Web's at Stitches Midwest this fall. I'm knitting the Medium size (42 inch) on size 5 needles. For the sleeve, which you can see the beginning of to the right, I have to use double points and I totally forgot all I have in size 5 double points are some old Lion Brand plastic ones. Oh well. They aren't too horrible. And size 5 knits up much much faster than size 2 (Ivy!). I highly doubt I'll finish it in October, which was the original goal, but it is likely I can complete it within the first week of November. Good thing we get that extra hour this weekend!

And since I always have to have some socks going I've started on some Dublin Bay socks using Sunshine Yarns in Dragonfly. Stunning colors! These socks are going to fly off the needles (get it? Fly? Dragonfly?). Maybe I'll hit three pairs to celebrate Socktober!

Oh, I almost forgot! Aija at sock pr0n has posted the greatest tutorial for weaving in your ends while you knit!!! I tried it last night when I was finishing up the last Ivy sleeve and it works fantastically. Go check it out here!

***Knitting Group is cancelled for tonight (Oct. 25th) due to the planned absence of numerous members. We will resume our regular meetings at the regular place (Border's Cafe in Wilmette) on the regular day (Wednesday - Nov. 1st) at the regular time (6:30pm) next week.***

Monday, October 23, 2006

Enter Descriptive Post Title Here

Ivy is nearing completion. I've finished the back and two front pieces as well as the first sleeve. I'm halfway through the second sleeve and I am working on the miles of 1x1 ribbed tie. I decided to go ahead and block the first few pieces now in anticipation of finishing Ivy (hopefully) sometime towards the end of this week. Yea!

The Arrival of My First Pick Up Sticks Kit
It took me all of 24 hours to sign up for the sock club at Pick Up Sticks. After a couple quick emails with Connie, the friendly owner, I decided to join. Connie offers such a neat selection of hand painted sock yarns that I thought this was a great way to sample them along with getting a new sock pattern every month. (You know I like to knit socks, right?) I am not disappointed with my first kit. In fact, I'm ecstatic. The yarn is Claudia Hand Painted in Twilight. This is a color that I absolutely love, but I'm not sure I would have picked out on my own. The depth of color is amazing with a variety of blues and pinks. Gorgeous. And look at this pattern! Wow! It has a cabled cuff and heel with a lovely lace panel on either side of the leg. I have been dying to cast on for it, but since I already have a sock on the needles I'm resisting, for now.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Chocolate Cherry Stillwater Socks

Chocolate Cherry Stillwater Socks

Pattern: Stillwater from Wildhorse Farm Designs
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted in Chocolate Cherry
Needles: KnitPicks DPNS US 1
Start Date: October 9, 2006
End Date: October 19, 2006
I love love love love love these socks! First of all, the yarn is fantastic. Not a single complaint aside from my usual size 10 desire for more yardage. The spin and texture are identical (at least to me) to Koigu (and the label says Gems so I think we've got a match!). The different browns, reds, and pinks were just so lovely to knit. As for the pattern - wow! Wildhorse Farm Designs' patterns are really nice because they come with written as well as charted pattern instructions. Also, two sizing options are given (determined by gauge) which is a really nice feature for those of us with slightly larger than average footsies. There are even additional instructions if you want to knit these using sportweight. I will absolutely be using this pattern again in the future.

I am also very happy that my fabulous new sock blockers arrived in time for this photo shoot. I've been eyeing these on ebay for ages and finally ordered them because they make the perfect Socktober present (for myself). I really doubt I'll block my socks regularly, but these blockers sure help show of the stitch pattern nicely for blog photos. When I opened the box I thought they looked way too big (I had ordered the large size which is for ladies 10 and up), but my socks all fit them really well. I guess I never realized my foot would look so huge if it was flattened:)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


48 Things You Could Care Less About (found at Inky Knits)

1. FIRST NAME? Alyssa

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My mom's college friend.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? A few weeks ago when I received some sad news about my nephew. (He has been diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome - a genetic defect).

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Most of the time. It's a bit sloppy, but it has character.


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Sure, we would have lots in common.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Not really aside from this blog.


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Probably not. It's just not something I feel a strong desire to do.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Grape Nuts with raisins.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not usually. I strive to only buy shoes I can slip on and off.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I'm not weak, but I'm by no means strong. Strong-willed? Yes! (Except when around sock yarn.)

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Peanut Butter and Chocolate

14. SHOE SIZE? US 10

5. RED OR PINK? Pink.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My mom. I live too far from her.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? It would be fun to see everyone's answers.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jeans, dark grey shirt, black docs.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? South Beach Diet Peanut Butter Breakfast Bar and V8.



23. FAVORITE SMELL? Honeysuckle.



26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Yes.



29. EYE COLOR? Blue

30. HAT SIZE? No idea. I don't really wear fitted hats.




35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter. I strongly dislike summer (not a fan of sweat and sunburns).


37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Sticky Toffee Pudding.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? It will be a surprise.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOUR CURRENTLY READING? Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, World War Z, and the Prestige.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Dell (I'm at work).

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Lost, Biggest Loser, and Ghost Hunters.




46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Knitting and the ability to remember a lot of useless trivia.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Vancouver, Washington.

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Found at Inky Knits.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A little midweek progress report

Ivy is coming along incredibly well. I've now finished the back, the left front piece, and I'm more than halfway through the right front. That just leaves the sleeves and the extremely long tie (over 100 inches!). As I complete each piece I become more anxious to finish it. The Elann Peruvian Highland Silk is knitting up so beautifully- this is going to be one gorgeous sweater! I hope to finish the knitting by the end of this coming weekend. (That will leave only a week in October so I am thinking that my second sweater of the month- Rosedale United - may spill over into November).

The Stillwater Chocolate Cherry Socks are 75% complete. I just need to finish up the foot and toe of the second sock and voila! Another finished pair in Socktober! :) Since I always like to have socks on the needles I may go ahead and cast on for the first pair I have planned for November. I'll be using Sunshine Yarns in Dragonfly to knit my favorite pattern, Dublin Bay (see sidebar for link). The yarn is rather variegated so I think the simplicity of the Dublin Bay lace panel will look fantastic.

Recently on one of the knitting boards I read there was a discussion about how in one's knitting it is usually best to only highlight one of the following: color, texture, or the pattern. In some cases you can have two of these characteristics, such as a lace pattern with a softly variegated yarn or a cable in a silky yarn, but generally you want to emphasize just one. I guess I tend to agree with this thinking for most of my knitting. What do you think?

***Knitting Group is tonight (Wednesday) at the Borders' Cafe in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Skokie). We meet from 6:30 until 8:00 and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***