Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Doktorfisch is In

Opal Rainforest Doktorfisch
Pattern: My own 2x2 rib sock with Eye of Partridge heel
Yarn: Opal Rainforest Doktorfisch (Fish)
Needles: Pony Pearl 1's and 0's (gauge 9 stitches per inch)
Start Date: March 13, 2006
End Date: March 28, 2006
Comments: This yarn was a lot of fun. I can't believe I even got the stripes to match (pretty much). I expect these will soften up considerably as M's Opal Tiger socks just keep getting softer with each wash.

The Cherry Tree Hill Old Rose Socks are 75% complete. I'm hoping to finish them up tonight. That yarn is such a treat to knit with. So soft and plush.

Non-sock projects are in the near future. I'll be doing some swatching over the next couple days to decide what I'm going to be knitting in April. Of course, whatever it is, there will still be sock knitting too:)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Elusive Vesper Sock Yarn in Captivity

My last purchase before the FEAP (fiber enhancement alleviation program) was some Vesper Sock Yarn. An email went out from Kpixie Thursday night announcing that 20 skeins would go on sale Friday at a specific time. I somehow lucked out and ended up with two in my shopping cart. Kpixie sent them out Saturday and Monday they arrived. Here is the pride and joy of my sock yarn stash. On the left is Astro, on the right Strange Little Mama. Lovely lovely lovely. They will keep me company during the FEAP.

**Knitting GROUP is tonight, but due to construction at the Borders in Wilmette we will be meeting from 6:30-8:00 at the Starbucks just a few doors down from the Borders in the same shopping area (it's just past the Bed Bath & Beyond). See you at Starbucks tonight!**

Monday, March 27, 2006

It's come to this...

It was only a matter of time. I am officially on a yarn diet. But, as I hate the negative connotation of the word diet, I will simply call it my fiber enhancement alleviation program or FEAP. The FEAP began at 3:09 p.m. on March 24th, mere seconds after I clicked the confirm order button to capture some of the much sought after Vesper sock yarn. As I'm sure you noticed from earlier posts, this FEAP was a long-time in the making. I'm going to follow a strict no yarn-buying regiment until Stitches Midwest this fall. Then I will evaluate my progress and determine my YMI (yarn mass index). There is one acceptable moment of positive stash enhancement during this FEAP. I may purchase one pair of socks worth of yarny goodness around the time of my birthday. One. That's it. So, now onto the knitting...

Kristina Bag

  • Pattern: Kristina Bag by Black Sheep Bags
  • Yarn: Cascade 220 Cranberry and Noro Kureyon #130
  • Start Date: March 25, 2006
  • Finish Date: March 25, 2006
  • Comments: Terrific pattern and great weekend project. I originally bought this as a kit on ebay from one of my favorite sellers, emtnestr , but you can also buy the pattern separately from other retailers. I knit this up during Saturday and felted it Sunday. The Cascade 220 and Kureyon felted very quickly - only took 1 and 1/2 washes through the washing machine. The pattern was neat and the color changes in the Kureyon allow for a really nifty effect. I would most definitely do this pattern again.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Two Socks, But Not a Pair

The week has gone by in a haze. Last weekend, I hosted my little sister-in-law's bridal shower. I drove 6 hours Friday night, finished up details on Saturday, hosted the shower (50 guests!), and then drove back to Chicagoland that night so that I could be at computer training the next day at work. The Bride really enjoyed her shower and so all the stress was worth it, but I think that was the last shower I'm ever hosting. Ever. Some people really enjoy the whole party planning process. I find it very stressful. I'm always concerned things will look stupid or no one will enjoy the party. I'm great at small dinner party-type parties, but go above 8 guests and I'm a bit freaked. Anyway, it's all over (yea!) and the point of this ramble is that I didn't get to knit at all last weekend (unbelievable). Then, throughout this whole week I've been in a fuzzy brained fog and all I've been doing is knitting my socks.

As you know from the last post (with the bajillion skeins of sock yarn) I have plenty of socks to knit. This time around I'm knitting two different socks at the same time. Not on 2 circulars or anything. Just my usual double point needles (this is the last dance with those Pony Pearls, I think - I just don't like them). Normally I make it a point to only have one pair of socks going at a time, but I'm actually really enjoying having two. I've been alternating which I work on and it seems to be going faster. The first sock (Cherry Tree Hill in Old Rose, Dublin Bay pattern -pdf) is complete and its mate is on the needles with a few inches knit. The second sock is the Opal Rainforest Fish using my made up 2x2 rib sock pattern with an Eye of Partridge heel (love that heel).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Where Did All This Sock Yarn Come From?

So...I've been ordering a lot of sock yarn. A lot.

First -Trekking XXL that I ordered from a great little store in Germany. Even with the shipping, the yarn was cheaper by skein than what I could find in the U.S. and they had a fantastic selection of colors. The shipping was the same whether I ordered 4 or 8 skeins, so of course, I went with eight:) The colors are (from left to right): 126, 107, 06, 66, 100, 78, 71, and 105 . I think this is the order I'll knit them:) I LOVE them. I keep taking the skeins out of the box to look at them and admire the colors. The two darker ones are for socks for M. The rest are for me me me!

Then we have a lovely little order from Simply Sock Yarn. That store consistently impresses me with their customer service and prices. (Plus they ship really quickly.) Here we have Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in the long desired Old Rose colorway, Fleece Artist Merino in one of their new colors,Rose Garden, and two skeins of Opal Rainforest in Doktorfish and Chameleon. The Old Rose and Doktorfish are both on the needles already! (Pictures of socks in progress to come...) The Cherry Tree Hill is a pleasure to knit. I keep stopping knitting just to look at the gorgeous fabric it is creating. I am so addicted to sock knitting!

Then, there is lots of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock from Angelika's Yarn Store . I highly recommend this store - she carries just about every color of Lorna's Laces in stock and her customer service was extraordinary. Fast shipping too. Her prices on Shepherd Sock are a little higher than some other places, but it's well worth it for the selection and service. Here's the yarn from left to right: Pacific Berries (exclusive color to her store), Turquoise, Blackberry, Carol Green, Douglas Fir, and Bittersweet.

Finally (and I mean finally!), 2 skeins of mediumweight Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock arrived on my doorstep. I have been in constant contact with Toni at the Fold determining when she would be getting more, what colors did they have, etc. Toni is a delight to work with and put up with my pestering:) I had been waiting for the lightweight, but apparently Blue Moon Fiber Arts has been having a little trouble with it lately and since the mediumweight is still definitely sock weight, I pounced on a couple skeins right when they became available. Here we have Hot Flash and Harvest Moon. I. Love. Them. Love. Love. Love. The colors and the texture. Love. Love. Love.

So, there you have it. My outrageous splurge on sock yarn (thankfully the tax refund covers the new camera and most of this yarn) and I love it all. No regrets:) I've been having a lot of fun planning out what pattern to use for each skein. I love my sock yarn stash! So, which are your favorites?

Friday, March 17, 2006

In the nick of time....

Prairie Blanket:

  • Pattern: Prairie Blanket from Oat Couture
  • Yarn: Cascade Sierra in lavender (#29) - Picture of full blanket is truer to color.
  • Needle: Size 7 Denise
  • Start Date: March 3, 2006
  • End Date: March 15, 2006
  • Comments: Lovely pattern. Center garter section became a little tedious, but it made for great TV watching knitting. Overall I am pleased with the Cascade Sierra. It has a little more give than just plain cotton (it is 80% pima cotton and 20% wool). It is still mostly cotton so my hands would still ache a little after too much knitting. It washed up very nicely. While the label says to hand wash and lay flat to dry, the Cascade website said one could machine wash cold and machine dry low. I did the latter with happy results. I'm giving the blanket to my mom this weekend so that she can take it to the baby shower I have to miss next weekend:( I hope my friends like it!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Upload Complete

Ok, got my internet connection, again. Here's how far I got on my Nor-Way hat in class Saturday. Unfortunately my gauge became significantly tighter as we went along (I was practicing doing 2-handed fair isle) so I may need to find a small hatless child to give this to once it's done. Arnhild's hat technique is very clever and I'm sure I'll make another (adult-sized) hat for next winter.

And here is the yarn that followed me home from Wool & Company. Here we have Claudia Hand Painted in Red Wagon and Koigu in p812. It was so hard to pick from their fantastic selection of colors, but these were so springy I couldn't resist.

Dublin Bay Seaside Socks:
Pattern: Dublin Bay (link opens pdf)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Seaside
Needles: Size 0 pony pearl double point needles (gauge was 9/inch)
Start Date: February 28, 2006
Date Finished: March 11, 2006
Comments: There is nothing I don't like about this pattern or yarn. Dublin Bay is becoming my standard pattern as it allows handpainted yarn to show off it's color, but it adds a little interest with the lace panel. It has the Eye of Partridge heel which I just love. Nope, I love it all. The yarn was a delight to work with. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock has such a nice spin to it and I really enjoy the fully saturated colors. There will always be more Dublin Bay and Lorna's Laces socks in my future (I've already started my next Dublin Bay!).

Monday, March 13, 2006

Saturday Class

Saturday found me up bright and early driving out to Wool & Company for a class with Arnhild on Hats the Nor-Way. There were about 16 other knitters and Arnhild. She was a delightful woman. Great sense of humor and a fabulous knitter - what else do you need?

Being the blogging dork that I am, I brought out my camera much to Claire's discomfort. As you can see, she was not interested in being photographed. She was nice enough to let me get the following "action" shot though. After class we had to run by the Wool & Company shop. What a great store! Huge selection and very good prices - I couldn't leave empty handed so I picked up a little Koigu and some Claudia Hand Painted sock yarn. (Due to technical (Comcast) difficulties, yarn pictures and a picture of what I knit during class will appear tomorrow or the next day.)

The Dublin Bay Socks are done. The prairie baby blanket is less than 1 skein away from being done. I've started new socks. Pictures soon...

Knitting GROUP is tonight - 6:30 to 8:00 at the Borders in Wilmette (Lake and Skokie) - see you there!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Update

So just a quick update on my knitting for the week. The Dublin Bay Socks are progressing very well as I'm pretty much knitting on them exclusively. I'm so focused on sock knitting right now and the Lorna's Laces (in Seaside) is just so smooth and pretty.

I'm also trying out some Pony Pearl double point needles for the first time. Kathy from knitting GROUP recommended them. They are nice, but I still like my regular bamboo ones better...The Pony Pearl's flexibility is very good, but I like a pointier tip. I'll give them a couple more tries though just to be sure. It's funny how everyone has a different preference for needles.

Here's a close-up of the Eye of Partridge heel flap as well. It's not the best photo and the sock hasn't been blocked yet, but it gives you an idea of what a pretty slip stitch pattern it is.

And here's a not-so-thrilling picture of the Prairie Blanket I'm chugging away on for my friends' baby. The Cascade Sierra is pleasant enough, but I really prefer working with more elastic fibers, like wool. My hands get a little achey if I work on this for too long. I'm over halfway done now with one week until it's deadline, so I think I'll make it! (Then I can knit more socks...hehehe).

Tomorrow I am going to Wool & Company with Claire to take a class on Norwegian style knitting with Arnhild. The class is called Hats the Nor-Way. I actually bought the yarn and pattern from Arnhild at last years Stitches Midwest, but I hadn't gotten to it yet. Then I saw that this class was being offered and I thought it would be a great way to really learn how to work with two colors. I'm very excited to take the class as well as see the yarn store. All the details in my next post.

And thank you to everyone for your compliments on Sesame! I think she'll make her debut this weekend:)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Snowy Sunday

A snowy Sunday is perfect for a little project finishing. I present the finished Sesame (and yet another photo of unphotogenic me):


Pattern: Sesame from

Size: 38 inch

Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton in Smalt

Needle: Denise Interchangeables in size 6 (5.25 stitches per inch)

Start Date: February 2, 2006 (took break for Knitting Olympics)
Finish Date: March 5 2006

Comments: Very easy knit. No real problems with the pattern. (I made a slightly smaller size than I wear now as I'm attempting to lose a bit of weight). Really liked knitting with the Rowan Wool Cotton, excellent drape. Overall I'm pretty happy with this cardigan.

Other weekend knitting involved frogging the baby blanket and restarting (I was doing something strange with the YO's - don't ask). I'm almost 1/2-way done with it now. It's an easy knit. The garter stitch in the center is a bit tedious, but looks really nice. No pics as it is not real exciting right now all bunched up on a circular.

Dublin Bay Socks are not getting much attention, but I expect that to change soon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Tigrrrrrrr Socks!

Opal Tiger Socks

Pattern: My own with the help of Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, 3x1 rib

Yarn: Opal Rainforest in Tiger

Needle: Bamboo DPN's in sizes 1 and 0

Start Date: January 11, 2006

Finish Date: February 28, 2006

Comments: As I knitted I really enjoyed the color striping, but I found the yarn a little scratchy. I was nervous they would not soften up too much, but the night M washed them he pulled them out of the laundry basket and declared they were "so soft." Wooo, that's a relief. I didn't want him tromping around in scratchy socks! He wore them yesterday for the first time and told me they were great. Yea!

Oat Couture Prairie Blanket

I am continually amazed that a box of simple yarn can become something. Above is the Cascade Sierra in Lavender that is on it's way to becoming a blanket to keep my friends' baby cozy. I'm using the Oat Couture Prairie Blanket pattern and so far so good. The Sierra is pretty nice to knit with, but it's a little splitty. However, unlike straight cotton, this 80% cotton, 20% wool blend has a little more give so it's not killing my hands. Now, let's just see how quickly I can knit this up! Oh, and does anyone have any experience with machine washing and drying this yarn? I've heard it does well....I hope the rumors are true:)

Dublin Bay Sock in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Seaside

Yep, it's another sock. This yarn is so incredibly nice to work with and the striping effect is pretty neat. It's difficult to photograph the lace panel, but I assure you it is there and it is very pretty:) This pattern also has my favorite heel flap - the Eye of Partridge. It's a regular slip stitch heel flap, however the slip stitch rows are shifted so as to create a pattern (it really looks best when you are using variegated yarn). I'll take a close up heel flap picture tomorrow as it is a little hard to see in this one.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blocking with Cats

First of all, thank you! Thank you to everyone who left such lovely compliments about my Baltic Sea Stole. As you can see in my sidebar, I've added my "gold medal" designed by the fabulous Franklin . Definitely a great prize:)

So, what have I been doing since the Knitting Olympics have ended? I've been knitting. I finished up the last sleeve of Sesame. It's now all blocking. I felt it was necessary to include two photos here. One shows a peaceful blocking scene. All the various pieces, a blocking board, etc. It looks very sane. Well, I've included the second photo to show that blocking with cats is not an easy thing. All three hover at first. Then they insert themselves wherever I need to be. I use blocking wires and unfortunately blocking wires look exactly like one of their favorite toys (a wire with some cardboard on the end). So, maybe it's my fault. Maybe I trained them to attack. Laska also has a nasty habit of pulling out each pin one by one. She doesn't do anything with the pins. Just pulls one out, drops it, moves on to the next one. Weird.
I'm hoping Sesame will be dry tonight so that I can finish it up. I got the coolest buttons too. Stay tuned for updates:)

I also finished M's tiger socks. I'll get some pictures tonight. M loves them and is wearing them today. Details to come...

I also started another Dublin Bay Sock (link opens a PDF), this time in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Seaside. I'm already at the gusset decreases on the first sock. The combination of the lovely Dublin Bay pattern and the wonderfully smooth Shepherd Sock yarn makes for nice quick knitting. Pictures soon, I promise.

Tonight I really need to get started on a baby blanket I'm going to make for two good friends' future child. I want to get the blanket done in time to take it when we next visit our hometown in a couple weeks. I need to get knitting! Guess what? No pictures yet....

Oh, and I've been ordering a lot of sock yarn online....A lot. Pictures as soon as it all begins to arrive:)