Thursday, August 31, 2006

End of August

So I'm just half a sock away from finishing my projects for this month. I think I'll be able to finish up the Sock Candy Isosceles Socks by the end of the day, but for now I will distract you with pretty yarn.

Here is the swatch for my next project. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk in Mocha. Absolutely lovely to knit. Just swatching this yarn was luxurious - I can't wait to wear it against my skin. More details in a couple days:)

And here's my latest purchase from Sunshine Yarns. From left to right, Violets, Hungarian Horntail Dragon, and Chinese Fireball Dragon. Recognize the last two names? It's Harry Potter dragon names from the Goblet of Fire! (I'm a nerd).

Finally I present an adorable Kilby picture. I try to keep this blog all about knitting and only occasionally toss in a cat, but when a Kilby bear climbs into your knitting basket, it's just too cute to ignore.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Trekking XXL #71 Socks

Trekking XXL #71 Socks for Matt

Pattern: 6x2 rib using Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns for the framework
Yarn: Trekking XXL #71 (blues)
Needles: KnitPick's dpns in sizes 1 and 0
Start Date: July 31, 2006
End Date: August 26, 2006
Comments: Why oh why did these socks feel like they would never end? It makes no sense. I like the color, it was a simple pattern perfect for movie-watching, the yarn is nice to knit with - geez! I really felt like I would never finish these. Oh well, they are done now and Matt really likes them. Now I can work on finishing up my Isosceles Socks. That should keep me busy over the next couple days.

And look what showed up in the mail recently - this gorgeous Rowan Tapestry. I saw it online and knew I had to have it. I controlled myself and only ordered a little selection, but wow! Wow! The colors! The texture! It's even more lovely in person than I imagined. The Pot Pourri color (on the left) is for me to make a scarf/hat/mitten set while the Rainbow and Whirlpool is to make fingerless gloves for some friends. Fabulous yarn!

Today is Matt's birthday:) We're going to go out for breakfast, play a little mini-golf, hit the driving range, then go to a great little Irish pub. All the birthday fun will start once he is finished meeting with his PhD advisor this morning to determine how his research his progressing and how much longer he has before he defends. Wish him luck!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thar Be Knitting Here

The last few days I've been knitting on a spontaneously chosen project. According to my knitting plan I should be working on Matt's holiday sweater and some socks. However, in the true spirit of pirate life, I've thrown all my lists to the wind (for a couple days) and I've knit the We Call Them Pirates Hat for Matt. Here be the specifics:

We Call Them Pirates Hat

Pattern: We Call Them Pirates
Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style in Coal and Vanilla with leftover Rowan Calmer for the lining.
Needles: Size 5 for the fair isle, size 1 for the lining
Start Date: August 20, 2006
End Date: August 22, 2006
Comments: Matt asked me a few weeks ago if I could knit him a skull and crossbone hat he found online. I told him I wasn't very good at 2-color knitting so I probably wouldn't. Then I decided to give the old fair isle style another shot. This pattern was a blast and it is as close to instant gratification as you can get while still using the words knitting and fair isle. I think this pattern will be knit again - definitely for some of the crew from our last sailing trip:) It looks a little wonky towards the top, but when it's on Matt's head it lays nice and flat. The KnitPicks Merino Style was a delight, as always. Incredibly soft and knits up nicely. (Oh, and Matt loves it!)

I also finally got around to doing the finishing for the Tasha Bag I knit in June. I was dreading the finishing, but it went off without a hitch and now I've got myself a pretty new bag.


Pattern: Tasha from Knitty
Yarn: Rowan Denim in Nashville
Needles: 5's and 6's
Start Date: June 17, 2006
End Date: August 22, 2006
Comments: What can I say? The yarn turns your hands and needles blue. The pattern requires you knit half a dozen pieces then seam them all. But I really love the finished bag. It's all worth it in the end, but halfway through, with blue fingers, I wasn't sure it was worth it.

***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!***

Sunday, August 20, 2006



Pattern: Heather from Rowan's A Season's Tale
Yarn: Jaeger Shetland Aran, Sage Green
Size: 40 inch (the finished sweater is made to allow for 4-5 inches of ease)
Needles: KnitPicks Options sizes 6 and 7
Start Date: July 31, 2006
End Date: August 17, 2006
Comments: There is not one thing that I did not enjoy while knitting this pattern. I love the Jaeger Shetland Aran yarn. I love the simple yet lovely Rowan pattern. I love the color. I love the finished sweater. This sweater will be worn happily and often this coming winter. I didn't alter the pattern at all and it knit up rather quickly. From the moment I saw this pattern in the book I knew I had to knit it. I just love the big flat cable crossings.

I am very pleased with my finishing on this sweater. My sweater-finishing skills have improved immensely since my first seaming attempt a little less than two years ago. I've really learned to slow down and take the time to put it all together neatly and correctly. No point knitting something for weeks to only mess it up on the last day:)

Oh, and look what came in the mail recently:
My very own Socks that Rock in the Lucy colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. This color was inspired by Wendy's cat Lucy (Wendy Knits blog). Laska however was greatly displeased by this and forced me to cross out Lucy's name and put her own. Who am I to say no to a spoiled Siamese cat? :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Supposed to be

This post was supposed to be about my finished Heather sweater. Well, after spending all last night seaming it, I decided to give it another quick bath and as everyone in the Chicago-area knows, it's a tad bit humid right now so it's anyone's guess when it will be dry.

So, I will distract you with the lovely little notecard and stitchmarkers Kim sent. She has put out a request for sock yarn scraps so that she can knit a sock yarn log cabin blanket (crazy!). Well, as you may have noticed, I've knit a few socks and I almost always have scraps. In return for my bag of sock yarn scrap balls Kim sent me the cutest stitchmarkers (and a check to cover postage!). Thank you, Kim! I'll be sure to send all future sock yarn leftovers your way:)

I'll leave you with a picture of the not nearly finished Trekking XXL #71 socks. I spent so much time seaming that sweater last night, I didn't get a chance to knit at all! (Plus I played Ages of Empires II for a few hours -hehe).
These socks are going to be great when they are done, but I'm starting to doubt they ever will be. Not sure why they are taking so long. I really like the yarn, the color, and the pattern (6x2 rib). Oh well, I'm sure if I just spent an evening on them I would finish them in no time.

Look for the finished Heather posting this weekend!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yarn Hangover

Days later and I'm still basking in the afterglow from the Stitches Market. I had a wonderful time and I have been busy admiring all my newly acquired yarn. I've been occupying myself trying to figure out what pattern to use with each of the new sock yarns - that may be my favorite way to pass the time when I'm not actually knitting.

For knitting progress, I have completed all the parts of Heather and it is blocking and drying quietly (or as quietly as it can with a 7 pound Siamese cat draped across it who cleverly moved the moment I brought the camera out). Seaming and finishing should happen within the next couple days depending on drying time.

The Trekking #71 socks seem to have no end. I've been knitting on them at odd times for a couple weeks now and so far I've only gotten the first one done. Maybe I can get the second one finished by the end of the week.

I've also started another pair of socks in the wonderful Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Candy in Cherries Jubilee, their cotton sock yarn. I really love the way it knits up. Wonderfully springy fabric. The pattern is the Isosceles pattern from Wildhorse Farm Designs. There are quite a few nice patterns on that site - I'm sure I'll be getting more. I think the Isosceles pattern works very nicely with this lightly variegated yarn, but I'm curious to see how it will work with a more heavily contrasted colorway. Guess I'll be knitting this pattern again. :)

***Knitting GROUP is tomorrow night (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!***

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Stitches Midwest 2006

August in the Chicago area brings not only more unbearable heat and humidity (thought it's actually pretty nice weather right now), it also heralds the arrival of Stiches Midwest and the glorious Market. This year none of the classes called out to me so it was all about the Market.

I went with my friend, Alice, and had fun seeing my friends from knitting GROUP. We had a terrific time. My group was all very concerned that I would buy up all the Socks that Rock at Blue Moon Fiber Arts before they got there, but I left them a few skeins:) Here's Alice buying up some lovely sock yarn at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. We actually ended up at that booth three times during the day! The booth was packed from the moment the Market opened. There's no denying those sock yarns really rock.

It was neat to meet Debra, one of the dyers, and Kaci, who helps coordinate the sock club as well as do all the things necessary to make Socks that Rock rock. (I asked her about the Rockin' Sock Club for next year and she said they should be able to accommodate pretty much everyone as their new production centers are much much bigger - yea!) There were so many amazing colors to pick from - pictures further on in this post.

During the afternoon we ran into fellow knitting GROUP member, Jen, and her mom, Margaret. They were having fun picking out the best colors at Brooks Farm. Look at those gorgeous blues. Mmmm, Brooks Farm. Other fellow knitting GROUP members, Claire, Lynae, Liz, Kathy, and Adrienne, were all enjoying the Market too. It was fun running into each other occasionally and seeing what purchases had been made. I think our next meeting on Wednesday will be a great show-and-tell.

So enough with the words, here's the wool!

Here are the most drool-worthy acquisitions - my new Socks that Rock and Sock Candy!

Top photo from left to right: Covelite, Cracked Canyon, Spot Rock Two, Smoky Topaz, and Rooster Rock.
Bottom photo from left to right: Lovers Leap, Rock My World, Blue Brick Wall, Philosopher's Stone, Kabuki (Sock Candy), and Hurricane (Sock Candy).

I can't wait to figure out what to knit with each skein. I made sure to pick out a few colors that were Matt-friendly as he hasn't gotten any Socks that Rock socks yet. This yarn is simply beautiful. As we shopped around the Market I kept stopping Alice to look in our Blue Moon Fiber Arts bags to admire the beauty. Yea! Socks that Rock! (We won't go into the fact that I'd been having anxiety dreams all week about them being sold out before I got there:)

Next stop was Brooks Farm. I couldn't resist picking up a little more Brooks Farm Four Play. I picked out a couple colors and I think I'll make simple tops with it. Inspired by the Reluctant Mango's beautiful T-Twist top from Knitty, I may try adding that twist edging to the Shaped Neck Tee pattern.

One thing I really kept an eye out for was sock yarn in colors that would appeal to Matt (aside from the super Socks that Rock). I had some luck finding some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Colortweed #1008 and a couple balls of Trekking XXL (#69 and #102). I also couldn't resist the bright colors of the Trekking XXL #136 for myself.
Webs was there with their terrific bargains. I had been busy pricing Noro Kureyon the last few weeks because I plan on knitting Rosedale United (from Knitty) sometime this winter. Well luck would have it that a really great color of Kureyon was on Stitches Special sale (even cheaper than their website!). It's color #157 and has lovely purples, greens, and rust.

My final big splurge was a couple bargain bags of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran at half off. This red color is just gorgeous. I had picked up the Knitting Pure and Simple Shaped Cardigan #241 pattern earlier and I think this yarn will be perfect for it.

Oh, and I had my first blogger sighting. While at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth someone asked me if I had a blog because they recognized me! It was Heather from Yarn Liberation Front. Hi!

There you have it. It was a fantastic day overall and I was exhausted by the end. I think Stitches Midwest Market 2006 was a success:)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shaped Neck Tee

I realized I never got around to posting my finished Shaped Neck Tee from June, so here it is:
Shaped Neck Tee

Pattern: Shaped Neck Tee
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Peacock (discontinued color)
Needle: KnitPicks Options size 4 and 6
Start Date: June 22, 2006
Finish Date: July 1, 2006
Comments: Very nice easy knit. The Rowan Calmer was a pleasure to knit with though I did unfortunately have to track down a sixth ball because I was a few yards short in the end:( The amazing story regarding getting a sixth ball is that I had purchased the first five off of ebay a couple months ago. The sixth ball I ordered from a little store in England. It arrives and I could not believe it when I compared the dyelots. It was from the same dyelot! That was lucky. I really like this color and the fit is very good (I knit the large size). I can easily see making more of these in different colors and yarns (especially the recommended allhemp yarn). Overall a nice project due to a good pattern and luscious yarn.

Progress is being made on both Heather and the Trekking XXL #71 socks. I'm almost done with the front of Heather and then it's on the sleeves.

I've also been busy making up my shopping/wish list for Stitches Midwest this weekend. No classes for me this year, but that just means I can spend a little more on yarn, right? I'm most looking forward to seeing all the lovely wares at Blue Moon Fiber Arts and Brooks Farm. I'm sure my credit card will get a workout:)

***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, August 07, 2006

Sweater Status and a Finished Project

This weekend was filled with excellent Indian food with friends, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, the fifth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the Lakeshore Arts Festival, and a bit of knitting. Here' s a picture of the knitting. I finished up the back of Heather and I've made solid progress on the front. I'm hoping to finish this piece up in a couple days so that I can knit the sleeves and finish up by the end of the coming weekend. We'll see how that goes.

The Trekking #71 sock looks very much like it did last time. Busy weekends cut into knitting time. Instead here's a little finished object from June (I finally put the liner in...hand-sewing is a pain. I really need to buy a little sewing machine).

Chinese Charm Bag

Pattern: Chinese Charm Bag from Stitch 'N Bitch
Yarn: Noro Gemstones (discontinued)
Needles: size 10 Denise Needles
Start Date: June 24, 2006
End Date: Knitting done June 25, 2006 - Finishing happened on August 6, 2006

Comments: Overall I really enjoyed knitting this bag. It was a quick project aside from actually hand-sewing the liner. I haven't sewn for years and I didn't do the best job. Maybe someday I'll redo the lining, but for now I will hope that Pikachu makes up for any poor sewing by being so darn cute:) The bag used 4 skeins of the now discontinued Noro Gemstones. I wish they hadn't discontinued that yarn line though because it was lovely to knit with and the resulting fabric is stunning.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday progress

You may notice this photo is a little bigger than usual. That is to distract you from the fact that not too much is happening here. I'm up to the armhole shaping on Heather and I'm about to turn the heel on good ol' Trekking XXL #71 sock.

The oppressive heatwave is moving on, but it's still hot. I don't like hot. My people are from frozen tundras not tropical climes. I cannot wait until autumn with the crisp air and cool winds. I don't remember not being hot, do you?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August Goals

Yowza! July was a blast! Six pairs of socks was the goal and I ended up with....six pairs of socks. Hooray!

Now on to my August goals. For this month, sweaters are back on the list. For myself I will knit Heather from Rowan's A Season's Tale pattern book. I am using some gorgeous Jaeger Shetland Aran in a sage green color that works very well with this pattern. I started knitting the back Monday night and I've already made terrific progress. After all that sock yarn, this aran weight yarn feels like rope (really nice soft rope)!

This month I will also knit a sweater for Matt. He reads this blog now and again so, unfortunately, to keep it a bit of a surprise, I will not blog about his sweater until after it is finished and gifted to him sometime around the winter solstice. He knows about the yarn (he helped pick it out), so here' s a picture of lovely Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in Licorice that will become his sweater.

Aside from the two big sweater projects, I will be knitting various socks as well. Here's a picture of the sock I've started for Matt. It's in Trekking XXL #71 in a basic 6x2 rib. I will also probably knit another pair for myself with a new pattern I just purchased from Wildhorse Farm Designs. Maybe some leg warmers too (nothing says "August!" like leg warmers). After completing six pairs last month, I'm not putting any pressure on myself sockwise in August so if these socks get done, great! If not, I won't stress about it:) I have been considering joining Sock Wars, but I'm just not looks like a lot of fun though...hmmm.

Many thanks to the Crazy Colorado Knitter she gave me some great advice about using photos on my new Mac. Firefox did the trick! Thank you.

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


Ugh. So, yesterday Matt and I got our new computer. We found out a couple weeks ago that the his brother was wanting his computer back (we've been using it for the past year) so we started looking for a new one. After a lot of thought we decided to go for an Apple. We both had only ever used PC's, but after so many crashes, we thought maybe Apple was the way to go. I used to play a lot of computer games which was the main attraction to the PC, but now, all the good titles end up on Mac anyway.

Anyway, long story short, our beautiful new Apple is all set up and I've already had a lot of fun playing with it. Unfortunately I have no idea how to quickly use iPhoto and hence my well-written and fascinating blog post that was all ready to go sans pictures is on hold until I figure stuff out tonight.


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