Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Don't faint - I'm actually posting something...

It's been a loooong time, hasn't it? I guess I sort of went into a bit of a depression and lost interest for a while in my poor blog. However, I didn't lose interest in my knitting and have knitted tons. I now have 18 pairs of handknitted socks in my sock drawer and my Dad has 3 pair in his. Woohoo! I've knit a few shawls but still haven't worked up the nerve to try a sweater. My excuse? I was waiting until I lost weight so that I wouldn't have to knit so much. Hey, I lost 40 pounds and that makes a big difference sweater-wise!

I've taken pics of almost everything I knit, so I'll be posting pics of my FO's. Be prepared to see lots of socks!

I saw this and had to do it:

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Call off the search - she's alive!

Over a month since I last posted... yikes! It was a very busy month with our business and the days just seemed to end before I knew it.

I did manage to finish a couple of pairs of socks. The Embossed Leaves socks are finished and I'm quite pleased with them. I had plenty of yarn left over and could have done another repeat on the leg, but I wasn't about to rip them back and knit them over.

I didn't bother with trying to make the socks match. I'm fine with them the way they are.

I like the smooth heel flap with the purled edges. Hopefully, it'll stand up to wear.

Finished with a star toe. Another first for me and I like the look of it. The pattern is a bit difficult to see with this yarn, but I like it.

Pattern: Embossed Leaves from Interweave Knits Winter 2005
Yarn: Austerman Step
Needles: Addi Turbo US 0 using 2 circs

I really enjoyed this pattern. It was easy enough to be a take-along project but not so easy that I got bored. The yarn is soft and springy albeit a bit splitty. I'm dubious about the aloe and jojoba benefits in the yarn but I guess I'll find out in time.

I found this in my mailbox last week:

I'm really not sure how I ended up ordering it. It must have been sleep deprivation. Yeah, that's it. I don't even remember how I came upon it. I mean, I wasn't (really!) actively looking for silk yarn but when I saw it on the Little Knits site, I was absolutely mesmerized by the colors. I finally decided on the Indian Summer and Dusk colorways and placed an order. Within 3 days I was taking it out of my mailbox. Boy, was I impressed! Sue Little shipped it out the same day I ordered it and even included a handwritten note of thanks on the receipt.

Let me tell you, this is some beautiful yarn! The colors are deep and rich and it's got that lovely silk crunch when I squeeze it. I've got them sitting right by my desk where I can ogle them on an hourly basis.

That's about all I've got time for right now. I've got a pair of finished Elfine socks and a couple of partly finished lace shawls for my next post. Oh, and a few (okay, 14) skeins of Koigu that I got on a field trip with Monica last weekend. We had a fun day!

This morning I'm going to meet my Mom's best friend, Linda, her friend Bernice and Bernice's boss, Melody, in Palm Desert. Yes, Palm Desert. In mid-July. Yahoo weather shows that it is supposed to be 119 degrees there today. Yes, I agree. I'm nuts. But, there's a good reason that we're going. We're meeting at a yarn/fabric/bead store. Enough said. I'll be taking plenty of water with me and towels to cover the black leather seats, which are inside a black car. That I'm taking to the desert in mid-July. I know, I know. I'm nuts.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Is it just me?

For Christmas, my sister gave me a gorgeous ball of recycled sari silk yarn. I do mean gorgeous. As in bee-yoo-ti-ful! The colors were deep and rich - burgundys, reds, fuschias, teals and even a bit of lime green. I was totally enamored of it. It was big, too - 249 grams!

For months it sat next to my desk, where I could gaze lovingly at. I'd pick it up and heft it in my hand, marveling at it's weight. I'd turn in over and over, admiring the deep, rich colors and drinking in their beauty.

I'd dream of different projects to use it in, never settling on one. This had to be used in something very special. Something that would show off the beauty of the yarn in all it's splendor.

The silk had been spun into a delicate yarn - somewhere between fingering and sport weight. Oh, how I longed to knit with this lovely yarn, but still I held out for that perfect project. Finally, I decided on a simple shawl. I'd use the same pattern as I'd used on my lovely green silk. It would be perfect!

Excitedly, I set up my ball winder and swift in the family room and proceeded to wind my treasure onto the swift. I wanted to see how much yardage the skein actually held. As I wound, the colors began to change and lighten. How wonderful - the silk was graduating from dark to light! The light in room was not very good, so I couldn't quite make out the details. No matter, I'd soon be able to examine it fully under my Ott Lite.

On and on I wound and then, oh darn, a knot. No matter. I'll be able to work around that. Then shortly, Rats, I came across a complete break in the yarn. Ah well, no matter, I'll just start a new yarn cake. Deciding to forgo measuring the yardage, I started winding the yarn from the swift to the ball winder. I could hardly wait to start knitting!

I finished winding the first ball and began to wind directly from what remained of the original yarn ball. As I gazed at the ball I'd just wound, I could see that there was a very noticable difference in color between the two balls. Hmmm, would I start with the lighter color at the bottom of the shawl and end up with the darker, richer colors around my shoulders or vice versa? I wished that the lighting in the room were better so that I could see what the lighter colors were.

At last, I finished winding and took the 2nd ball off the winder. This second ball was bigger and felt a bit different than the first one. Excitedly, I made my way to my Ott Lite, sat down with my treasured yarn and turned on the light.

Hmmm. Is it just me or is there a difference between these two balls?

What the ...??? Are my eyes deceiving me? If I hadn't just wound these balls myself, I never would have believed that they had come from the same ball.

I slumped to the floor in utter dejection. My yarn, my beautiful yarn - it was all a lie! All these months I had treasured it and it was all a deception. A few yards of beauty wrapped around ugliness. "Oh, the humanity!", I screamed to the heavens. My dreams were gone, my hopes for a beautiful, richly colored shawl were dashed.

Hmmm, what can I knit with a small amount of furry string?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Amazing Lace!

Well, here we are at the beginning of the Amazing Lace! Selection is down to the final three and a decision must be made by Captain Lindsey. In the running are: Indigo Zephyr, Peacock Zephyr and Ruby Zephyr. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and it's not going to be easy to choose just one. Let's see what our group is up to.

Ruby is intensely studying the Summer into Fall shawl pattern, trying to decide on the best plan of attack. Indigo and Peacock seem to be calculating how far it is to Hawaii. Uh, does anyone know about any plans to go to Hawaii? No, me neither.

Moving on!

Ruby is really working those circulars in preparation for the task ahead. She jumps that thing so fast you can hardly see her feet!

Hmm, I guess Indigo and Peacock are just resting up a bit before they start their training.

After jumping rope, Ruby moves right on to the swift. Wow, look at her go!

Indigo and Peacock seem to be working on... uh... their tans...

Boy that Ruby is a real fireball! Here she is, well into the 8th mile of her daily 10 mile jog. Watch out for that car, Ruby!

Indigo and Peacock seem to be taking a nap...

After a refreshing shower, Ruby enjoys a healthy snack of carrots and celery.

What the ...??? Did they drink half that bottle of tequila already? Oh for crying out loud, somebody get Indigo some coffee!

Well, the competition has been a joke fierce. Captain Lindsey needs a teammate who works hard and is willing to go the extra mile. She's ready to make her announcement. Shhh, everybody listen!

And the winner is...


Just kidding...

It's Ruby!!! Hooray! Hardworking, dependable AND good-looking! Let's have another look at our winner.

Congratulations, Ruby - great job!

Tune in next time to check out the progress our new team has made!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

One of those (knitting) days...

Thursday was one of those days where nothing seems to work out properly. Jim is up in Northern California for a few days and I thought it would be a good time for getting lots of knitting done. Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

I was slammed with work during the day. On top of that, I was trying to get a brand new program set up and was back and forth on the phone with the software designer. He's the type that thinks you're an idiot if you don't intuitively understand something. Apparently, this is the type of software that conveys it's information by osmosis. Unfortunately for me, my cells seemed to be impermeable that day and I absorbed nothing. He never did finish sneering at helping me, so I've got to call him again on Monday. Oh joy.

I finally got time to sit down with my knitting late that evening. I wasn't in the mood for sock knitting, so I looked through some of my UFO's. Ah, just the thing! I pulled out the blue Via Diagonale that I hadn't worked on since January. It takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to knit but it's a good, mindless pattern and I could sit and talk with Mum while working on it. When Mum was in the hospital, I'd sit beside her bed all day and knit on this.

I'd knit about three rows and decided to measure it to see how much longer I had to knit it. Wait a minute. Something looks kind of funny here. Is that a dark blue line line or are my eyes playing tricks on me?

AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!! I had to rip out about 40 rows. And you know what? Now that I'm looking this picture I can see ANOTHER mistake a few rows below the dark blue line. Oh, for criminy's sake. I guess this pattern isn't as mindless as I thought. That's actually about 10 more rows of knitting that I have to rip out. Hhhhhhhhhhhh. Great. I guess it's going to go back in the closet to spend some more time with it's sister.

There's nothing wrong with this one, aside from the small fact that I ran out of yarn. Yarn that, apparently, isn't available. The owner of my LYS has been trying to get the dark green color for months, but it's backordered. It doesn't really matter anyway, since it'll be a completely different dye lot. It's OnLine Clip, which is wonderful to knit with, just not in the Olive color. The purse is only about half an inch short at this point, which is fine, but I think it'll look funny with the handles and i-cord edging in the lighter color. Maybe, if my LYS owner can get me another skein of the dark color, it won't look bad if just the handles and i-cord are in a different dye lot. Hmmm, that's a thought.

Okay, so back to Thursday night. After putting the blue Via aside in disgust, I thought I'd cast on for the Adamas shawl. I had some Knit Picks Shimmer in the Happy Dance colorway and I'd been wanting to use it. I grabbed some size 5 circs and started in on it. After knitting through the first few rows, I could see that the stitches were just a bit too loose for my taste. I'd need to go down to a size 4 needle. Sigh. Rip.

Alright, so that didn't work out. Rather than cast on again using smaller needles, I decided to knit on my Koigu socks. Worked on the cuff for a bit and then tried it on. Too big. Crud. Rip.

So.... this is the sum total of my knitting on Thursday.

Actually, it's even less than that because I ripped out 40 rows of the purse. Soon to be 50. Hhhhhhhh.

Yesterday morning I woke up headachey and by mid-morning it was a full-blown migraine. The kind that makes you nauseous and light penetrates like a spike into your brain. Luckily for me, it was quiet on the work front, so I took an Imitrex and went to bed. Since we work out of our home, this was very easy to do. I slept for a couple of hours, took another Imitrex and gradually began to feel better.

By evening I was back to (ab)normal and deciding that steak was sounding pretty darn good. I never cook steak when Jim is here because he doesn't eat red meat. I, on the other hand, LOVE a good steak, so off I went to the grocery store. A nice t-bone sounded good. Not because I know jack squat about different cuts of steak, but because I can give the bone to Alfie to chew on. It's a major treat for him and he only gets a steak bone a couple of times a year. Holy cow (hee), steaks are expensive! The only steaks with bones in them came two to a package. $18 for two steaks! Did I buy them? Yes, I did. I did it for my dog. I think that only another pet owner can understand the logic behind this.

So, the barbequed steak was yummy, the dog was happy and there was knitting to be done. I'd decided to learn how to knit a Sherman heel and toe. Which of my beautiful new yarns was I going to use? I chose a yarn and got to work.

I can hear (blogless) Kelly in Alaska right now thinking "WTF??? All that great new yarn and she used WOOL-EASE???" Yes. Yes, I did. What can I say? I suck.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I had a little accident

I accidentally ended up with a bit more sock yarn than I thought I would. I'm not sure what happened. Well, actually, I went to Michigan is what happened. You see, my LYS doesn't carry these yarns and I had to get these while I could. I mean, what if there is a sudden halt on the production of sock yarn and I don't get to try these brands out? Or, what if I'm not able to get back to Michigan for a while and I'd only bought a couple of balls? Or, what if THOSE yarn shops stop carrying this yarn? What's that? Yes, I KNOW I can order these online from a hundred different places, but that's not my point. What's my point? Uh... well... erm... Oh, yes. It was an ACCIDENT. It was out of my hands. Besides, one of my favorite sayings is - everything happens for a reason. There must be a good reason why I ended up with so much sock yarn. I must not question it. I just have faith that it is so.

Wanna see what I accidentally got?

Koigu KPPM! Oh, and Cherry Tree Hill on the far right. Okay, that one I got at my LYS, but only because I didn't think I could get Koigu. Anyway, 4 different colorways of Koigu! You've already seen my attempts using one of the colorways. I ended up frogging it and will try something else.

Austerman Step and Opal. I didn't even realize that the Step had aloe and jojoba in it until after I'd bought it. I'm using the green Step for Cascading Leaves from the Winter 2005 Interweave Knits. Here's a close-up:

I know it's a pretty poor close-up, but that's the best I could do under the circumstances. The circumstances: trying to take pics of all that yarn before Jim got back from doing laps at the pool and had a stroke upon seeing it all. The pattern, like most patterns, would probably be best suited to a solid or very subtle variegated yarn, but I'm fine with how it's turning out. I'm knitting them on 2 size 0 Addis.

Meilenweit Mega Boot Stretch. I got these just because I liked them and the yarn seemed a bit thicker. When I got home from Michigan I found that my LYS is now carrying this yarn. Oh well, there must have Been A Reason why I had to buy this in Michigan.

Assorted yarns. Plymouth Socka, Opal, Trekking XXL, Meilenweit Multieffekt, Online Supersocke 100. I got the Trekking XXL in April, the first time I went to Friends of Wool in Holland, MI. I'd been reading about it and wanted to try it. That night, I decided to use it. I typically pull yarn from the inside of the skein and that's what I tried to do with this. I just couldn't find the end and, after about 5 minutes of fiddling, ended up pulling a huge wad out of the center. Out came a completely separate ball of yarn. Not having used Trekking XXL before I thought, "Oh! Maybe it's just separated into 2 separate balls - one for each sock." However, the inside ball ended up being wound all funky and I threw the whole thing into my suitcase in disgust. After getting home, I re-wound both and found that the inside ball was actually 2 smaller balls. No knots, just completely separate bits of yarn. Weird. Anyway, the entire lot is 114 grams, so I actually came out ahead.

Cotton sock yarns. Regia, Plymouth Socka in 2 colorways, Meilenweit Cotton Fantasy and Meilenweit Cotton Fun. Normally, beige wouldn't be a color I would choose, but the Cotton Fun feels SO soft and nice that I just had to buy it. I HAD to.

Dalegarn Baby Ull in green and red and Plymouth Dreambaby D.K. in two shades of green. The 4 at the bottom are actually a green-gray in light and dark shades, but they didn't photograph well. These are so soft and nice and I thought they'd make nice 2-tone socks.

Knit Picks yarn. Okay, these I DID order from online, but only because they were on sale. You wouldn't want me to miss out, would you? All of these are Sock Memories and they are really thick and soft. I'm looking forward to using these.

More Knit Picks. On the top and far right is Dancing, bottom left is Simple Stripes and the red/orange is Sock Garden. The Sock Garden is really lovely to work with and I've already used the Hydrangea colorway to knit these:

This yarn knits up so nicely and these socks feel great! I knit these on 2 size 1 needles and decided to try a round toe. I like the way the round toe fits. The yarn knits up into a thick, very soft fabric. Of course, purple being my favorite color, I love these socks.

KidSilk Haze in 2 colors, JaeggerSpun Zephyr and Trendsetter Yarns Sorbet. My LYS doesn't carry KidSilk Haze or Zephyr, so I HAD to get these.

Last, but not least, JaeggerSpun Zephyr in 3 different colorways. Okay, I got these online, too, but they're for the Mystery Shawl 3 and 4 groups that I joined. I couldn't decide on which colorway, so I got the 3 I liked best. 8 ounces of each. Woo! I'm going to use one of them for the Amazing Lace project, but I haven't decided which one.

Hey, accidents WILL happen.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A challenge!

I just read about The Amazing Lace this morning. I'm in! I'm going to do the Summer into Fall Shawl from the Mystery Shawl 3 group. Woohoo!