Tuesday, August 29, 2006

All Things Green

Thank you, Peacock!!
What a thoughtful thank you package from Tahlia! She dyed the yarn herself - this colorway is so pretty in person, and the yarn is incredibly soft to boot! My mom may have already commandeered the applets and cotlets, but no worries, 'cuz that bright red arrow is pointing to my very own bag-o-turtles! Yay, my collection is growing by leaps and bounds. There was also a beautiful blue and green heart necklace (not pictured, because I was wearing it at the time and forgot to snap a photo of it - doh!). Plus, there were soothing lavender and chamomile bath additions and a delicately scented rose and lavender candle.

It hit me this weekend that this was going to be my last free weekend for a good long while. In response, I did what any anxious knitter would do. I ate a big bowl of ice cream and then I cast on:
This will be a felted shibori scarf. It's also my current pet knitting since it's mindless and portable. The Blue Sky 100% Alpaca (I think it's also called "Sportweight") makes a soft and lovely fabric. It's almost a shame to felt it. Then there's this Funky Tank Top:
The pattern is from Adorable Knits for Tots and I'm using the recommended Rowan Handknit Cotton. It's size 1-2 years, so Jersey Baby can wear it next summer, though I hope to finish it well before then. I'm not really happy with how the colors are working (or not working) together. I picked out the colors before I knew the sex of the baby, so I went for a combo I like: green and purple. All I can say is that it looked good when I lined the balls up and played around with color order. I guess I can live with it, though that putrid green stripe towards the top makes me question my color sense...what was I thinking??? One thing this project does have going for it is sleevelessness. Hooray!

Sunday, August 27, 2006


My Secret Pal is Therese from Texas! She's been such a fabulous pal, treating me to lots of books and yarn and supportive blog comments! Definitely check out her blog. She's a nurse, and a masseuse, and a wife, and a mother, and a dog breeder, and oh yeah, she knits too :)

Despite my week of non-blogging, I have actually been knitting. I finished up the sassy stripes scarf:
I've got one ball left of this color ("Crayon"), which I may use to make a matching hat.

I fixed the size problem with the blue hat, and I'm working on the second Fetching glove from the leftovers:
This is my first time knitting with such small (12") circulars in the round. It gets a bit tight on the cable row, but on the up side, the non-cable rows do seem to go faster.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Measure Twice, Knit Once

I worked on a hat with the recently dyed Adams Farm merino. It's really a dream to knit with - so soft and fluffy! Some gauge weirdness happened (surprise surprise). I started at the top of the hat on two circulars and was getting a gauge of 4.5 st/in, so I decided to increase until I had 100 sts, to yield a 22" hat to snugly fit my 24" in head (no that's not a typo). When I got to 100 stitches, I moved all the stitches onto a single circular. At this point, you say "Ah-ah! That's a problem!" But I didn't know that... so then I knit around and around and around in blissful ignorance. BTW, this is perfect knitting when you're trying to pry ice cream-fueled seven year-old twins from the love tester machine at Arundel Mills Mall.

When we got home and everyone collapsed, I had some proper sit-down-and-concentrate-on-knitting time and I had a good look at my progress. "Hmmm," I thought, "This looks a little big...." So I got out the ruler and sure enough, it was 4 st/in. This makes it a 25" hat:
Oh bother. Time to rip:
Not all the way, though. Just to a little before the increases stopped. I'm now working over 92 stitches, and for added insurance, I'm using a 3x1 rib for the body. The moral of this story is that I knit bigger using a single circular than with two circulars, even on the exact same needles.

In the end, I should have a maybe 120 yards left. I'm going to try Fetching with the leftovers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Short Weekend, Long Post

My Secret Pal is so incredibly generous! Look what arrived in the mail on Friday:

So pretty! I drooled all over page with the felted rose bag. Thank You Secret Pal!

On Saturday, I vegged out. I did some knitting and dyeing. I made this for my aunt in Chicago:
When I gave her a scarf, she requested a hat to keep her from freezing when shoveling snow. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Merino Aran. I snagged some at the Webs sale. My only regret is not ordering more! Darn knitter's remorse! The pattern is the "Asymmetrical Cable Hat" from One Skein (thanks again, Secret Pal!). It's a nice pattern, easy to understand and memorize but with just enough variation to avoid monotony. I made two adjustments: it's a little longer and I left the top with a flat seam instead of folding the corners for the rounded seam in the book. The reason? We are a tribe of large heads (you can draw your own conclusion as to what's filling those heads).

This is what became of the Adam's Farm worsted from my SP8:
It's mostly pale blue (blue raspberry Koolaid) with some dark blue (Wilton food dye). It would probably come out darker if I had the patience to let it soak in the dye longer. But sadly I don't. After rinsing, I tried whizzing (or "whuzzing," the term prefered by our spindling instructor) to get the water out and it worked really well. Good thing the shrubbery is a bit overgrown, so the neighbors didn't have to wonder why I was standing in the middle of the backyard flinging yarn around.

On Sunday, Mom and I went to New Jersey to pick up the twins. They'll be staying with us for a couple of weeks. I got to meet Jersey Baby:
Even in his sleep, he's hungry. I hear he can get incredibly loud, but there wasn't much crying when I was there.

Along the road, I made an attempt to multitask:
It was a unsuccessful fusion of work and play. I ended up reading about 20 pages and knitting about a quarter of a ball of Moda Dea Sassy Stripes for the whole trip. Pretty sad. I can't even claim to have been distracted by Jersey Boy's carsickness or Jersey Girl's picky eating, since I'm really good at ignoring children in distress. I would make a shockingly bad mother, or perhaps with major surgery a moderately involved father.

I'm not entirely useless to the youth of tomorrow, 'cuz apparently I can teach knitting. Here are Jersey Boy's first stitches on the scarf in the round I had with me:
Pretty good, huh? It's interesting that he knits so loose, since most new knitters knit so tight. Maybe it's because I knit very loose (I can't remember the last time I had to go up a needle size). Or maybe it's because he's a kid and isn't obsessive about it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Best Lunch Ever!

My Secret Pal promised a surprise this week, and boy did she deliver!It's a skein of beautiful undyed merino from Adams Farm, wrapped mysteriously in a brown lunch bag. I can't wait to play with it! Thank you, Secret Pal!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Constancy and Prudissitude

I've squeezed a bit of spinning into my schedule the last few weeks. I've notice some improved consistency, but I'm not at the point where I can tell what the next bit of new yarn will look like. I can manage even thickness within a given spindling session, but I have trouble producing the same weight yarn from session to session. It sort of varies, some days light dk weight, some days lace, some days fingering. I guess it will just take practice.

I messed up with Icarus again! Grrrrr! I swear this lace crap hates me. So the shawl won't be done in time to be gifted. Good thing I have this:
In the end, this took two skeins each of Cascade 220 (thanks again, SP!) and Lamb's Pride Bulky, three balls of Noro Kureyon, half a ball each of two colors of Bernat Matrix, and a half a ball of Bernat Boa. Prefelting, it's 28.5" x 24.5". I'll give you the postfelting size once I've, you know, actually felted it.
Update: The finished piece is 23"x16":