Saturday, January 26, 2008

movin right along

Turns out, I really like how these socks are coming out! The rosy pink is a great compliment to the swirls, and a much better idea than the brown that I'd picked out originally. Thank you, Laurie! The second one is coming along nicely, and I might have two pairs of socks done in the month of January!

Tonight we are heading to Brooklyn for a going away party. Some dear friends are moving to Budapest, which is very far away. Lovely city and all, but so very far away. And they are taking their lovely little one away, too - she who adores this blanket

and looks adorable in this dress.

I pitifully begged to come over early so I could play a bit, one last time, before she goes to sleep and the party starts. She just had her second birthday last week, and talks like a five-year-old. Her verbal acuity isn't that surprising if you consider her most excellent parents. But I'm very sad that I probably won't see them for a few years (given our own BIG SURPRISE). Things change, we get older*, and life continues along. I'm gonna miss you guys.

*Where did that come from?

Friday, January 25, 2008

injecting some color

It seems like the blogosphere has been pretty dark and dreary lately; lots of people effected by SAD, which I completely understand! So I wanted to share some bright and perky projects that are on tap for the next couple of months. There are babies coming! As usual! And so it's time to start thinking about baby blankets.

This pile of color should cure what ails you! I'm thinking that this yarn will make a nice Moderne Baby Blanket type thing; lots of little bits to add some splashes of color, and there will be nice contrast for the little eyes that can't quite see stuff as we do.

There will also be an all-red blanket (the Hemlock Ring Throw, perhaps?), and an all-sage green blanket too. I need to go through Ravelry and look for ideas. I'd prefer something reverseable, and it needs to be a pattern that can be knit in cotton blends... what shall I do?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

nearly february

I've picked up the Elizabeth Zimmerman February Baby Sweater again. On Saturday, we had to bail on a dinner party because of Hubby's pretty bad cold (he's much better now, so skipping the party was clearly a good idea), and I found myself with some extra hours for knitting! I decided that the garter stitch yoke of the sweater as written in the pattern was too, too huge, and ripped the whole thing out. I'm now at the point where I start the sleeve, and think this little sweater is going to be pretty darn cute (in Mirasol Cotanni, a merino/cotton blend).

Sadly, I'm pretty certain that I'm going to run out of yarn before I reach the end, and thus have to buy more. I was really trying to not buy any yarn until the BIG SURPRISE I'M KEEPING FROM YOU* is resolved, but now have purchased a skein of Koigu for the swirly socks and will need to buy another for this sweater. It's not bad: $20 to finish two projects, but it's the principle of the thing.

*The BIG SURPRISE does not involve me getting bigger. Of course, I'm a stress eater, so that may happen anyway, but the BIG SURPRISE does not mean that there's a schedule for me gaining weight. Just sayin'.

Monday, January 21, 2008

the decision is...

Knit-buds Marni and Stephanie were over yesterday afternoon for a knit and chat session, and I consulted them about the new stripey sock. I explained my willingness to rip it out, but I was soundly told that I was crazy. (Not that this is a new thing, of course.) They loved it, so I thought whomever ended up with these as a gift might love it too! I stopped by the LYS this morning, and Laurie helped me pick out a coordinating color of Koigu for the heels and toes so I don't interrupt the swirls. Browns were rejected as too dull, and I ix-nayed the mustard yellow she suggested. I like this compromise-cranberry a good deal.

Truthfully, I've been ripping out so many projects lately that I didn't really have it in me to pull out a good 6 inches of sock. My EZ February Baby Sweater was ripped on Saturday, and I'm going to have to start over on the Hourglass Sweater as well. While the third time is often the charm, I think it might have put me around the bend. Socks are meditative, and wear out pretty quickly; it's OK to have less-than-perfect sometimes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

oh, varigation...

Oh, handpainted yarns: we had a good thing going, for a pair of socks. The first skein of Blue Ridge Yarns merino sock wool was lovely; it was always a surprise to see what color was coming next, and a deeelightful surprise too. There was no pooling, just a great combo of colors coming one after the next. (OK, there's a bit of a pattern in the sock on the left, but it's really not as noticeable in real life.)

I'm nearly done with the first pair of socks (just need to graft up the toes), and decided to keep riding the wave of rediscovered love for handpainted sock yarn. I'd pretty much forsaken the multi-colored yarns but that sock on the left made me sing a different tune. So I grabbed skein #2 from the stash, and started away on the second pair of socks.

Things didn't start off too well. I wanted to make this pair a little bit bigger, and
soon discovered that 60 stitches in stockinette in skein #2 means a big brown blob running right down one side of the sock. Not acceptable. So I've ripped out, started over with fewer stitches, and am now convincing myself, once again, that I like blobs of color (when I really don't). And now I need to buy a skein of solid color for the heels and toes, so as to not screw up the giant brown swirl. And buying yarn wasn't something I was going to do this year! Really! No caveats this time, just no yarn buying!

Happily, this little hat fulfilled all of my expectations. It's warm, and nice colors, and fast to make. In fact, it went so well that I've started another hat that's coming along swimmingly.

More on that this weekend, when I'll hopefully have some real sunlight in which to take pictures. My environmentally friendly lightbulbs do not make for good photo studio lighting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

what's up with the OCD knitting?

Despite my earlier comments on not getting too involved in one large project right now, because of other-life circumstances, I seem to have fallen into knitting multiples of one little project.

Here are three pairs of Maine Morning Mitts from Clara Parkes’ new book: two knit in Ella Rae Palmero, and one (the purple on the right) in The Fiber Company’s Terra. I had plenty of yarn from the Ella Rae, and about a yard left over from the hank of Terra, so I was freaking out. But all was fine, and I love them dearly.

This morning I woke up and thought, “I’d love to wear the Cash Iro Hourglass Sweater today!” Of course, I’ve only got half a sleeve done, so it wasn’t a really practical thought. However, I’m considering ripping the sleeve back, because Pixie from the Ready, Set, Knit podcast recommended knitting turned hems on a needle two sizes smaller than the rest of the garment. I hadn’t known this, and now am concerned about bulky hems. Further, I’m still uncertain about my gauge, so I think that a trip to the frog pond may be in order. Half a sleeve is certainly a good sized gauge swatch, so I think that after some careful measuring, I can make a wise decision.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

where did the week go?

Suddenly a week's gone by, and I haven't done a single post! What's up with that?* I've been knitting away (I'm onto my third pair of Maine Morning Mitts, and nearly finished with a sock), have no fear. But there's a lot going on right now, so I'm hesitant to get started on another all-consuming project... since I have no willpower when it comes to a fascinating knitting project.

*A favorite saying, traded between myself and a friend. We were interviewing someone for a position in our department, and she used "What's up with that?" to express her incredulity with the state of the world. Indeed. What is up with that?

My friend loved the Herringbone Mittens, and I loved them too. In fact, after she opened them, she might have put them on her desk, and I might have picked them up again to admire my creation. Now I just hope it gets cold around here!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

knitting celebrity sighting

Yesterday, my local yarn shop hosted one of the biggest celebrities in the knitting world: Clara Parkes, the force behind Knitters' Review, and the author of the recently released Knitter's Book of Yarn (which was a Christmas gift, and is now autographed!).

Clara was lovely in person, which was no surprise, because her weekly emails are filled with warmth and devotion to the craft of knitting. She complimented my Clapotis immediately, and then played around with it and the way it bounces (and made accompanying "boing-boing" noises - love her). I showed her my Herringbone Mittens, and she gave some advice about a little flaw in the thumbs.

We discussed what is my sort-of resolution for the new year: knit (and live, I suppose) fearlessly.* Sure, I'd never tried knitting with two colors before, but why not try it a week before the present needs to be gifted? What's the worst that could happen? If something goes wrong, just start over again. (Both Herringbone Mittens are done now, and drying from their bath.)

*Those who are familiar with the way I jaywalk in NYC may say that I already live rather fearlessly.

Inspired by our talk, I wanted to start one of the projects from Clara's book, and cast on the very first: the Maine Morning Mittens. The pattern is quite clever, and has some nice details that are absent from some of the other fingerless glove patterns out there. I've already picked out my next project from the book, too. It's another pair of handwarmers, which will be my third mitten-type project for 2008. Is it cold here, or is it just me?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

starting the year with a challenge

I went to work yesterday, even though I knew that I wasn't really feeling up to it. I knew that triage was necessary to deal with accumulated stuff from the office being closed for a week and a half. I did what needed to be done, dealt with the first urgent matter of 2008, and headed home in the middle of the afternoon.

The temperatures were in the single digits this morning, and while I was feeling better, I decided to keep my germs to myself today. Therefore, I've been churning away at a pair of mittens for a friend's birthday next week.

I realized yesterday that her birthday was next Wednesday, and that I'd better get casting on. I started this last night, and just finished the first mitt.

It's my first adventure in two-color knitting, and it's easier than I expected. I've been avoiding color projects for a while now, and I'm very glad that I took the plunge. The pattern is from Elliphantom Knits, her Herringbone Mitts. It took me quite a while to figure out how to hold the yarns so they didn't twist into a big mess (I don't have the dexterity to hold one of the yarns in my right hand). It also took an embarrassing amount of time to figure out that there was a repeating pattern on the even numbered rows. Hey, I'm sick, OK? The good news is that the second mitten should go faster, since I don't have to study the chart quite as carefully as I did for #1.

I love the look of the thumbs, and I think that the yarn is going to soften wonderfully after a warm water bath. My friend should certainly have a completed project for her birthday next week!

I don't know the yarns exactly, except that it's Cascade 220, and it's been in my stash for quite a while. The green is leftover from my Kiri shawl (finished two years ago?), and the blue was purchased this year for the intarsia class I took in Portland over the summer. I hope I have enough for the second mitten... that will get me to knit faster to see how it ends!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

a very happy new year to everyone!

I started 2008 out right, by finishing a whole project in one day! While we were upstate for Christmas, I got some color and style guidance for the hat that Mom requested. She wanted something simple, and blueish gray. The yarn is Patons Rumor, which has great color combinations. I whipped this up yesterday while (nearly) passed out on the couch. (This cold doesn’t seem to be eager to take a hike. Though I really really wish it would.)

I love making hats. I think this year is going to be the year of the hat.

The pom-pom isn’t attached to the hat… yet. Mom can make the decision on whether or not to put it on herself. I think it’s totally cute, but Hubby wasn’t sure it complimented the overall garment. (Use it, use it!)

A very happy new year to y’all!