Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

12 in 2012

I have a goal to knit 12 projects in 2012 from my queue on Ravelry and from yarn in my current stash (which, I confess, was recently expanded between Christmas and Birthday gifts).

This month, I am knitting a recent addition to my queue, on yarn not so recently purchased, and if I had remembered the stupid camera (this is day 3 in which I have forgotten it again), I could show you some progress. Even if I had the camera, I have no decent light with which to take a photo anyway. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, I will show you a photo from the designer.
Copyright - Romi Hill
(Copyright- Romi Hill)

This is Melpomene by Romi Hill, from her 7 Small Shawls E-book that I got for my birthday last week. I am using Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn, in colorway Sapphire Heather and knitting on 4mm needles (US6).

It was the perfect birthday gift because it will keep giving. Only 2 of the 7 patterns are out, and the remaining 5 will post sometime between now and July if she is able to meet her challenge.

I almost cast on Kleio first because it has been on my list longer and I have the perfect yarns for it, but something about the description for Melpomene appealed to me.

Also in current progress is a pair of socks for my mother in law’s upcoming birthday. One is done and I have a toe done on the second, but it was hard to carry on a plain vanilla sock with the beautiful texture of Melpomene calling to me. When I get weary of twisted stitches and garter, I will go back to the Mother In Law Socks.

I haven’t yet decided what February’s project of the month will be. Rather than pre-schedule myself a monthly project like I did last year, and then ran into the problem of being uninspired by the project when it came time to knit it, I am going to go with the flow and pick up what I feel like doing each month. I had planned to knit a cowl this month and that changed when I got my Muses subscription.

Next month might be Percy which has been in my queue forever and looks challenging but fun, or it might be Saroyan, which I just ordered and received the intended yarn for last week if I happen to be in the mood for yet another crescent shaped blue scarf (in other words, doubtful, but when I get on a roll, sometimes it carries me for a while). Or, maybe I will get the gumption up to learn intarsia and knit these peacock themed armwarmers. I should have sufficient colors and yarn left over from the Corrie vest to tackle them.

Who can say what will wind up on the needles?

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A Week Or So In Stitches

I have had precious little to say, or rather, precious little to say that anyone is lining up to hear. Cheyenne left us on Saturday, October 8th. I had the following week off so my Mom was able to stay in Suffolk and grieve in private. I was able to stay home and do the same.

I worked through it in yarn mostly (and some beer, I don’t deny it), and I talked about memories of her as a puppy and found old photos of her playing with me in the big snowstorm of 2000. I am mostly better now. No more crying jags. I still catch myself turning in the computer chair to look behind me where her bed used to be to check on her. I was looking for the gate to the backyard to be closed when we pulled in the driveway after work yesterday. I keep catching myself thinking “I wonder if I need to let Cheyenne out” from time to time.

Time, prayer, and knitting can do a lot for one’s soul.
Arroyo
I started with Arroyo.
Yarn: KnitPicks Chroma (New England colorway) (one ball and I had some leftover)
Needles: 5mm (US8)
No modifications. This knit up very fast and I loved the short row shaping. I especially love how the colors turned out. However, that said, I had real problems with that Chroma ball. 4 rows into the scarf, the yarn was broken. Not knotted, completely broken. Then there were 3 more places in the ball where the yarn had been knotted to a new yarn, and they didn’t even try to keep the colors together. Fortunately, the abrupt shifts in color were less noticeable in the finished product than I feared they would be. The colors were fabulous, but I gave the yarn only 2 stars on Ravelry because of the issues I had with this ball.
Arroyo
It was a very quick knit, but I was highly focused on it as well. Cast on on Friday morning and cast off Sunday night.

After that, still being hung up on half-moon scarflettes, I immediately cast on Annis.
Annis
(Check out my model! She had been playing dress up just before.) Sadly, I have no decent pictures yet. I only have photos from blocking, and it was shockingly difficult to get any light on the shawl.
Annis
I blocked it on my yoga mats over a thick carpet. That worked okay, but I really need to look into getting some of those interlocking foam floor pads like they use in kids’ playrooms.
Annis
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace (Lettuce colorway) (also did not use the whole ball)
Needles: 6mm (cast on only) and 5mm
The only modification was I used the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off since that had worked so well on Arroyo, but I think now I sort of regret it. I think a less stretchy bind off might have allowed for more curve. Or it might not have. It was very difficult to block it in the shape I wanted. I think I would be more in love with it except that it rolls up really badly. The curl did not block out. Stockinette is known for its tendency to curl and one of the things I loved about Arroyo was the garter stitch body, which patently does not curl. I almost modified the body of Annis with garter instead of stockinette stitch, but I thought it would look more elegant in stockinette.

It does, but curling is definitely not elegant. It is still very pretty, very light weight, and the yarn developed a nice halo that compliments the pattern nicely.
Annis
I hope to get some pretty, natural light photos soon.

I am pretty much half-moon scarfed out for a while. I was going to knit this third one for me (note, the blog is mostly in Russian, but there is an English translation of the pattern on Ravelry) with some recently finished handspun fingering weight wool, but I have a lot of Christmas knitting to catch up on. Probably by the time that is all finished, I will be ready for another scarflette. I really like the feather stitch pattern and in the peacock teal handspun, it will be a striking project, I think.

I have another project to cast on tonight though. Pictures soon, I hope.

The Story of Corrie

So, my Corrie Vest kit arrived back around September 13th. Only a couple of weeks before Coronation and before the Warrior Dash and Montpelier Fiber Festival weekend. I dove straight into knitting it, just going with it.

For whatever reason, stranded knitting goes extremely fast for me. I think it has more to do with keeping highly focused and the frequency with which the pattern changes, and less to do with the actual technique. I am much more likely to set a plain knitting project down for just about anything than I am to set down a fair isle project because I don’t want to get lost where I am in the pattern. Also, I am more likely to say “Just keep going until you change that left hand yarn.”

Closing in on Coronation, I was knitting a couple of hours per night, but the weekend of the event itself, I was barely able to knit at all. In the back of my mind was this fleeting fantasy that maybe the sweater could be done in time for me to wear it to Montpelier, but you have to understand that it seemed impossible at that point. I had steeks and short row shaping, and purling in pattern and 3 needle bind offs in my future, most of which I was completely unfamiliar with.

But I didn’t let go of the little idea in the back of my head.

So I knit. And knit. And knit. Fiendishly knit.

Tuesday night last week, another knitter looked at it and agreed with my assessment that completion by Sunday was exceedingly unlikely. But I kept knitting.

By Thursday, I had completed the body of the sweater and it was time to steek. I found my sharpest sewing scissors, my silk sewing thread, which I then quadrupled, and started backstitching along each side of my cuts. That took a good long while. Then, after pacing around, wringing my hands, forcing back a nervous tear or two, and 3 or 4 false starts, I made the very first snip. The world didn’t end. The sweater didn’t instantly unravel or turn to dust in my hands. So, I kept going.

Snip, snip, snip. One stitch at a time, one float at a time. Snip. Snip. Snip.
Steeked
When it was totally cut, I had a beer and didn’t look at it again until morning.

Friday was a desperately slow day at work, and I knew I was 90% of the way to home plate. With the race on Saturday morning and going to the State Fair on Saturday night, I knew Friday was my do-or-die day to finish the vest if I wanted to wear it to Montpelier on Sunday morning.

I picked up and knit the first armscye with my longest 2.75mm circular needle was which just too long and uncomfortable to knit with. The shorter, 24″ one was holding the live stitches on the neck line, so rather than go on to the second armscye like the instructions said, I went ahead and picked up and knit the neckline with the longer needle, freeing up the shorter one for the second armscye. Worked like a charm. I left work about half way done with the second armscye, and, probably to my family’s dismay, proceeded to knit through our lovely dinner at the Mexican restaurant, knit in the quickly darkening backseat, and cast off while we were waiting at the pharmacy for some medicines.

I broke the yarn in the dark in the car, and we came home from our evening out and I displayed my now finished sweater vest.

When I pulled it over my head and it fit perfectly, I could have cried.
Photobucket Photobucket
I wove in some ends while Grace was in the bath and while Byram was putting her in bed. The whole body is woven in, but I still have a lot of loose ends around the upper left armscye and the back of the neck. That was fine. I could wear it like that.

And I did. I wore it to the State Fair on Saturday night.
Its Under There
I wore it around the house.
Bemused
(Grace took the photo which partially accounts for my completely amused expression.)

And best of all, I wore it to Montpelier on Sunday morning.
Montpelier
One of the highest compliments I think a knitter can receive is to go to a fiber-centric festival and have people look at the knits you are wearing and then be shocked when you tell them that yes, indeed, you did handknit that vest. When seasoned knitters gasp with delight, you know you have done good work.

I wore it to work yesterday along with my Warrior Dash finisher’s medal. Almost no one at my office understood the importance or the pride I took in each of my hard-won accessories, but I knew.

This past weekend will go down as the most insane and wonderful weekends in my memory. In fact, the whole month of September 2011, will be firmly stuck in my memory as one of the most extreme months of my life, between beginning with an extended power outage, a wonderful family BBQ over Labor Day weekend, fun in the mud at Coronation, fun in the mud this past weekend, and lots of ups and downs in between. Onward now into October, my favorite month of the year usually, and I am particularly looking forward to a week off from work next week. I opted for a “stay-cation” to get my house in order and hopefully some personal time to recover from the insane summer and get my head and heart ready for the holidays to come.

Up She Goes

Too tired to form words today.

But there’s this:
Corrie Kit
I would describe the comedy of errors that have lead up to the point we are at with the vest (about 9 rows of ribbing so far) but that takes too much brainpower.

I left most of my brain on top in Libby Hill Park, on top of Church Hill. The haul up the hill from Poe’s Pub to the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument is only 70 feet. Ha. Only. Those are 70 gut busting feet. But the view was spectacular.

Next time, I will try and remember a camera.

Tomorrow, I want to do the long 3.5 mile run around Belle Isle. I am cycling right now between fast runs, hard runs, and long runs to get ready for Warrior Dash. Looking forward to the 60 degree weather that should help speed that run along tomorrow.

I do so love autumn once it gets started. I love the smell of the air, the falling leaves, the taste of winter squashes, and best of all seasonal beers.
Legend
That was my view from the deck at Legend Brewery last Friday evening. We couldn’t get sunlight to shine through my Smoked Chocolate Stout. A very tasty beverage.

All that beer explains all the gut busting I have to do before October 1st, of course.

Two Autumn Challenges

This entire year is proving to be a roller coaster of a year. Ups and downs, 180 degree turns, and sudden stops. I am ready to embrace autumn with open arms if for no other reason than maybe it will provide some relief from the nonstop hits.

I finally made up my mind and placed a KnitPicks order today, following up from my post a couple of weeks ago.

Rather than take the Triple Dog Dare challenge and go for the Dogwood Blossoms Pullover sweater, I ordered the Blue Corrie Vest. I could better easily afford it and I am twice as likely to finish it, I think. I am looking forward to what will probably be a significant challenge for me, between the small gauge, the intensive charts, and simply because I don’t usually finish really large projects. I wanted something to keep my hands and brain busy this autumn and I think this vest will do it.

I also ordered the appropriate needles, a set of Harmony 2.5mm dpns, and because my balance was then $46 and change, and less than $4 more would get me free shipping, I went ahead and ordered a skein of Shadow Tonal Lace yarn, in colorway Pearlescent. I will get a small shawl out of that.

While Hurricane Irene was raging and the power was out, I did something I haven’t done since probably as far back as March. I sat down at my spinning wheel. I had already spun up more than 4 ounces of Ashland Bay colonial wool, and it was a matter of spinning the second half and then plying.

On Monday, a holiday, I spent 2 hours plying.

That is a uncomfortably full bobbin of about 8 ounces of fingering weight, 2 ply handspun beauty in the form of wool. No clue on the yardage. I need to find my niddy noddy and get it into a couple of skeins, wash, whack, and then contemplate its future. Once I have a better grasp on its yardage, I will decide on its ultimate purpose, I think.

Autumn puts me in a knitting mood. I hope so anyway because I have lots of socks to finish for Christmas and the 2011 Self Created Sock Club has washed out for the past several months. Autumn also puts me in a cooking kind of mood. Squashes, stews, beans, and the like. I already did mashed butternut squash a few nights ago and it was very yummy. I got a single volunteer butternut squash out of the garden, completely by accident, and after it has had some time to cure and let its natural sugars build up, it will probably become butternut squash soup.

Last year I made stuffed acorn squashes that were delicious. Then this blog post got me interested in things I can make with pumpkin.

The week I got home from Pennsic, I was so frazzled, so crispy, weary, and worn thin, in spite of just having had a vacation, that I requested another week off, this time for the week of October 10-14. That request was granted and I have been thinking up fun things to do with my time and with the time Grace and I will have together. I decided I will take her to Chesterfield Berry Farm and she and I will pick her Halloween pumpkin, and I think I will pick up a few baking pumpkins. I want to try my hand at pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie NOT out of a can this year for Thanksgiving.

In fact, I have been toying with the idea to attempt a 100 Mile Thanksgiving Feast Challenge. How much of our Thanksgiving spread can we get from a 100 mile radius to our table? The fact that we have already ordered a Heritage Breed Turkey from Empress Farm is the inspiration behind all of this. We did it for two reasons: first, because I have wanted to try a turkey from a small farm for years, and second, because my sister-in-law cannot eat the nitrates that are injected into CAFO turkeys that help make them moister and more flavorful, and every year we go through a whole list of hoops to jump through to make sure her food is safe for her to eat and not become ill.

Maybe no one else at the table that day would care but me (and probably Byram, as he is getting on board with eating local too), but how fun and cool would it be to serve dinner and then announce at the end that pretty much everything we served came from a local farmer? Admittedly, some of the stuff we normally serve like corn and green beans, can be purchased from almost anyone at the farmers market, but they have to be bought soonish and preserved, either through canning or freezing, because late November is honestly kind of a lousy time to celebrate the harvest that was done 2 months earlier. But I think this will be a fun opportunity to challenge myself and challenge my ideas about what a Thanksgiving Feast should look like.

I will post ideas, recipes, and progress throughout the Autumn as we head towards Thanksgiving.

Anyone want to join in on the fun?

A Wonderful Dilemma

Before I left for Pennsic, I was gifted with a $30 gift certificate to KnitPicks by a co-worker who I have been helping learn to knit. It was a very generous gift, but ever since, I have been trying to figure out how best to use the money.

Do I use it towards a larger order to hit the $50 free shipping threshold? Do I want yarn? Do I want a set of needles? Do I want to buy a kit? Do I want books? Spinning fiber?

I am loving the Blue Corrie Vest kit. It definitely falls into the high difficulty category, but I could do it. I enjoy colorwork.

Then again, I have been begging for a set of Harmony DPNs for a long time. However, when I bought a set of Brittany wooden DPNs at Pennsic and promptly broke a needle less than a week later, I began to rethink my wish for wooden needles. Anyone have any experience with Harmony needles? Are they fairly stout? If not, then I wouldn’t mind a set of Nickle Plated DPNs.

But the truth is, I have all of the sizes that come with those sets. Multiple sets in most cases. I don’t really need of those sets. I would like a stouter set of 2.5mm DPNs since the Brittanys that I purchased at Pennsic have been such a disappointment.

Of course, there is is always sock yarn to indulge in.

Not that I am not flush with sock yarn.

Then, I could put it towards the purchase of what looks like the Double Dog Dare of knitting.

(Image courtesy of KnitPicks)

The sweater is stunning. Very much my kind of sweater. Very much my kind of colors. Very high on the difficulty scale. Very tempting. And very expensive ($65 isn’t playing around money in my world).

Do I take up the Double Dog Dare? Do I play it safe with sock yarn? Do I fall back on the safe knitting needle route? Choose the easier and much less costly Corrie Vest?

Hm.

Decisions. Decisions.

Bombs Away

I think I am out of my “Blue Period.” Here is the evidence:
Green
From left to right, you have the second Vellamo sock, Serpentine Mitts (in positively divine Zitron Noblesse…yum), and Freya. I never go in by halvsies on anything. I was all blue. Now I am all green. I should cast on something orange, just to throw myself off.

Not that there isn’t still a *little* blue in my world.
Not Noro
That is Son of the Not-Noro Noro Striped Scarf. Yeah, it has been on the needles a long time. It isn’t like I am desperate for a scarf right now, and it is the perfect go-to project when I need something mindless to knit. Like this weekend, I added a foot and a half to it while watching Grace and other assorted SCAdian youngsters play in the nursery at the site we were at this past weekend. It wasn’t a good time for colorwork, so no Vellamo socks, and not a good time for un-charted lace work, so no Freya, and not the time to interpret cable charts, so no Serpentine mitts.

Speaking of Serpentine Mitts, I have been relatively blog-lite on them. I finished the first mitt WAY back in the first week of March while I was doing mental battle with the Charade socks from hell. I couldn’t get a decent picture of the finished product on my hand, and it looks a little pitiful if not stretched over a model. The Zitron Noblesse is one of the finest yarns I have knit with thus far, being very fine wool and silk, and I think it was positively a steal at only $8 a ball. If I was knitting a sweater, it would get a little pricey, but if I successfully get a pair of fingerless mitts out of its silken yardage, I would do a cartwheel for that bargain.

Running continues. I am trying to keep up with my training progress on my running blog at The Mud Dauber in Training. I don’t keep up enough like I should but I am going to try. Initially, I was just documenting my training goals and efforts for the Warrior Dash I signed up for in October, but since I have expanded my goals, I will try and expand my writing (just not at the expense of my training). I will try and include aside from the training details, stuff about nutrition, the mental aspect of training (which seems much harder at this stage than actually pounding the pavement), and stuff I am learning and loving about the culture of runners.

Finally, I leave you with a very poor, blurred photo, taken at some speed, with one hand, while driving my way towards a dentist’s appointment here in the Shockoe Slip area of Richmond.
Bombs Away
Richmond, we have been Yarn Bombed. I am practically giddy at the thought. (It’s crochet, so therefore I have proof that it couldn’t have been me.)