A few days before Christmas my former loopy ewe swap partner Christine emailed me to say she was sending a package my way. What a fun unexpected surprise! The email made me feel like a little kid straining my brain to try and figure out what might be in the box. What could Christine be sending me out of the goodness of her heart? My imagination totally failed me so there was much festive excitement when the package arrived. Frog helped me tear into it and the contents made both of us very happy. Christine sent us a cute decorative box which had knitting goodies nestled inside. A beautiful skein of Socks that Rock lightweight in the color Jade and a froggy tape measure. Heehee frog! Thank You Christine, your package was the highlight of my holiday.
My family got me several knitting books on my wish list, Cables Untangled, Color Style, and The Knitters book of yarn. Thank you for supplying me with many great patterns for this coming year. My sweet husband got me my own digital camera, jokingly saying that it was a gift for both of us since it will keep me from using his camera. Smart of him since it’s only a matter of time until I drop a camera due to my poor balance and butter fingers.
So it was a book heavy, yarn light Christmas which is the excuse I’m using for the following purchases. (Is making up excuses a sign of addiction?) I’ve been very impressed with how my Maelstrom socks, made from Spirit Trail Fiberworks Helen, are wearing. The yarn is a little courser feeling during knitting than Hazel Knits or Smooshy but softness nicely with wear. The yarn is a very thick fingering making knitting go fast and the colors are wonderful. Sheri at the Loopy Ewe put up more Helen in the last sneak up and I had to snag a skein.
And the final yarn purchase of the year was 2 skeins of JoJo Land Cashmere from my Local LYS the Slip Knot. It was on sale so how could anyone say no. 400 yards should be enough to make a nice black beret to go with both of my coats.
(Photo courtesy of my sister and her frog. It was too cute not to post.)
OK now that all that is out of the way would you like to see the precious? An exclusive Woolgirl sock club colorway of the perfect sock yarn? Yes, Yes come closer. It's subtle but you'll like it.
Oooooo see, it's called Whispering Pine which brings to mind pine trees covered in a crisp coat of snow. Ahhhhh so very romantic to this knitter who romanticizes winter.
This yarn would be the most satisfying end to the 2nd round of Woolgirl sock club. A Hazel Knits addict such as myself would have been happy with just the yarn... but there was plenty more. See for yourself.
The accompanying sock pattern was designed by none other than Anne Hanson and is called Pine Cone (No ravelry link yet) Next we have knit gift tags which came in very handy this weekend when wrapping presents. Then a beautiful stitch marker from Spindle cat studio, plus a 2009 Desk Calendar where sheep appear to be behaving badly. Finally a sweet finish of tasty caramel Hersey kisses which are quickly becoming my favorite kiss favor.
Boy and am I glad now to have gone for the extra December shipment, unexpected Hazel Knits totally made my day. Thank you Jen for your continued great sock club packages!
Sooooo if you can't get enough of Hazel Knit's showing up in sock club boxes what do you do? You sign up for the Hazel knits sock club that's what! Oh yes, forget about all the "knitting down the sock yarn stash." That's so last year. This year's motto is convert half of the stash to Hazel knits and do the dance of joy. If you'd also like to add gratuitous amounts of this sock yarn to your stash, head over to Wendee's blog and check out the details. Then we can do the dance of joy together. Cha cha cha!
Christmas knitting planning goes something like this. Mid-year the knitter decides what and whom are getting Christmas knits. One or two of these are knit during the warm months in a fit of responsibility. Time passes and the knitter pares this list down thinking that certain people didn't really seem enthused about their knitted gift last year. Maybe a gift card would actually be better. November comes and the knitter is not in the mood to start another Christmas project and decides that Christmas knitting is done for the year. All is well until mid December when a twinge of guilt appears as all the presents are laid out for wrapping. The knitter looks at the calendar and says, "Oh no! 10 days till Christmas!!! What can I knit that fast!!!!!"
Anyone else having this problem right now? I'd use the excuse that this pattern buying is to take the edge off of Christmas knitting, except that I'm not doing any. Will the excuse that my current project is in the vast amount of stockinette stage work?
I can hear some of you generous knitters saying, "It's OK, you're just lining up some future projects." Thank you generous knitters and you'd be right to if something new and shiny didn't always come along.
It seems that once a pattern has been bought there is a invisible timer ticking down. If I don't get the project on the needles before that time has expired the pattern will never get knit. Fair Enough and Coraline were both cast on within two weeks of purchase and finished. The two patterns Kingscot and Vivian bought from the twist collective in November, quickly approaching their knitting expiration date. The chic knits pattern Twist bought last year..... that has a snowballs chance in hell of ever getting knitted.
What causes this? I still think these patterns are beautiful and would love to wear the completed sweaters. I just don't want to knit them anymore. Is it a lack of moral fiber, maybe Knitters ADD? Should I create a personal rule that patterns purchased need to be knitted before willy nilly spending more money on Brooklyn Tweed's latest lace project. Well maybe that's a special case..... who can resist his photographic charms. But you know what I mean!
Walking in the early hours of the morning through a gentle shower of snow and seeing the flakes glinting off your sleeves.
Sliding wool socks still warm from drying on the radiator over cold feet.
Picking up your sticks and string with Brenda Dane's voice in your ear.
Realizing your skeins of wool have ceased to be just raw materials and have been transformed into a garment.
More details later since I'm buring internet time at work. Cross your fingers that Version will show up at my house on the right day and give me internet access again.
There's been colds, train delays and major computer issues over in my neck of the woods. All keeping me away from my little blog despite having plenty to blog about. But good news... Philadelphia is finally a winner Phillies are World Series Champs!!! Everyone freak out! At least that's what its been like, especially down town. I was lucky to even get home from work on a train since septa suspended service for awhile trying to get enough trains to bring people down town for the parade. And let me tell you teenage boys stink after a day celebrating.
But enough about that, on to knitting were plenty of progress has been going on behind the scenes. It seems appropriate in so many ways to wrap up the month and Socktober with this final FO. I give you my version of the much knitted Little Pumpkin socks. Knit in Yarn Pirate's Merino Tencel blend, color Butternut Squash which practically screams November to me. I got this color through the yarn pirate sock club. The only mod here was knitting fewer pumpkin pattern repeats due to my larger gauge. Since it is Halloween today my little Ghost pin decided to hang around the pumpkin patch where he is hoping to meet up with the great pumpkin. He's from a favorite Etsy store smeeta who has too many cute felt pins.
Long story short, after all the waist decreases on my Fair Enough cardigan were finished the width was more like 40” and not the 33” it was supposed to be. Doh! I was able to salvage all the ribbing and one set of decreases because extra ease in my hip area is a good thing. The rest was ripped back and re-knit with a 7, one size smaller than I was using. Changing the needle size worked great through the waist shaping but might cause a problem in the bust area since the stitch gauge is half an inch smaller. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping the width and stitch counts work out. No pics yet because it's still a boring rectangle.
No Rhinebeck again for me this year since we had a long car ride last week, I didn’t want to drive myself and didn’t think my husband could be talked into doing it. (Can’t blame him….besides he’s only interested in the airplanes up there) I consoled myself by going to the newest LYS, The Slip Knot, and buying some felted tweed for no particular project. Probably another yoke sweater since they are just so darn easy to knit and end up looking professional. The owners had gotten Berroco’s merino in since my last visit and that was also veryyyy tempting. I was able to resist only because the color that spoke to me was the perfect red and there are already 10 skeins of DK weight red yarn in the stash. Really, one must draw the line somewhere.
Socks for him – Classic socks from “The Knitting Man(ual)”, knit in ShibuiKnits sock Rust.
The dude” as he likes to be called, picked this pattern out himself while we were visiting Yarn love in Hummelsville PA. He gets points for picking out an easy pattern, calmly entertaining himself in the yarn store and not eating all the free chocolate that was out. (We share this weakness)
Even though the row gauge was something like 11 rows to the inch, these socks knit up decently fast. I’d knit it again in some bright color for me…. Maybe turquoise. The dude as well as abiding, approves of the finished socks but does not want to see them again until Christmas. We’ll wash and block them all pretty for him.
Totally copied Jen of Woolgirl who put this exact pattern and yarn combination on the woolgirl blog. Love IT!!
Listen Nature, I've put the big comforter on the bed, washed all the plastic smell out of the stored sweaters and bought a new wool coat. You've got to work with me here. One can't wear jaunty berets in 80 degree heat either.
Can't we be like Canadians and do our elections quickly? At my office it's descended into supporters for each candidate arguing with each other over why they're right. I know from experience this kind of arguing never changes anyone's opinion about anything. Let's just get the picking over with so everyone can deal.
3. Plain White Rice
My husband isn't on board with my cooking of brown rice, so when he cooks I have to eat a lot of plain white. But when I'm cooking and subjecting him to some other hated food (leafy greens) I'll make this Mexican white rice to compromise. It's pretty tasty too.
From Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
Gulf Coast Style White Rice Pilaf
1 1/2 T- vegetable or olive oli
1 1/2 cups -white rice (I use medium grain Goya brand)
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped finely
1 3/4 -cups chicken broth
1 tea -salt
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Set an ovenproof saucepan over medium heat and add oil, rice, and onion. Stir frequently until grains of rice turn milky white, about 5 mins. Add garic and stir a few seconds, until fragrant. Then add chicken broth and 1 tea of salt. Stir and allow liquids to come to a full boil. (At this point you can get creative adding dried herbs, fire roasted peppers etc) Set lid on the pan and transfer it into the oven and bake for 25 mins. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 mins, then fluff with a fork and garinsh with fresh herbs if desired.
4. Knitting Socks
Well just a bit tired of knitting socks. It seems like a big project is in order since variety is the spice of life. Last week I popped by the Knit and Tonic blog to catch up and lo and behold Wendy had just released this fetching little cardigan. She's lucky her little cardigan is safely across the country, away from my greasy mitts. It would go with half of my wardrobe and I wantsssss it! But like a normal socially adjusted knitter I'll put away my urges for petty theft and knit my own.
pictured The Rouges and not pictured but kick ass Albannach.
We did a little window shopping...
Frog was excited by all the hats.
We took a few pictures...
(My hubby was smiling before I snapped this.)
I started a new sock....
Little pumpkins in Yarn Pirate Butternut.
Apparently during all that DVD watching last Sunday my fingers were moving along at a decent speed. Even though this pattern is all knitting with a lot of slipped stitches I'm a bit surprised to have a finished sock already. Something about the texture of the slipped stitches brings to the mind the bumpy back of frogs. (Frog bias may be influencing me) Taking a time out from Christmas knitting with my favorite yarn and an easy pattern was the right choice. Instead of being grumpy about socks I'm enjoying them again.
One of the things I was watching during that DVD marathon was a TV series that a work friend convinced me to check out. He said he knew I'd like Pushing Daises and he was right, l love it. Between, knitting references, spontaneous outburst of song and spoofs of things like the dream sequence from Vertigo I've been laughing loudly and often. Since Ravelry is awesome there is a Pushing Daises knitting group already. I've joined but need to get caught up before posting to avoid any spoilers.
Is it wearable?
Is it "perfect"?
Will you rip out what could be changed to make in perfect?
No way in hell!
So that's where we are with my somewhat cowl, it's done and it's going to stay that way. The finished product is a bit to big but I wore it to work and no one made jokes about hand knitting or even asked if I made it.
But hypothetically how would I reknit this?
1. Knowing now that alpaca grows I'd knit the size 34 instead of 36.
2. Looking at other people's Somewhat Cowls on Ravelry I like the way this sweater looks in darker colors a lot more than in the pale lavender yarn. I'd probably go for a gray or brown.
3. The raglan line has already been shortened but I'd reduce the length further. Or maybe raglans just don't work for my shoulder/bust configuration. Not sure on this point.
4. I'd cut out even the tinniest place where the silk in the yarn did not spin as finely as it should have. When knitting in the round cutting out these areas seemed like a pain and I only did it for larger slubs. But now there are smaller slubs in the bottom front of the sweater that continue to annoy me.
Considering that this sweater was cast on in mid 2007, I'm just glad it's done!
Turns out 47 yards of reinforcement thread is not enough to finish heels and toes of two man sized socks. DOH! So much for finishing up one of my husbands Christmas presents. While another spool is on order I found myself free to pursue other socks.
Hazel Knits - Chuckanut Drive
Pattern - Slippery Socks
Maybe I can trick myself into participating in Socktoberfest if I never sign up. :)
when the temperature dips down to the 60's and I get routinely mocked for dressing in wool jackets, scarves and hats. I know their just jealous of my hand knits.
My current favorite is this new gretel beret knit in Ultra Alpaca Oceanic Mix. It has been worn every day on my walk to the train station and sometimes in the office where the air conditioning continues to run.
Initially this hat was almost ripped since the unblocked version had almost no slouch making my head looked my some sort of mutant blueberry. (Blueberry brains, the favorite of every zombie!) But then the nugget of information that alpaca grows when it hits the water was remembered just in time. The finished hat is perfect in my opinion with just enough slouch to be a bit sassy.
Somewhat cowl turned into a not really cowl and new shoes to complete the outfit. Modeled shots to come when weather permits.
Christmas sock production or how to turn your hobby into a second job. But you can't really blame family for taking a liking to knitted socks, you know. Status -black pair complete, brown pair down to heel flap of 2nd sock, green pair only has pattern picked out. (Lacey Pillars in Smooshy black parade, Classic socks, in Shibui in rust, Euphorbia to make elfine socks)
A new dessert, Chocolate Meringue Tart from cook book Chocolate Epiphany. Oh yes it is that good because there is an indecent amount of butter and heavy cream in there.
Fortunately the hormones are at a much more even keel today and Christine of Too Much Yarn give me a nice little push by awarding my blog an Arte y Pico. Thanks Christine my fellow sock yarn addict, you've made my day!
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the site that give you the Arte y Pico.
2. Pick 5 blogs that you feel have interesting material, creativity, content and link to them.
3. Leave comments on these blogs so that they know they have been awarded.
4. Link to the Arte y Pico blog.
5. Show these rules.
Time to pay it forward as they say and post my own award winning blog pics.
Ysolda is not only a talented young designer, but often inspires me with her photographs of items around her house or places she's visited. I want to be her when I grow up.
Emily of the Family Trunk Project is designing garments inspired by members of her family. Not only are the designs lovely, reading about the history that goes along with each one is just as enjoyable. For another excellent read check about the "interview" she did with Ysolda here.
A new to me blog is Ashley of doggedknits who's forays into quilting might just inspire me to use up some of the huge box of cotton from my grandmother's stash. She also has that talent of taking beautiful picture of everything that I'm in awe of.
Glenna of Knitting to stay sane has mad skillz in the colorwork that make me say "I'm not worthy". Her Garnet Venezia still makes me drool a bit when looking at her project page. Not to mention she has some lovely designs that will be knit someday!
Not a knitting blog but one that I find very enjoyable is Farmgirlfare. Full of recipes, cute pictures of farm animals and gardening stories/advice, Susan is living my personal dream of living on her own farm. Don't know where she finds the time but she also has a gardening blog and a bread baking blog. Yummmm
It’s obvious that I have a thing for frogs. It’s not clear when the “obsession” started but it does predispose me to liking certain things. Liking things like these; Kiss that Frog mittens! I have to thank one of my Ravelry friends, shamroxann for queuing them. They showed up on my friend activity and they immediately became something that must be knitted NOW! (Isn’t the friend activity view the best thing ever)
No modifications other than having to sub a fingering yarn for worsted since I’m “loose knitter” from having kissed the blog frog too much. Both yarns are Hazel knit’s Artisan sock, main color Baroness and contrast color Euphorbia.
Shamroxann queued these this week Bunny and Frog mittens. hee heee
1.Knitter finds somewhat cowl pattern and falls in love with it. Orders alpaca silk kit and some extra yarn from kpixie.
2. Knitter knits body of sweater, decides neckline should be higher, frogs and reknits, repeat.
3. Knitter throws half completed sweater in corner to hide it from site.
4. Knitter decides week before Xmas that everyone must have knitted gift! No time to order so some of the alpaca silk is used for grandma's scarf. Thinks this will probably bite her in the a** at some point but there are no other options.
5. Early summer knitter decides to frog or complete every half finished project hidden in corners of rooms. After trying on the somewhat cowl she decided the raglan line needs to be shorter and rips back again.
6. Things go smoothly but knitter runs out of yarn before sweater is done. Decides to go order from yarn garden because they also have tempting sublime yarns. Places order for sublime extra fine merino and some alpaca silk. It is mid July.
7. Yarn store emails saying, "Sorry the sublime is out of stock but we think it will be in next week." Knitter decides this is acceptable and does not cancel the order.
8. Time passes and fickle knitter moves on to other projects not thinking about somewhat cowl which is hidden under a pile of magazines.
9. A month later a box from yarn garden appears on stoop and knitter remembers order. Thinks "Cool I can finish that sweater now" but when the box is open there is only sublime yarn.
10. Knitter looks on receipt and sees that she has not been charged for alpaca silk. She figures the sublime took longer than expected to arrive at the yarn store and they just forgot. She chuckles to herself that she was greedy to get the sublime yarn and this is what happens.
11. Labor day the knitter decides to order that alpaca silk from webs since she is buying lots of other yarn.
12. Today knitter comes home to find an inexplicable package of alpaca silk from yarn garden on the porch. Isn't it ironic, don't you think? :)
The all American socks are all done, now if it would just get cool!
Between baking cookies and riding roller coasters here is what's come off my needles recently.
The all American sock is well on it's way to becoming a pair. Yarn is Pigeon Roof Studio's fingering in color Bohemian. Since Pigeon Roof Studio sells her skeins in smaller sizes I knit these toe up. It turned out that there was plenty of yarn for a plain knit in round sock like this.
Next is the mitten pattern that made me take the color work plunge, Kiss that frog mittens. The designer has much tighter tension then I do, so instead of worsted these are knit in Hazel Knit's Artisan sock. In person you'd be able to see that my floats aren't always long enough and other tension problems. My inner 5 old is happy and wants me to start on the left one right away.
Bottom hee hee frog (Color better in this shot, background is Baroness, Frog Euphorbia.)
Finally something that is not part of a pair; a hat for myself. Some preblock shots of the Bousta beret knit in Sublime Angora Merino color 0044. Love love love this beret so much that it's inspired me to knit some of Ysolda's beret patterns that have been on the back burner for awhile. Right now Gretel might be the first one in the queue. To bad I was "good" and didn't buy that teal Ultra Alpaca at Yarn Love up in the Hershey area. A great store, but if you want to visit mapquest it since it's a bit tricky to find.