Hershey Gardens FO Edition


Even though it was gray and a bit rainy DH and I had a very enjoyable time exploring Hershey Gardens. I'm really impressed with their children's section which had lots of whimsical things for kids mixed with very beautiful and elegant plantings. The overall impression was that it was a fun area that wasn't the least bit dumbed down. Who ever designed it gets a big gold star.
Knowing that we would be visiting the gardens I'd gotten off my butt and finished sewing buttons on the tangled yoke and blocking Liesl earlier in the week. Both sweaters were then ready for their long awaited FO shots. My DH was kind enough to be my photographer again and caught some of the best sweater shots when I was unawares. Tangled yoke photos were taken in the children's garden, mostly in the butterfly house.

It might have been gray but my vamperic eyes still thought it was too bright.

Evidently classifying butterflies is hard enough that you have to mutter to yourself.

nd a nice back shot. The tangled yoke was knit in Rowan felted tweed, color gilt. Size 34 shown on model with 36" bust. The sweater actually blocked out to almost 35." You probably don't remember that I was grousing about the sleeve width way back here. My modification was to cast on 47 stitches and then increase half haphazardly until the sleeve was the prescribed 73 stitches right before it was joined to the sweater body. The rest of the sweater is modification free.

Liesl and I had a lot of problems during knitting (all the knitters fault) but the finished product was worth it. The specifics of the sweater; yarn Sundara aran silky merino in Charcoal over blue lagoon, size 38 on 36" bust.

You can see that using this yarn makes a smaller sized sweater which was fine for my tastes but might not be for you.

Instead of buttons Liesl is closed with a rhinestone pin from my collection. (Think the pin was a ebay purchase years ago)

Vacation knitting


Knitting and vacations go together like peas and carrots.... for example your DH says he wants to go to see the Reading Phillies play a minor league baseball game. No problem, you bring a plain knit in the round sock and suddenly it doesn't matter that the pitchers pitch as many balls as strikes.
DH got some action knitting shots...

then provided little loopy with a good seat. We all thought it was funny that the starting pitcher's last name was Bastardo. (Many bad jokes were made)

After the R-Phils were victorious we enjoyed a very good fireworks display.

The next day we went to Hershey park and rode all the roller coasters until we couldn't stand up straight. The lines were pretty good but the sock came in handy on the newest coaster with an hour wait. As you can see it's much bigger now.

On the last day in the area we went to Hershey gardens, which were so interesting that the sock did not come out of the bag. The gardens did provide a lovely backdrop for some of my finished knits which will appear on the blog soon. Here's a little teaser.

The gauge swatch that lied.....


..... and other tales of horror. Ok I'll admit that this isn't a real knitting horror story. It more like a story that should be followed by that horn sound wahh wahh wahh wohhhhhhhh.
My plan for the purple cardi was to start out all the fronts and back as one piece, with little fake purl side seams. Then it would be split when I got to the armhole so there would be set in sleeves. See we have it all done to that point right here.

With most of the stitches on waste yarn I start wrapping it around me in the train seat and think "this looks too wide". No panicking though because who makes a final decision when just staring down at yourself in a train seat. I get home and repeat the process in front of the mirror and it looks even wider than before, like 2-3 inches wider. So out comes the ruler to see if the stitch gauge is different than the 5.5 per inch on my gauge swatch. No it still comes out 5.5! (See photo proof, the .5 stitch is lurking in the shadow) I repeat the measuring several more times even measuring 4 inches and getting the correct number of 22. Then the number of stitches get counted and I find that there are 199 stitches which divided by 5.5 makes 36.18 inches not the almost 39 inches I'm measuring when the sweater is wrapped around me. What is going on!
It took a good half hour to think of checking the gauge while I had the retangle wrapped around me. It seems that once you have 199 stitches hanging vertically the gauge becomes much more like 5 st per inch, which the calculator tells me is close to 39". Grrrrrrrr. There is a silver lining though, I did some increases under the arms that can be taken out. This takes the stitch count down to 187 which will still be a bit bigger than I wanted but doesn't require everything to be ripped out. That isn't going to stop me from participating in some brownie therapy tonight.

What's inside the woolgirl box?


It's time to open up the woolgirl sock club box! We are all excited because Jen always comes up with interesting themes and puts fun goodies in with our sock yarn. (Frogs gather around hoping for candy or toys) I'm ripping open the flap now and there seems to be something big in here. Oh yes it's a big blue beach bag with a woolgirl decal on it. The inside looks waterproof to keep your knitting nice and dry. There's something pinkish now, a water bottle with yarn inside of it. Can all my future water bottles come with yarn in it? Let's dig that yarn out of there to see the real color. The yarn dyer is Madelinetosh and the color is called Beach Towel which is pink, red, blue, orange and white in a fingering weight. Now where are my sock pattern and such, ah ha there are two of them and there seems to be another little goodie bag down here in the bottom. Inside of this is a tube of lip balm, stitch marker by spindle cat studios, tape measure (which seems to have already disappeared somewhere), little decorative flip flops and a mini beach ball the frogs quickly run away with. I must go retrieve it and throw it had my husband's head. Damn I missed.
That was great fun except that I have to increase the number of skeins in the sock yarn stash.

The Knitter's block has landed


Saturday the mailman left two big packages for me on the porch. One of them was my long awaited knitters block which had been back ordered for a month or so. The other was my woolgirl sock club package which we'll talk about later.
I'd heard Julie talk about her cocoknits knitters block on Stash and Burn's podcast which sold me on trying one out. But I procrastinated until finishing the tangled yoke sweater which put us solidly in fiber festival season. The blocks were then back ordered till August, but I added my name to the list for when the next shipment came in. Now that the block has arrived and had a little test drive with the tangled yoke, how about a review?

This is the original size that comes with 9 twelve inch interlocking squares. The blocks have one side with a "fuzzy" finish, the other side is a rubbery finish. You can interlock the pieces in different configurations which is really nice. I could have used a few more blocks for a long sleeved sweater like the tangled yoke but Julie does sell a Large set with more blocks. T-pins slide in easily and hold to the blocks securely, just be careful if you move the block around because you can poke yourself with the pins poking through the back of the blocks. (Yes I did do this) One of the benefits of this block is that you can iron right on top of it. Using the cotton pressing cloth provided the button bands were steam pressed and it worked perfectly. The other thing I really like about the knitters block is that you're able to move it to several locations with a sweater pinned to it. When living in a tiny tiny apartment that's a big plus. Overall very pleased with this purchase, just should have bought the larger one!

A Taste of Fall


It might have been the delightfully cool week we had at the beginning of August or the Fall clothing catalogs starting to trickle in, but I've got fall clothing on the brain. I'll even admit to geeking out and checking the fall color forecast so that my knitting could be matched to what would be hitting stores soon. It seems that purples and blues are going to be big along with the usual neutrals of black and brown. If any of you can wear mustard yellow that's also big. You can go to Anthropologie and get about 8 sweaters in this color. Mustard yellow being out of the question, purple was chosen as the color to add to my mostly neutral wardrobe of black and gray. Thinking about the things I like to wear, a little purple cardi to wear over shirts seemed like the perfect thing to knit right now.
Over on One planet yarn and fiber they were having a sale on some Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Luster in cassis that looked like would work like a charm. Originally the thought was to add a bit of cable work on the cardi to spice up the design. But my swatches soon showed that the yarn cleverly hides most decorative stitches. Those ideas will have to be tabled for a different yarn and I'll just use some buttons to make the design a little different than what anyone could buy in the store.

Where did all the time go?


Lately the free moments in my day have been passing by so quickly it seems unreal. Last weekend was supposed to be a big sewing weekend but I didn't even get out the machines. Knitting just seemed so much easier and it could be done while watching Due South DVD's. Paul Gross will you be my Mountie boyfriend? On Sunday it rained so hard and all day we found ourselves watching many DVD's. (Robocob not a bad 80's flick, Dead like me darkly funny, and more Paul Gross as dreamy Mountie) Because of this Liesl was finished up late Sunday but I have no pretty pictures to share yet.
Instead here are some pretty socks. The finished Maelstroms in Spirit Trail Fiberworks Loch Ness colorway. Love you socks, you must be mine always.

Strangely Addictive


Watch out! It's the strangely addictive sock that "forced" me to knit it constantly for the past couple of days. And I want to cast on the second one right way! Must be the magic of Cookie A paired with some beautiful colored yarn.

Pattern- Maelstrom from the twist collective
Yarn - Spirit Trial Fiberworks sport weight Helen, in color Lock Ness

This yarn was a recent loopy ewe purchase and I was feeling a bit guilty about it last week. Not anymore looking at how great the colorway knit up in this pattern. Maelstrom starts you out with an easy to remember leg pattern and once you start getting a bit bored there's a leg chart to follow. Love it so much that I'm thinking about knitting it again in another sportweight yarn.

A good deal of this sock was completed because my husband talked me into going on a road trip to a "nearby" winery. It turned out to be over and hour away and I was reminded why knitting is a good hobby.... long road trips just mean more knitting gets done.

My husband also omitted one more thing.... that Twin Brooks mascot is a frog. Had I known a camera would have been in my pocket book to make the employees pose with my frogs and the sock. (There were frog toys all over the tasting room) Come to think of it maybe that's why he didn't say anything.

Celebration day


Today was one of those wonderful days were you send your husband off to work and then do what ever you like. Most of the morning was spent playing on the Twist collective website, which rocked my world. So many cute things to knit and so little time. Then it was time to go out into the world to do a little shopping/design research at my favorite boutiques and Anthropologie. God I love fall clothing and shoesssss! Wrapped up the day trip with a stop down in Kennett Square to visit the yarn shop and the fabric store. The Friday farmers market was in full swing there in town and I got some wonderful croissants and peaches. It was such a great day that I found myself fighting off sleep to stay up late, casting on the Malestrom sock from Cookie A.

In other knitting news when I said before that there were finally the right number of stitches on the needles for Liesl..... it was a lie. Only a certain knitter didn't figure this out until two or three more days of knitting. Garr!!! The sweater does look cute on so we're friends again.

In non knitting news a new obsession of mine is checking out the Emma One Sock fabric website. She has a daily update that changes often with things like "New fabrics just in from Italy. Pictures up soon." Oooooooo!!! When this feather printed cotton showed up I had to have it. It might become a dress or skirt...... or just be a precious to pet while saying pretty pretty pretty. The customer service was excellent, Linda emailed me to say she was shipping my fabrics and free swatches on Thursday and holy cow the package was there when I came home from work. It turned out she's also in PA which accounts from some of the quickness but still A+.
The swatches below are a gray knit, red wool/cashmere double cloth coating (the other side is black), cotton/linen demin, peri blue rayon/lyrca and brown cotton/lyrca suiting. Most tempting. I can see the yarn budget is going to have to be the yarn/fabric budget from now on.
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