Friday, March 31, 2006

Stash Flash!!!

Today is Flash your Stash Day, and I'm obliging... I have to say that although this is a lot of yarn, it's actually not as much as I thought I had, and I'm happy to say that MOST of it is already destined for a project. I'll try to mention that project when I get to each bit o'stash...

This is the "wow, I can make a lot of tweedy sweaters" stash. Here we have Jo Sharp DK Tweed, many balls in both dusky green and brown/red. I have enough of each for an aran sweater, but I'm now planning to use the green for a secret gift project. I think the brown might be destined for Demi from Rowan Vintage Knits. I also have Jo Sharp Aran Tweed, 4 balls in red. Not sure what for, but I love the color and this yarn. There is also a sweater's worth of Tahki Donegal Tweed, dark indigo, and blue Rowanspun Aran (Rogue sweater).

This is the miscellaneous novelty yarn stash. Not much there really, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, aside from the fuzzy white stuff, which is going to be a scarf, eventually.

Bit of a mix here. There is some Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted for Dave's sweater. There is also the handdyed merino for clapotis, and some autumn colored handdyed wool from Ebay. Also, many many skeins of recycled silk (great deal, I'm thinking scarves to sell, we'll see). The dark purple brick with the flag novelty yarn is for a felted purse like one my mother made awhile back. The big white skein is llama that I bought out on the Olympic Peninsula this fall, and it's SO soft. The photo is Cracklin' Rosie, the llama that kindly provided said yarn...

Ah, I told you I loved me some Manos. This is the Manos stash. I've never met a skein of Manos I didn't covet, and as you can see I've given into the urge on many occasions. The light pinkish and dark pinkish skeins are (2 each) for so-called scarves, and the red is for the Purl scarf. Otherwise, I'm open to ideas. I might just roll around in the Manos. There are also two skeins of Noro Kureyon, which was destined to be armwarmers for my mother, until she said something about wanting ones to wear to work and I thought this bright yarn might not be appropriate. The lovely teal skein on the left is from Steadfast Fibers - it reminded me of Manos and so I bought it, and I really like it but I'm not sure what to do with it. And yes, I do realize there is some almost identical teal Manos in the stash, but that came later and will be something else.

Sock stash
We all know that sock yarn isn't really part of the stash, and probably shouldn't even be shown, but it would feel neglected if it wasn't photographed with the rest of the fiber, and we wouldn't want that. There are two skeins Trekking XXL, a skein of Sockotta, two skeins Regia (one pair), and the crowning glory, three skeins of Socks that Rock. The astute will spy four skeins of Koigu, but those are for a scarf, not socks, although they weaseled their way into this photo...

This is the Knitpicks stash. Lots of Wool of the Andes, with projects undetermined, but probably hats. There is also ivory Andean silk, for a scarf for me, and a skein of navy blue Decadence, probably for a hat.

Ah, the Rowan stash. I love Rowan, but even I can admit that I might have gone a bit overboard with the Polar when it was being discontinued. It was on a great sale on Ebay, and I have a plan in mind for a fair bit of it, from Loop-di-Loop. I'm also envisioning a red and white striped scarf for next Christmas...As for the dark green Rowanspun 4-ply, I think that might be the only thing in the stash I'm not keen on. It's thinner than I was expecting, although I do love the color. The pink Calmer is from Elspeth, so it has a project, although since I'm probably going to rip Elspeth out, it might be on the browsing market. All of this yarn came from Cucumberpatch via Ebay. I tell you, that woman is a yarn pusher great seller, with phenomenal prices, fast shipping, and vast selection. I need to stay away...

The truly random pile. This is the stash that I'm not sure what to do with; I really like a lot of it, and bought skeins here and there that I liked, but I think in many instances I'm not going to have enough of them to do anything...We have a lovely skein of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, a giant skein of undyed thick and thin wool (long scarf), one skein ivory Svale (leftover from a tank I made last summer), three skeins of E. Lavold angora (red), and bunch of E. Lavold Silky Wool (teal and dusty green). There is also Karabella Aurora 8, for my Ruffles scarf (in progress). The red Douceur et Soie goes with some red Manos for the Purl scarf, and the Noro Cash Iroha (teal and purple) is left over from Christmas gifts this year. There is also a leftover skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Lastly, there are some random skeins of Berroco Soft Twist (green), Koigu (pink/purple, for a gift), and Inca Print. And a giant skein of Plymouth Outback Wool (no idea). Lastly, there is lovely Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, for a lacy scarf for me.

Looking at the stash, I don't see a lot of appropriate Project Spectrum yarn for April (yellow and orange)...hum...I also didn't bother taking or posting more photos of the yarn I bought at the Wooly Monkey closing sale, since I posted it last weekend.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The importance of my tweed messenger bag

I got some friendly (?) ribbing at lunch yesterday about this project, and my lack of progress. Which is fair, seeing as I started this messenger bag about 18 months ago. It was one of my first non-scarf projects, although the argument could be made that it's basically the same thing, being three rectangles. This project (which I actually love, contrary to all the evil things I was saying about it yesterday at lunch) was a first in many ways. First off, it was the first time I bought a knitting magazine. I was at Acorn Street Shop, buying yarn to make a scarf for a now ex-boyfriend (that is another story, that scarf. He better still wear it because let me tell you it was an effort. But I digress). I was flipping through the books and magazines, looking for a good scarf pattern, when I stumbled upon this tweed messenger bag in Family Circle Easy Knitting, Holiday 2004
(NOT a back issue - I told you this was awhile ago). In fact, I love a lot of the patterns in this issue, and in retrospect I find that amazing because I don't think I've found a single thing I would knit in any issue since. I'm pretty picky about clothes, and this magazine probably isn't trendy enough for me (I love Rowan but they've gone a bit off the deep end even for me), but there are some great accessories and the like. So, first magazine purchased. I was helped along by the fact that I was wearing a sweater made of almost identical yarn to the bag in the magazine...

This was also the day I bought my first knitting book, Knit Scarves, wherein I found a pattern I was going to make for the now ex-boyfriend. It was a lovely white cable scarf, and I was going to make it in dark grey because I knew he'd want a grey scarf. As soon as I got home with the yarn and the book I realized that one shouldn't really bother making a dark grey cable scarf because the cables blend in, and it's not worth the effort. So I made it ribbed instead, but I digress again. I've still not made anything from this book, although there are some cute things. Right, moving on. This was also the first day I came home from the yarn store with buckets of yarn. Previously I had bought a couple skeins for a scarf or two, or the yarn I needed from my first non-garter stitch non-scarf project, which was an elaborate cable hat (dream big!). On this occasion all hell broke loose. I bought, as I recall, the yarn for the bag (way too much, as it's turning out. I think I could make another one with what I'll have left), lovely dark grey wool/alpaca for the now ex-boyfriend scarf, yarn to make a purple felted tote bag like one my mother had made that summer, yarn for two different colored beaded sachets (for my grandmothers' Christmas gifts), and several skeins of scarf yarn for scarves to sell (which worked out quite well). There may have been more but it's hidden deep in the depths of my memory, for sanity purposes. Anyway, I think we can agree that was a lot of yarn. However, this day still didn't really mark the beginning of the "stash," it was just a blip. But, it was a harbringer of things to come...
Without further ado, I present the pieces of the messenger bag. I have been done with the main pieces for well over a year now, and I just had the handle to make. I knitted about 2 feet of it last night, and I think it might be long enough. The pattern calls for 95" and mine is about 75," but I laid it out around the bottom of the bag and I think it might be okay already, especially since the handle will probably stretch a bit. I blocked the finished pieces last night to give my hands a break from the knitting, and they're dry and ready to go. So, tonight I might pin the thing together, see about the strap length, and knit or sew accordingly.

One of the things that has honestly held me back on this bag is the lack of lining fabric. I have something very specific in mind that I just can't find (yes, I have been looking, for the past year, whenever I went into a fabric store. The bag was out of sight, but not entirely out of mind). I want off-white calico with little flowers in various shades of brown. This fabric does not exist, and although I will finish knitting this bag, and put it together and count it as a finished object, I will hold out for the fabric to fulfill my vision. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

Oh, last night Dave and I made some dye stocks, in two shades of green, to experiment with the acid dyes before the dyeing party. Update on that hopefully tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

May I present Lady Eleanor

How beautiful is this? The top photo is the "look how huge this thing is" and the bottom is more likely how Lady E will be worn. I LOVE this scarf. I cannot stress enough how happy I am with this, and I think it's the knitted object I'm most proud of having made. I've still not decided on the fringe question, but I've got the folks at the Scarf Style knitalong mulling it over as well.

Project Specs: Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style
Yarn: 10 skeins Noro Silk Garden, from Little Knits, colorway 225
Needles: Size 9 Clover bamboo, 24" circular
Time on the needles: 1/2/06-3/17/06, minus 2 weeks for Knitting Olympics
Modifications: None really, but I had many more rows than the pattern suggested due to my yarn substitution
Result: Priceless

This project flew by, I think because enterlac is so satisfying. Because it's done is all little squares, you're always finishing something, so it feels like you're making real progress, unlike say, the back of a stockinette sweater (ahem). And enterlac is forgiving, especially with this type of uneven yarn. Plus, silk garden keeps you on your toes, occasionally throwing in bits of tree/grass/hunks of silk...It's expensive yarn, considering how much you use for something this big, but I got a great deal on a bag (40% off!), so it wasn't outrageous (and reminder, look how gorgeous it is!). Just when I would think that this was too expensive a project for an almost starving graduate student, I looked up the yarn that was recommended in the pattern, which would've cost something like $200, and then I felt much better...I'm already wanting to make another one of these, but I doubt I really need two. A thinner scarf version could be nice...keep this in mind when requesting Christmas/birthday/graduation presents!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Yes, I'm getting somewhere

Modified Project List (just to show that I've been making progress):

Large Projects (aka projects that are enjoyable yet/or suck the life out of you)
1. Lady Eleanor - DONE
2. Hike sweater (Rowan 37) - 40% done, working on right front
3. ****gift**** - yarn acquired, pattern in hand, waiting until something else big is done
4. Rogue - yarn and pattern in hand. See #3
5. Ribbed sweater from LMKG - for Dave, yarn acquired. This is a boyfriend sweater and I'm a bit afraid to knit it in case it brings bad karma.
6. Asymmetrical vest/hat - from Loop-d-Loop - have yarn, started hat but frogged it. Probably more of a small project since it's big yarn, so maybe it'll get shifted down later.

Small Projects (aka small portable things that there is no reason I'm procrastinating on)
1. Elspeth (Rowan 37) - 30% done on verge of being frogged, but I worked on it (enough to screw it up)
2. ****gift**** - 35% done, for Christmas. Should've been last Christmas but what can you do?
3. Clapotis - yarn acquired
4. Ruffles scarf - started, from Scarf Style, will probably frog as gauge is too tight to make yarn feel lovely
5. Tweed messenger bag - 80% done, all I have left is the strap, this is just embarrassing

Unepic Projects (aka the ones where there is really no excuse)
1. Dave's blue hat - DONE
2. Undisclosed gift project (Pam's armwarmers) - DONE
3. So-called scarf - yarn acquired, several times over (what can I say, I love me some Manos)
4. Purl scarf - yarn acquired. See above.
5. Red drop-stitch scarf - DONE
6. 2/3 sachet - DONE
7. Yellow/green/blue scarf - 50% done, started years ago and forgot to put it on the list

For the Future (aka if I ever finish the rest of these)
1. Lace Leaf Pullover
2. Hourglass sweater
3. Hedgehog - have the kit, very cute, might get bumped up to unepic projects
4. Midwest Moonlight scarf - yarn acquired (oops)
5. Too many to count...

I see that I've made significant inroads into the works-in-progress, but mostly only on the unepic things. That makes sense though, since I/we tend to tackle the small easy things first. For instance, I always do the daily Suduko puzzle on my calendar while procrastinating before doing any complicated experiments. I would be making more progress on those unepic projects if I could start them :) That said, not casting on anything new has been good for me, although I'm really bored with most of the things I'm making at the moment. The troubles with Elsepth about killed me, so I moved onto something else a bit lacy (small project #2) last night, and that was good.

Secret project revealed!!!

So I mentioned a few posts ago that I was making another covert project that didn't break the Lenten rules (which we've seen I've been disregarding anyway). And here it is (well, half of it): This is one of the armwarmers that I made for Pam (she of the pink eyelash skirt). I promised her armwarmers months ago, and I had this hand-dyed yarn from Ebay all ready to go, but hadn't made them. Pam's been a bit down lately so I figured now was the time to get knitting! I'll try to bring my camera to work and get a photo with them in action, but for now the kitchen counter shot will have to suffice. The pattern is a variation of the twisted rib armwarmer pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. This yarn was lovely to work with, but sadly I don't remember much about it except that it's 100% wool and hand-dyed. It's very soft and springy like merino, and the colors were great. I aspire to dye yarn half this cool...I have a fair bit left and I want to make a ribbed hat for myself, but we'll see if there is enough (after Lent of course).

Susan, there were no leftovers from Lady Eleanor, but I'm sure you can be expecting something knitted...and Sven as well...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Off the wagon...

Well, it's happened. I've fallen off the Lenten wagon, and it was a long way down. But, it's not my fault. You see, one of our many local yarn shops is closing, and everything was 50% off. Although I bought too much some yarn, it would have been much worse had I gotten there before things were really picked over. For the sake of full disclosure, here is the haul... What we have here, from the top, is this:
Top: 4 skeins Elsebeth Lavold Silky wool, bright teal (I'm in a teal phase. I'm thinking tank top or lacy scarf)
Middle: 8 skeins GGH Goa (blue, for Midwest Moonlight scarf), 4 skeins (but I bought 8) GGH Aspen (ivory, cable knit scarf?)
Bottom: 3 skeins GGH Samoa (green), 2 skeins each pink and brown E. Lavold Cotton Patine (dishclothes? sachets? cute little bag? bandanna? I liked the colors together)

Now I realize that is a lot of yarn, but if you saw how cheap it all was (mostly cotton, not pricey to begin with, and 50% off), you would've done the same (right?). The main reason it seems like so much is that the skeins of Goa and Aspen are small, so I needed that many to have enough for a scarf...

I also bought a sock pattern and a reversible cable scarf pattern, as well as the last set of 10 1/2 wood DPNs, a size I don't have that will come in handy for hats. So, Pam, I know I have misbehaved, but I'll try to do better from now on, I really will, and I haven't cast anything on, so at least I'm doing well there. Plus, I might recall that the not buying of yarn was an addition to the 'not casting on anything new' pledge, so maybe cheating isn't so bad?!?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sore legs and weekend plans

I went running yesterday. It had been awhile. And by awhile I mean ~6 months. I had been running a lot back in the end of the summer, and then I injured my foot. I'm not sure what I did, the doctor wasn't sure what I did, and there was nothing to do but walk around with a small ache and get out of shape...I'm not sure what caused this injury, which the sports medicine doctor called a "muscle/tendon sprain," but I have some theories. One is that I had been running a lot, and perhaps it was an overuse injury. Two is that I injured it hiking, while stepping on a rock awkwardly or recovering from some sort of stumble (I'm good at tripping while hiking, and thankfully I have quick reflexes so I recover without incident most of the time). Three is that I had just gotten new shoes, and maybe they are to blame. I like this last hypothesis because it removes the blame from me, unless I consider buying these particular shoes something I should've known not to do. The problem with the last theory is that these shoes were the same brand as my old ones, and built on the same last, so really I doubt they were the problem (although I haven't worn them since, just in case). In any event, all fall my foot hurt - it hurt going downstairs (but not up), it prevented me from doing any hiking, etc. Finally when I got back from Christmas at home I noticed it wasn't bothering me anymore, and I have to honestly say that I now can't remember which foot hurt (which is pathetic, and I realize this). The astute will comment that it is now the end of March, and I could've been running for the last 3 months, to which I say, yes, that's true, but I was scared it wasn't really healed, and that I would injure it again and be back at square one with summer hiking just around the corner. But, I've been snowshoeing a fair bit and that hasn't been a problem, so I figured it was time to break out the running shoes (the old ones, just in case). It was a short run, 20 minutes, because you have to ease into these things. And my legs aren't as sore as I expected (the snowshoeing paying off?), but I am out of shape. I repeat, out of shape. But my foot didn't and doesn't hurt, so maybe all is well.

Last night I went to Value Village, which is an experience, and hunted down a large stainless steel pot for the yarn dyeing. I bought dyes last weekend, and took a photo of them but it didn't really turn out. I plan to attempt a brief dyeing project this weekend to make sure I'm capable before subjected my friends to it, and will take lots of photos of said endeavor. I'm also hoping the weather cooperates because I want to go snowshoeing down at Mount Rainier tomorrow. They have guided hikes from Paradise and I've been wanting to go down all winter. Dave will be racing his bicycle, so I have to hope for dry roads as I don't have chains for my Jeep. I also plan to finish my secret project, gift it, and post photos...Oh, and spend a fair bit of time in the lab (boo hiss).

My mother left a comment yesterday asking what is an "Elspeth" to which I respond I have no idea. Rowan comes up with vaguely namelike titles for all their patterns, but I don't know if that refers to anything else. I do thank her for reading my blog though, and for posting comments, even with a slow dial-up connection!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Elspeth, belated

Here is the promised Elspeth photo. She's quite pretty, but she's a pistol...
Still haven't decided what to do with her - instead I started a secret gift project (allowed under the Lent rules as "something small not for myself"). Photos to follow when it is done and gifted, but I'm very happy with it so far...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Pink projects - success and failure

So a couple of days ago I alluded to having had some problems with my pink WIPs...Although I screwed both of them up, the pink sachet went from this (Sunday evening) to finished last night at my knitting club meeting. It is finished and I bet you can't find the mistake (really a minor picot edge/beading error on the top somewhere, and might be on the back in the photo (good disquise). It should have a ribbon around the top but I used that for something else and I don't think I'll bother with it since it's just going in with my unmentionables anyway. Since I'm not so big on the traditional lavender, I stuffed it with some magnolia scented wax (?) potpourri and it's quite lovely. So, that was some pink project success, and another Project Spectrum FO for me!

On to the trouble...
I started making Elsepth, from Rowan 37, back in the summer. I ordered up the Rowan Calmer from a lovely woman in England on Ebay, and got right to it. I loved the yarn from the beginning, and I still do, and I also still really like the look of the finished piece, but it is a royal pain in the a$% to knit. Possibly this is something personal to me, in that I seem utterly incapable of following directions/charts/etc. Anyway, the problem is as follows: I started with the back, and I was doing really well following the pattern, doing the increases as required, and then knitting straight in pattern, no problems. Then I got to the raglan shoulder shaping and all hell broke loose. I did fine the first couple of decrease rows, and then I ran into trouble. Now, I'm pretty sure I was following the directions, and I made my own chart when I started this project, and as I decreased I was writing all over it so I would know exactly what I was doing each row so I could keep with the pattern. However, all my planning was in vain when I all of a sudden, and despite going back and staring at the thing several times still not knowing why, I ended up with 2 two many stitches on one half of the back and then that many again on the second half (halves because I put a marker in there for chart-following sanity). I tried to go back and fix it, I really did, but it has yarnovers, and k2togs (and horror, p2tog through the back loops, which is like a complicated gymnastics manuever). In any event, I can't fix it, I can't tink it because it's lace and I'm impatient. I might frog back to the last plain knit row and try to sort it out, or I may rip the whole damn thing out and maybe/maybe not start again. How much will I wear a pink shrug? When I started, probably a lot. Now that I have dark hair, probably not so much. So, that said I may cut my losses and figure out something to do with 4 light pink skeins of Calmer. Thoughts?
PS: Blogger won't let me upload the photo - I'll try to do it later

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Special guest appearance

Today we have a special guest - Pam's legs!!!

Now I'm pretty sure that I've never seen an eyelash skirt before, so this is a first for me. Pam bought a pound of pink eyelash (slightly variegated, which you can't really see in the photo) on the internet. Her first plan was to make a dress with it, but that got scaled down in favor of a skirt. This is the second incarnation of the skirt, the first having had a grey background and being obscenely short (her words, that one didn't see the light of day). This one has a black background and ruffle around the bottom, and some bobbles that blend in just above the ruffle. Although it is bright, it's fun and she is quite happy with it. I will say that there is NO way I could pull off such a skirt, but Pam is doing it quite nicely. There is enough eyelash left for another one, should anyone be in the market : )

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A miracle!!!

There are actually two miracles to this post, but only one has been documented, and that is this one:
What you see there is an actual Seattle Times newspaper, delivered to my apartment door. Now, this may seem trivial to some, but if you knew of the troubles I've had actually receiving a newspaper in the building, let alone at the door, well, then you would understand. Needless to say I was very happy, and promptly threw out 2/3 of the paper, including all the adverts except those that might help me find a bargain laptop. I always want to be a person who reads the Sunday paper, but let's be honest that most of it is crap. I read through the front section and the local news, and I skimmed the sports (go Huskies!!!), and I read the lifestyle sections (although I don't want to be a person who cares about celebrity gossip, I am). But the rest goes straight into the bin. I'm not looking for a job (two sections gone), or a house (two more gone), or a used car (two more), and most of the ads don't do it for me. As an environmentalist I feel guilty even getting the paper, but having it in hand is so much better than reading it online...what I should do is get the NY Times on Sunday and read that. Although the crossword frustrates the hell out of me. At least I have a chance with the Seattle Times, although today they managed (and not for the first time) to print it without numbers. They did catch that before the whole paper was printed and added the version with numbers to another section, but honestly, how does that get past the quality control people?

Miracle #2 is that I finished Lady Eleanor!!! I actually finished on Friday night, with much fanfare that only the cat really appreciated, although I did wake Dave up to show it to him, but I don't think he was properly appreciative...Today I'm going to get some blocking supplies (scary, but I've never blocked anything) and another skein of yarn (three yarn shops consulted before finding the correct colorway) for the fringe, and she'll be done! Just in time for the warm weather :)

In honor of Project Spectrum I dug out all my red yarn and took a photo:

What we have here is 4 skeins of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran, 3 skeins of angora, 1 solid red skein of Manos, 2 varigated red skeins of Manos, 1 skein kid mohair, and two random skeins of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (front). I also have 4 skeins of pink Rowan Calmer that didn't make the photo shoot. It's a nice bunch and makes me really, really want to make my Purl scarf (with the Manos and mohair), but I'm not allowed (I'll get you for this, Pam, just you wait!).

Last night I broke out my pink shrug from Rowan 37 (in the pink Calmer) that hasn't been touched since summer, and it was a debacle. I was doing fine until I started doing the raglan shoulder decreases, and all hell broke loose. I might take photos, I might try to fix it, I might just rip the whole damn thing out. Right after screwing that up I managed to screw up the sachet I was making (which is also kind of pink, and thus good for Project Spectrum), although I fixed that and it's going in with my unmentionables, so I don't think anyone will notice a slight beading error. Photos to come tomorrow, but for now I must finish the crazy confusing experiment I am setting up (yes, on Sunday).

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patty's Day (and another vow)

Short post, no photos, but I pledge that I will finish my Lady Eleanor this weekend! I'm on the last ball of yarn, with probably two tiers and the final triangles left to knit, so this should be doable. I'm putting this in writing so I feel compelled to get it done. Note I've not said anything about blocking...or about fringe...both may have to wait until next week. I've already received a special dispensation allowing me to buy another skein of yarn for the Lady's fringe despite the Lenten vow to not acquire yarn (which, by the way, I've done very well with, despite several trips to the LYS and much online browsing).

I'd say half the people where I work were wearing green in some form or another today, which was fun. I'm not the least bit Irish, but I've got my shamrock earrings and green pants on, to be in the spirit. Now I will go home and drink some Irish beer. But not Guinness...too dark for my blood.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Just a little bit left over...

When I was knitting my Olympic socks it seemed like I wasn't using that much yarn, especially compared to Rachel, who was also making some STR socks (in lightweight, mine were mediumweight), and who just barely had enough yarn. So I decided to figure out just how much extra yarn I have... What you're looking at here is the leftover ball of yarn (top) compared to one sock (bottom), and you can see that there is almost an entire sock of yarn left! Since I loved knitting with this yarn I'm pretty excited, and trying to decide if I have enough for short arm/handwarmers. I think I do, but I'll probably rewind the ball into a center pull and knit from both ends at once (on two sets of DPNs, I'm cringing at the tangling already!) just to be sure...
By the way, this photo is a great example of the perks of being in science. Usually that is the 'toxic chemical' weighing scale, but on this day it was the 'superwash merino' weighing scale!

Monday, March 13, 2006

In which there is no knitting...

Because knitting isn't an expensive enough hobby for me, I also downhill, although there was no knitting to speak of this weekend, there was this:

The top photo is Mt. Shuskan, and the bottom Mt. Baker. There was also Dave on his first snowboarding attempt. The boy managed to be really good at snowboarding despite not taking a lesson. By the end of the day (hell, the middle of the day) he was doing all the medium runs without falling. I'm pretty sure if I'd tried snowboarding I'd have still been falling off the lift at the end of the day...

Note handknitted hat :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Another FO!!!

Last night I finished and gifted Dave's blue Manos hat. He loved it, and had no idea that I was making it :)
I have a lot of yarn left, in both the main dark blue and the lighter blue (stripes). This will promptly head back into the Manos stash, and hopefully get integrated into another project instead of laying around feeling unwanted forever, which is what happens to most of my leftovers...

I realized last night that I have another project that could be part of Project Spectrum - the pink shrug/capelet/who know what to call it from Rowan that I started over the summer. So, as soon as Lady E is done (on the 9th ball and moving fast), I'll dig that out and work on it try to remember where I was...

I spent a bit of time at Weaving Works today lusting over yarn (and not buying any, this Lent thing is killing me) and looking at their dyeing wall. They have all kinds of dyes, and I think I've figured out the kind I want to get for the dyeing party. I did buy, as you know, loads of Kool-aid last week, but the colors are so much more varied and intense with proper commercial dyes, so I want to go that route. I have a vision, and it involves blue and turquoise (maybe not at the same time), which I can't do with Kool-aid. We'll see. I didn't buy anything because I want to take a poll of the Easter dyeing party attendees and see what colors people want most so I can attempt to accomodate them (as long as it's also what I want - heheh).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Project Spectrum

I read about Project Spectrum a couple of weeks ago, and thought it was a great idea, but figured I couldn't really join just yet, due to the fact that I'm not allowed to cast on any new projects, and therefore wouldn't be able to knit anything pink or red for March. However, I realized, in a stroke of brilliance, that I had this lovely bit of knitting already on the needles!
So, I promptly signed myself up and got back to this scarf. I started this beauty over a year ago, and it's just been lanquishing in a bag next to my desk at work. I'm not sure why - it's soft, I love the color (who doesn't love red on grey days, of which we have plenty?), it's on size 15 needles with drop stitches so it flies along, etc. Just a few hours of concerted effort and several back episodes of The Daily Show and voila...another FO!

Specs: Red drop-stitch scarf

Pattern: Made up as I went along

Yarn: 2 skeins Gerifil Filati Fantasia

Needles: Clover bamboo, size 15

Time to completion: Let's not go there

I also swatched the Kool-aid dyed yarn and I really like the way it came out - now I just have to figure out what to do with it (after Easter of course)...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My Initial Foray into Kool-Aid Dyeing

As promised, here is my first attempt at Kool-aid dyeing. I had a skein of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, and I wanted to practice the art of combining fruitiness with wet wool before subjecting my friends to said activity. So, I went to the store and bought some Kool-aid:

For the record, didn't Kool-aid used to be 8 packets for $1? Now it's only that is $5 worth of Kool-aid. Even worse, they've discontinued the blue, which is going to severely hamper my attempts to make teal/blue/green yarn...but I digress.

Then I choose my colors (right) and mixed them with some water. At this point they looked really intense, so I figured I was on the right track...

I laid out my yarn in a loose skein, after soaking it in some lukewarm water for a few minutes (probably not long enough, I got impatient). Then I started putting on the dye, lighter colors first, until I had this lovely color combo. Following this I wrapped the whole mess up in Saran-wrap and put it in my colander over some boiling water for 30 minutes, then rinsed it and hung it in the shower to dry. This is what I ended up with:

Overall I'm pretty happy with it, although I wish the colors were a bit more intense. I've learned that I needed a lot more Kool-aid to get bright colors, but this was a fun experiment and I'm looking forward to doing it again. The whole operation was remarkably fast. I used a turkey baster to apply the color, but something with a smaller orifice would be better for controlling where the color went. Or a lighter touch - as I said before I got a little impatient, wanting to be done so I could see how it went! I'll post pictures of a swatch as soon as I make one, but the yarn is still a tad damp so I don't want to wind it just yet...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

See, I'm wearing my socks!

I tried out my Friday Harbor socks today and they were quite cushy, although I'm convinced I could feel the stitches. Might have been the shoes...definitely worthy of further investigation. The picture really shows off the brilliant colors of this yarn, even though it doesn't show much of the pattern.

Yarn for Clapotis

So, I just have to show off the pretty yarn I got for Clapotis. I bought this on Ebay, and it's handpainted in South America. They have a wonderful selection of colors and it's extremely cheap, especially for 100% merino. The shipping is a bit slow, but if you saw my list of projects you know I have plenty to keep me occupied...I have three skeins of each of these colorways. I'm leaning towards the black and greys, since I think it would be more versatile, but the purple one is lovely as well, nicer in person than in this photo, and less washed out. I've swatched this and it's very nice to knit with (can't go wrong with worsted weight merino) and there wasn't any noticable pooling (although of course my swatches were tiny). All in all, I'm really happy with this yarn. I think it would make a great sweater and will keep that in mind, should I ever be at a loss for yarn and/or projects...

Lady E update, and a covert project

My Lady E is growing up so fast! I've just started the 8th skein and expect to have her done in a couple of weeks.

I'm a bit concerned she won't be long enough, but I think I can block her into submission...

I've also been working on this hat covertly. It's for Dave. I told him I would make him a Manos hat (SO hard to part with the Manos stash!), but I'm trying to keep it a secret, so it's going slowly since I can only work on it when he's well out of sight. It's a simple stockinette, with some random purling thrown in, as well as some stripes from a lighter blue skein of Manos left over from one of the Christmas hats I made for my coworkers. It also has a basketweave border instead of ribbing at the bottom, which I hope will be stretchy enough.

I'm planning on having a yarn dyeing party with the Fiberphiles (my lunchtime kniting crew) sometime in the near future, so last night I bought this great book at Barnes and Noble. It has great instructions for dyeing wool (yarn and roving), and some good tips for sock patterns as well, although I'm already well-stocked for sock books. I bought it mainly for the dyeing tips. I made my first attempt at Kool-Aid dyeing some Knitpicks Wool of the Andes today as an experiment (before sucking my friends into this I wanted to make sure it was really feasible). More on that tomorrow, with a photo journal of the event...needless to say, I have some learning to do...

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Promised List o'Projects

Let me preface this, because it is scary, by saying that I'm not usually one to abandon things. I think with knitting it's not so much a leaving things behind problem, but more a 'ooh look, pretty new yarn/pattern/stuffed animal kit/gift idea' problem that causes me to have more projects on the needles (or planned, with yarn purchased, because once the idea is in my head I have to get on it right away, or I just keep fixating on it until I have the supplies on hand) than most yarn shops have as samples. So, in the name of full disclosure, and because I said I would, and I like to keep my word, here is the list, in all its glory. I don't think I left anything out, but I did organize it a bit into various types of projects, and indicated what progress, if any, has been made on each item...I'm listing them in the tentative order I hope to complete them, per group, but I reserve the right to change that, as it is my perogative to knit what I want!

Large Projects (aka projects that are enjoyable yet/or suck the life out of you)
1. Lady Eleanor - 70% complete
2. Hike sweater (Rowan 37) - 40% done, working on right front
3. ****gift**** - yarn acquired, pattern in hand, waiting until something else big is done (Xmas)
4. Rogue - yarn and pattern in hand. See #3
5. Ribbed sweater from LMKG - for Dave, yarn acquired. This is a boyfriend sweater and I'm a bit afraid to knit it in case it brings bad karma.
6. Asymmetrical vest/hat - from Loop-d-Loop - have yarn, started hat but frogged it. Probably more of a small project since it's big yarn, so maybe it'll get shifted down later.

Small Projects (aka small portable things that there is no reason I'm procrastinating on)
1. Pink shrug (Rowan 37) - 25% done (that might be generous)
2. ****gift**** - 35% done, for Christmas. Should've been last Christmas but what can you do?
3. Clapotis - yarn acquired this week (pre-Lent)
4. Ruffles scarf - started, from Scarf Style, will probably frog as gauge is too tight to make yarn feel lovely
5. Tweed messenger bag - 80% done, all I have left is the strap, this is just embarrassing

Unepic Projects (aka the ones where there is really no excuse)
1. Dave's blue hat - 50% done
2. Undisclosed gift project - yarn acquired
3. So-called scarf - yarn acquired, several times over (what can I say, I love me some Manos)
4. Purl scarf - yarn acquired. See above.
5. Red drop-stitch scarf - 70% done. See project 5 above.
6. 2/3 sachet - 80% done. Again, see project 5 above.

For the Future (aka if I ever finish the rest of these)
1. Lace Leaf Pullover
2. Hourglass sweater
3. Hedgehog - have the kit, very cute, might get bumped up to unepic projects
4. Midwest Moonlight scarf
5. Too many to count...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reckoning, and a Lenten Vow

I'm not a particularly religious person, but as a Catholic I'm accustomed to giving something up for Lent. Last year I didn't bother because I couldn't think of anything good. The year before it was cookies and chips of any nature, which was really difficult even though I'm not a big snacker. Today at lunch Pam told me that in the spirit of Lent she's going to give up all desserts. That's right - chocolate, candy, hot cocoa, donuts, anything that could be considered dessert. That's insane. I had to convince her that gum and mints would probably be acceptable, although she was leaning that way for her coworkers sake. Anyway, she suggested that I give up starting new projects for Lent. This is a good idea, so I'm going for it. I'm adding in a clause stating I will also not buy any yarn, unless it is absolutely necessary for a project that is already on the needles (like for possible Lady Eleanor fringe). This clause will be good for the lack of stash storage space as well as the credit card balance. And the whole operation should help me actually finish some big projects that have been on the needles for months/years/millennia. Can I do it though? 40 days without casting on anything new? We'll see. I added another clause stating that I could knit small things for other people that had been planned already, including a hat for my boyfriend that I've been meaning to start for months (and started tonight, shhh).

Last week, when I was on the 'finished socks' high, Rachel suggested rewarding me for finishing projects. She might have been kidding, but I'm going to take her at her word and I'm rushing on Lady Eleanor to see what she comes up with...

In the interest of full disclosure, tomorrow I'm posting the list of WIPs, as well as some planned projects, in the order I hope to complete them. It's a scary long hands are sore just thinking about it...

Another Finished Object!!!

Everyone who knows me and my knitting knows that I'm really bad at finishing projects. The reason for this, is, well, there are so many things I want to knit that I'm forever abandoning things and starting new stuff. Or agreeing to knit something for someone else, thus procrastinating on my own projects. But, it was so gratifying to finish the Olympic socks that I decided it should be my goal to finish more things for me. I've actually finished a lot of projects in the last few months, but none of them were for me. I made everyone in my lab (7) hats for Christmas, and several more for family members. I made armwarmers for gifts. I made a slew of hats to sell (6), plus some more armwarmers. I made a long ass orange cabled scarf to sell for probably way less than it was worth. I thought I was done making stuff for other people until own of my mother's coworkers was so keen on the armwarmers I made my mother for Christmas that she wanted some, so I had to make those (no photo). And then my mother decided that she wanted some teal ones, so I made these. I think I'm done knitting for others now, except for assorted covert gifts that I'll be doing here and there, getting a headstart on next year's Christmas knitting...

I've also made massive headway on my Lady Eleanor. I'm in the middle of the 6th ball of yarn, and I have 3 left. I'm debating whether I should use all 10 balls for the shawl and then buy another for the fringe, dye lot be damned (it's just fringe, after all), or stop at 9 balls. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I discovered tonight that it takes me about 6 minutes per enterlac rectangle, which makes me wonder why this thing is taking so damn long. I've worked on it a lot, except for a 2 week hiatus for the Olympics...