Saturday, February 28, 2009


Crystal Mountain
Originally uploaded by Emily E.M.
I got to go skiing!!! It finally snowed again this week, so I headed up to Crystal Mountain today. I went by myself since Dave is out of town, but it was fun regardless. I took the express bus from Seattle, which is definitely the way to go. It's super easy (it leaves from Green Lake, about 10 minutes from my house) and saves a lot of time. They give you your lift ticket on the bus, and if the lines are long, as they were today, that's really great - I figure it saved me at least 20 minutes of waiting in line. Plus, no driving hassles and better for the environment. The snow from Wednesday and Thursday was pretty packed down already, but the groomers were really nice. Not much sun, but a very high overcast and really great visibility, both afar and of the snow, which is key. I hate skiing when the light is really flat - today was pretty ideal!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


As I mentioned last week, I have started the Urban Aran: Urban Aran, just a startI'm about 5" in at this point, and it's going well. My original plan to knit the medium with a smaller gauge didn't appear to be working out - I got a few inches in and decided that it was going to be way too wide. The sweater is designed with more ease than I consider ideal for me, so I'm going with the small and my gauge. So far it's looking like a good width. The cables do pull in, but not as much as I expected - of course it remains to be seen how much they pull in when an entire body piece is complete, but they aren't doing much at the bottom. Plus, with 100% wool I can surely block this baby into submission if it's a touch too small...My fear that the side cables would be too similar to those on the Chevalier Mittens was unfounded. They are similar, but this yarn isn't being knit at a gauge much smaller than it would like, so they aren't as difficult as the mittens. Overall I'm enjoying the sweater, although the Transition Mitts are really addictive - I finished the first one on Saturday. I've resisted casting on the second one so I can work on the sweater, but we'll see how long that lasts...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Madrona, or a break in the "yarn fast"

Ack! I uploaded these photos on Sunday morning so I could post about them, and here it is Wednesday already! The annual Madrona Fiber Arts Festival was this past weekend in Tacoma (Why Tacoma? Really, why not Seattle itself?), and Katrina and I headed down Friday after work. To be fair - we left early. Working in a lab is very flexible. After braving the traffic, we arrived at the hotel and prepared ourselves for battle. Armed with detailed lists and debit cards we attacked the market. In the end Katrina didn't buy anything and I didn't really buy that much, although I'm really happy with what I got. First I bought two skeins of Shibui Sock for the Transition Gloves, started here: That's what Ihad Sunday morning - by now I'm about 2/3 finished with the first mitt, and it's really lovely. I was also looking for unique laceweight yarn that I couldn't get in Seattle (harder than you think, we have a lot of yarn shops here), and I found some: This is undyed wool from Ireland from Black Water Abbey Yarns, and it's very sheepy. I'm imagining some rustic lace with it. I already have yarn for the Cobweb Lace Stole from Interweave, but this might be better. We'll see. Here's a close-up: And I bought some yarn that I probably could've found in Seattle but hadn't, for Anne Hanson's Morning Glory Stole, which Rachel bought me the pattern for a couple of years ago (!) now. It's almost exactly the color of the yarn in the pattern, and it's very lovely in person - the photo doesn't do it justice.So, that's all I bought, and I have plans for all of it. I avoided the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. Well, I didn't avoid it, but I didn't buy anything there. None of the STR leaped off the shelf at me, even though I was looking for some to match a colorway that I already have for a striped scarf. We met Rachel and Pam there and neither of them bought anything either, although they were taking classes and still had Saturday left for shopping, and I've not heard the final damage report.
All in all I thought the mood seemed a bit subdued compared to past years. That's probably the economy talking - I think people are hunkering down a bit with what they have, and although they were there browsing, I didn't see much being purchased. One thing I really noticed, and I think I noticed this two years ago as well, is that the market has too much handdyed sock yarn. Now, don't get me wrong, because I love me some handdyes, but there were SO many vendors selling it, and how many socks does a person need? I realize the purple yarn above is actually sockweight, and I'm not intending to use it for socks, but really a lot of the crazy dyed stuff really won't translate that well into a lot of other items.
In other news, I have started the purple Urban Aran (twice) and it's moving along. I jetisoned my original plan of knitting the medium because it was looking really wide, so now I'm knitting the small and hoping for the best. It's looking reasonable so far, about 5" in...I'd be further along had I not started those addictive orange and white mitts!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Well, the mob, such as it is, has spoken, and it (you) have told me that I should knit the Urban Aran. I am in total agreement with you, and even had Anne-Marie not cast the tie-breaking vote yesterday afternoon, I probably would've proceeded with that choice. Having made this decision, I got to swatching:Purple sweater swatch
I actually cut the yarn, and washed the swatch, which I photographed as evidence. May I just brag for a second that I took this photo with my phone (I got myself a Blackberry Storm for Christmas), and the color is really accurate, better, I think, than my regular camera would have done. Of course I took this at work where we have good light, so that might have something to do with it as well. I also uploaded it to Flickr from my phone, and now I can blog it, all without carrying around my camera. Hehe...
Now that I have the swatch, the problems can begin. Of course my row gauge is a disaster, which is frankly nothing new and I'm not worried about compensating for it, since I do it all the time and the pattern has things like "knit until 11 inches" in length, which make dealing with row gauge managable. The larger issue is my stitch gauge. I'm getting 4.25 st/in, and the pattern calls for 3.75 st/in. I did a lot of math and determined that if I make the medium size with my gauge I should get something in the range of the small size, maybe a bit smaller, which would actually be preferable. So, that's my plan. I was going to convert the pattern to the round to avoid seaming, but I think, with the stitch/row gauge issues, I should knit in pieces so I can knit the back first and make sure it comes out the right width before I knit the entire sweater. Thoughts?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tell me what to do!

Folks, I am having a wee knitting crisis. I've been knitting loads of accessories lately, but I have trouble getting around to wearing them. Mostly this is due to the fact that I bike commute, so I don't really spend much time outside in situations where I need warm scarves (although I have a lot of them), hats (fewer, but still a significant number), or mittens/gloves. I ski, and snowshoe, but for skiing I don't wear scarves, and snowshoeing I really get too warm most of the time. Thus my compulsion to knit fun scarves/hats/mittens/etc is being tempered by the realization that I don't actually get to wear them very often, and although I'll keep knitting accessories, I need to move on a bit just now.
It's not that I haven't knit garments before, but I haven't made a sweater since last winter, and I figure I should get back on that. I have several sweaters worth of yarn hibernating in the stash, and it's time. But, dear readers, I need your help. I have several sweaters in mind, and I'm torn about which to make, and that is where you come in. I'm putting these as non-Ravelry links as well so my mother can see them and provide her opinion, as she is wont to do!

Patons Urban Aran Pullover - in deep purple tweed (Ravelry)
Central Park Hoodie - also in deep purple tweed (Ravelry)
Demi - either tan or light maroon tweed (Ravelry)

I had pretty much decided on the Central Park Hoodie but then I noticed that some of the ones on Ravelry don't really look that great (although plenty do). Then I remembered about the Urban Aran, which I love the shape of due to the pulled-in side cabling. I had almost ruled out Demi since it's so complex, but I want to knit it sometime, so I put it in there.

What should I knit? I want to start soon, please comment!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snowshoeing to Snow Lake

Dave and I went snowshoeing on Sunday (before, not instead) of watching the Super Bowl (go Steelers!). We attempted to go to Snow Lake, but we somehow (it might have been my fault) got off the trail and followed some ice-climbers tracks instead, and we ended up turning around when we got frustrated with essentially making our own way and I sliced up my hand in an unfortunate glissading incident (It was warm, I wasn't wearing gloves. Yes, that was a bad idea to begin with.). Running in the snowWe eventually saw some other hikers about 200 feet downhill of us, and figured that they were on the trail, so we headed down there and went a bit further on the trail (which was completely obvious, when we were on it). In the end we didn't get very far but it was nice to play in the snow a bit - we haven't been skiing yet because we're waiting for some actual new snow. CorniceIt hasn't snowed in the mountains for weeks and weeks, which is odd. Good thing they got a nice base back in December or things would be quite dire.Emily snowshoeing
My hair is really long, isn't it?