Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Post of 2010

Before 2010 comes to a close I thought I would get one last post in for the year. There have been a lot of FO's:


First up my Fall Parallel Socks, pattern Parallel Twist by the very talented Jeannie Cartmel, the yarn is by Vesper Sock Yarn in Essential Autumn, which is a sock club 4 color striper (which I got in a destash) I love it! The pattern was a great knit, easy and makes the most out of self-striping yarn.

Next up my mis-matched pair from the November Rockin' Sock club shipment, I didn't take a picture of the yarn before I started knitting, but it did come with very cute and little stitch markers from Knitifacts. The skein has no name and Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts had a contest to see who could come up with the best name for the skein, winner gets a 2011 Rockin' Sock Club Membership, what an awesome prize.


There of course were two patterns, the first one is called Checkerboard Socks by Nancy Bush. This pattern was great for end of the year knitting, it was simple, complimentary to the color and patterned enough but simple enough that you can have a conversation with someone and knit at the same time.


The second pattern is Canopy Socks by by Samantha Roshak, another simple, yet nice pattern that would great in a stripe if you could get it to line up with the yarn. There is a nice picot turned and hemmed down top, and an interesting and new toe, so it was nice to try something new at the end of the year.

The next FO is Lindsay's Eclipse Lindsays, pattern by Cookie A., when I bought her book when it first came out I wanted to knit every single pattern. I remember that there was a pattern named Lindsay (with an A) which is how my best friend spells her name. When she was a kid she never had pencils or pins with her name spelled the way she spells it, so I knew I had to knit these for her. I could have made these out of any good sock yarn (which I have no shortage of) but the perfect skein of sock yarn came along a few months ago.


This is a special limited edition of Lorna’s Laces in Eclipse (it's a black and dark red), did I mention Lindsay is a huge Twilight fan (and no she is not a tween). So this pattern and this yarn were destined to be together. The only problem is that the yarn is soooooooo dark which makes it hard to see but it was well worth it.

Last but not least are two hats for my best friend's baby Danger.

The first hat is a replica of a hockey helmet, we are both huge hockey fans so I knew that he would love it, the baby wasn't even 3 months old, I made the 3-6 month size and it's way to small, so we are going to their house for new year's eve so I will attempt to make him another one that will fit his head. It's a great pattern, the helmet is really just like the ones they use in hockey, it even has a snap to close the chin strap.


The second hat is my own version of the baby Mohawk hat, I was going to buy the pattern but before I did I read up on it on Ravelry and people said that kitchener the fun fur was maddening (and I totally agree). So I knit at hat and then knit a rectangle of fun fur and then attached the fun fur, it was easier for sure. The hat looks a little bulb-shaped but it was just the way is was sitting for the picture, the hat is classical hat shape.


A few new yarn purchases, first off I love me a striped yarn, probably more that I will admit. So when I saw this yarn by AlaskanNancy (Fireweed Dyeworks on etsy) I HAD to buy it immediately, and there was only one left and I can't tell you how lucky it was me. I can't wait to see how the colors stripe up. Please let me introduce Holiday Kitsch:


Next up is from one of the talented ladies from my Ravelry home, KnittyK8, it's her Sparkling Stripe, in colorway Free the Grapes. I love the stripes and the silver together is amazingly great together, it gives the black a bit of pop. These are being knit into socks for my other college best friend Janice, who will be here in a few weeks, hopefully they will be done.


I was going to save the Free the Grapes for me, but they really wanted to be socks for Janice. I was a little sad that I wouldn't have sparkly black stripe socks but lucky for me KnittyK8 is a Ravelry friend and dyed a skein of Purple Octopus on the Run, for me the last time she was wrapping and dying (thanks Kate). It's in her Sparkling Stripe base (I love it) and it's blue and purple with a black stripe, gorgeous! Don't believe me, here is a picture.


The next couple of things are surprises, first of all after following The Loopy Ewe's blog for year and year the RNG (random number generator) picked me for a prize. I won a $25 dollar gift certificate. And just today I found out that I was picked by the RNG again today for a great prize, two skeins of The Loopy Ewe Solid Series, a pattern of my choosing, AND a tub of Heel (super awesome foot creme) from the people that make Soak Wool Wash. That is an awesome prize and very generous for The Loopy Ewe to give the prize packages away, I posted on the RAK thread, they wanted to know what nice things you do for others in the month of December. It's great to read what everyone's RAK's are over the weeks, it restores your faith in humanity. I will post pictures when the package gets here so show you what I picked out.

The very last thing is something so wonderful and special and it really made my holiday. On the CPaASG's board on Ravelry we love each other so much it's sort of odd for never meeting most of these people. But it's a place where we can go for friendship, support, to vent our "my-husband/kids-are-driving-me-crazy-because", love of all things fiber, and anything in between. This year we decided that we were going to have a holiday swap, the whole thing was put together by kbelle (thanks Kristin), she made a questionnaire, everyone filled it out, and she matched us up. Person #1 gifted Person #2, Person #2 gifted Person #3 and so on. It was so much fun post stalking your downstream swappner (that is swap partner) and find out what they liked and didn't like, get a swox (swap box) together for them. Everyone shipped their swox and on Christmas Day we all opened them up, took pictures, and posted on the thread, it was awesome to see what everyone got/sent. My upstream swappner was jeepgirl (Lisa I loved everything in my swox), she sent me this:


Here's what was in there, it was amazing!
An awesome blue notions case, I love it!
Tazo tea in Organic Chia and Zen Green
A notepad with magnet that says ”I’d rather be knitting”
A pair of puppy snips (super cute)
Ghirardelli peppermint bark (which might not be with us anymore)
2 gorgeous skeins of Sundara in Beaded Turquoise
And if you look really closely at the candy canes there are 2 sets of handmade (by Lisa, her first stitch markers), which I love more than I can tell you. It was a great way to end the year, and the first year that I can remember for the longest time that I wait to open presents on Christmas Day (it was way worth the wait). I hope we do another gift swap like this again.

The last part of 2010 was hard on a lot of people that are close to me, so I'm really glad to see it coming to a close and in a few days have a new year and put 2010 behind us. Here is to a happy, healthy, and joyful 2011!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything


We begin with a craft fair that was new to me. I went to the North Park Craft Mafia's Sunday Crafty Sunday event in North Park at Queen Bee's on October 17. It was nice to see a bunch of different crafts (not just fiber related). I would definitely go to another one of their events, it's great to support local crafters. If I have time in my crazy schedule I would love to go to their Holiday Hit List on December 5th.

Next up is a finished object, I finally finished my Sweet Pea socks. Since I've been knitting one sock in each pattern for the Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club I haven't had to knit a second sock in the same pattern in a good long while, evidently I have been spoiled. Getting through this second sock was a bit of a battle, but I got finished the second one so that's all that matters. The border is knit in a "north to south" direction and was a bit fiddly but I think it was interesting.


Now for a little sock club update, I was lucky enough to be picked (by RNG, with less than a 4% chance) to be one of the newest members of the Gothsock sock club. I have a love for stripey socks that go way back and I'm always looking for yarn that will make awesome stripes. Earlier this year I found out about Gothsocks from my favorite board on Ravelry and ever since then I have been trying to get my hands on their yarn, but believe it or not it's a million times harder than getting Wollmeise (I know right?). The great thing about the club is once you are in, you are in the club until you don't want to be, which is great if you are in, but sucks if you want to be in the club. So I was super lucky and I'm in! The club is broken down into three month blocks, each three months there will be a non-stripe, a black stripe, and a non-black stripe. Steph (she is a one woman show, she dyes, sells, skeins, and is Gothsocks) has the best colors and names for her yarn, go look at her shop. So this is my first installment it's called The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun. Now if you are a child of the 80's and loved Downtown Julie Brown (like me) you know the song. And the yarn as you can guess is, light pink, hot pink and black.


Second sock club update, Rockin' Sock Club September installment has arrived, and funny enough the color is almost an exact match to our new couch. It's called Pining for Ewe, it's a great semi-solid, in the picture it looks gray, but in real life it's much more of a pine green with gray undertones.


The two patterns are Buggin' Out by Stephen Houghton (our first guy designer) and EZ's Mocassin Socks with Twisted-Stitch Motifs by Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen. I have already finished Buggin' Out (sorry the picture is dark but the color is much more correct).


EZ's sock is casted on but it's VERY complicated so I haven't had knitting time where I can concentrate and knit so it has sat for a bit. But hopefully I will get to it soon because I have kept up will all the socks this year (which is a first for me).

And since we started with a craft fair, we will end on a fiber festival. For three years straight ItSheknits and I have been going to the Southern California Handweavers' Guild "Weaving & Fiber Festival (WeFF) in Torrance. We always have a great time, we normally go up with our "OC Girls" but this year they were all busy. But this year our friend Wendy of Knitters Brewing Company
had an amazing booth. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of their booth, but trust me it was super cute and they did a great job. I tried to be good, I only bought 1 skein of sock yarn (and yes I did re-set my yarn counter on the right side of the blog) and I finally won an awesome skein of sock yarn at the raffle.

Here is the skein of Sweet Butter, it's so soft and amazing, it's wool, bamboo, and slik.

And here is the picture of the sock yarn I won, it's the perfect color for me (I love a blue-red) and the cool thing is it has a strand of real silver twisted in with it. And the crazy thing is the yarn is really soft and you can't even feel the silver. The yarn is from Twist, Yarns of Intrigue in Sparkle, it's merino wool, silk, nylon, and silver -- super cool, can't wait to find the perfect pattern for it!

So that about sums up what's be going on as far as knitting. There should be some more progress after Thanksgiving ItSheKnits and I (along with our husbands) are going camping for the holiday so you know there is going to be some serious knitting, cooking, and eating.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Socks, Socks and more Socks

I'm still trying to loose some weight so I'm trying my best not to knit sweaters (which is killing me since fall is coming soon) so I've been trying to knit my sock club installments instead. Last year I only finished 2 pairs (out of 6) for the Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club, I was knitting a bunch of other things so I was distracted and my sock club installments got shoved in the yarn-moire. But this year with the two patterns to keep my interest, not knitting sweaters, I've been knitting away on my kits.

I finished my Flabella and Cascadia socks:



The next kit was My Wild Irish Girlie:


The first sock is Slip Jig by Carrie Sullivan and the second sock is Secret Garden by Janel Laidman.


I loved this pattern, it was a great little repeat and the cables are continued down the top and the sides of the foot. I want to knit this pattern again in another yarn.


I had a really hard time with this pattern, I have knit a Janel pattern before but for some reason the way the pattern was written and the way the way my brain is wired it was just ugly. I know some people had problems too, but other people didn't so it could just be me. Also I loved the little flower pattern on the leg.

The third installment was Sweet Pea:


When I first opened the package I swore that the yarn had no color but I think it might be one of the spirit colorways, there are subtle hints of peach and green in it, which you can see more easily when it's knit up. It's not a colorway I would have picked myself but I liked the way it knit up. I also really love the sock club because the color and pattern aren't up to me to it exposes me to things I wouldn't pick out myself.

I decided to knit socks in the same pattern since they were anklets, I choose to knit Ada Lovelace. I skipped this kit and came back to it, but I have finished one sock and I'm half way through the second.


This is not a pattern I would have picked out myself, but it's an interesting knit with cables on the heel, a lace pattern and the cuff is knit back and forth instead of around and around which was interesting and I learned something new so that was good.

The fourth kit is called Firecracker there were three patterns (and we got an extra skein of Sock Candy, mine is Granny Apple and an extra pattern for flip flop socks).


I love this colorway, it's my favorite so far, it's right in my color sweet spot. As soon as I got it I had to cast on right away.


The first sock is My ♥ Beets for you by Anne Hanson and the second sock is Dusty Corners by Linda Welch


You can't see it really well but there is a beet on the heel that the cables from the beet green pattern lines up perfectly into, super cute, love the pattern and Anne Hanson's patterns are always wonderful. I knit this sock in five days, I couldn't get enough of it. I will be knitting this sock again.


This was a great pattern to knit, I loved the zig-zag-ness of this pattern, it was great to knit and I knit this sock in three days, it was awesome, going to knit this again too.

So I think that's it for now. Thanks to ItSheKnits and her help with the Shipwreck Shawl of beaded doom (she helped me break down the 3 miles of beads into more manageable smaller pieces) I've picked it up again. It's going really slowly but it's awesome to pick up something that has been sitting since mid-February.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Catching Up and Crafting Up

I can't believe I haven't posted since I got my awesome ball winder, but I looked and the blog doesn't lie. There is so much to post about I don't even know where to start. How about starting with a bomb? A sock-love-bomb that is, I got these beauties in the mail about a month ago.

One of the great things about Ravelry is that you get to meet people that love knitting as much as you do and if you hang out on the same board for a while you get to know the same people. My home on Ravelry is The Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Swap Group (CPASG), the girls there are awesome, their stashes are breathtaking, and they are a great support group. One of our members kippiann has been making amazing hand knit sock out of some uber nice yarn for other members and secretly sending them in the mail, she calls them "sock-love-bombs". I was bombed about a month ago with my very own pair knit out of Wollmeise Twin in Herzblut in Dancing Diamonds by Wendy Johnson. kippiann knit these socks for me out of Herzblut which is the most perfect red and in a diamond pattern to pay homage to my love of the Boston Red Socks. The socks are amazing, they fit great, the pattern is perfect and the yarn is Wollmeise, if that isn't love I don't know what is.

Here is a picture of the super cute and crafty label kippiann sends with her socks, on the back of the label is says the pattern, the yarn, and that there were made just for you.

While kippiann was bombing our board with socks (and before she bombed me), I decided that I wanted to make her a pair of socks. I knew I wanted to incorporate sock, love, and bomb. It took me a couple of days and a few pattern searches on Ravelry and I came up with a plan. I know kippi loves pink, I have only one skein of eye-searing pink sock yarn in my stash from the Politically Incorrect Sock Club in colorway Last Call, it was destined to become socks for kippi. I decided to knit my "go-to" sock pattern (Cat Bordhi's Simple Sock Pattern) because it's very forgiving when is comes to fit since it's a rib pattern. Then I decided to make a tiny sock, a tiny heart, and a tiny bomb to hang off the side of each sock. I already had a pattern for a mini-sock, I found a pattern for a little heart (I changed the gauge and needle size to make it tiny) and I found a cherry pattern that I could easily modify into bomb. This is what I came up with, I used a sheep button that I sewed onto the sock to hang the sock-love-bomb part in case she wanted to remove them and have a plain pair of socks to where outside in the real world.

The funniest part is that while I was knitting kippi her socks she was knitting mine, she finished my socks in a few days, it took me a few weeks, but she loved them all the same.

One more awesome thing from the CPASG, I won a prize, a super swanky prize no less, a skein of the highly coveted Wollmeise lace in Spice Market donated by the wonderful ngraham from VT. We had a KAL for breaking into your treasured skeins of Wollmeise lace (I knitted my Equinox Shawl) and my lucky number was drawn for the lace, woot, here is a picture to prove it.

And now for a FO, I knit my first sweater in the round from the top down. I haven't done either so it was nice to get to try out two new different techniques. I called it the Crayon Wrappers Sweater, it's the Lightweight Pullover by Hannah Fettig, knit out of yarn from Fresh from the Cauldron yarn in Poe's Absinthe Induced Dream, the color is a bit less bright in person (please forgive the horrible self-portrait).

Next up is a great cause that has a knitting connection, my knitting friends wenat and yarnfloozy in Vancouver had a raffle to raise money for The Canadian Cancer Society. Every year their wonderful husbands participate in a one day grueling 400km bike ride (that's almost 250 miles) and all the money raised goes where it counts (no administrative fees are taken out).

Here is a picture of the three of us from my trip to Seattle and Vancouver (which I still need to post about) and no we are not at all related to each other, why do you ask?

You can read all about the ride, see some of their pictures, find out why their write on their arms/legs with Sharpies, and hear why they put themselves through such a crazy ride, read the letter from Lance Armstrong, and be inspired here on their blog. This year I wanted to donate some prizes to help raise money, they raised almost $2,000 and their group raised almost $300,000, that is amazing!

Now back to actual knitting, how about the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Club 2010. I know I haven't posted any pictures from this year, but don't worry it's not because I didn't love them. This year's club comes with two patterns, one from a "known designer" and one from a long standing member of the sock club. It's pretty cool to get two different patterns with the same yarn. The first shipment's colorway was called "happy go lucky", and the tow patterns were Flabella by Christina Bain and Cascadia by Sivia Harding. Here is a picture of the first installment:

I decided this year that if I like both patterns that I would make one sock out of each pattern and that would be my "pair". I casted on my Cascadia while going on vacation to Seattle and Vancouver which was fitting because Sivia was inspired by the Cascade Mountain Range. This was my first completed toe-up sock, and it fits great! I really liked the little peaks on the front part of the sock and really loved the pattern on the back side of the leg part, so much so I might make a sock out of just that pattern. Here is the completed sock.

I'm half way through my Flabella sock, this pattern was inspired by rain running down a window pain. I'm half way through with this sock and it's a bit more fiddle-y because of the bobbles. There are bobbles on the first row of the sock so it takes a bit of getting use to, I had to cast on a few times but it all worked out. I really like the bobble fan pattern and the little lace pattern repeat as well. Here is a picture of the first half of the sock.

There are good and bad things about knitting a mis-matched pair, for example there isn't second sock syndrome, but on the other side you don't get to fly on the second sock. But I really like how both patterns have something to do with the Pacific Northwest and I will always remember my trip there when wearing these socks.

Now for a little sewing, for my favorite "almost 5 year old" who is coming to visit in less than a week. Our college friends Bob and Michelle are coming for a visit from Boston, I cannot describe how excited I am about seeing them and their son Noah. I saw these personalized towels on a few stores on etsy, they were $35 (and then $8 for shipping)and I thought I could make one myself. I found a super cute towel at Target ($10, thank you Target), found a great fat quarter of fabric in a beach theme (for $2) and went to work with my sewable HeatnBond. I was happy that my sewing machine could handle the thickness of the towel, the sewing isn't perfect, but I'm not that wonderful of a sewer so it will have to do. I hope that Noah likes it, I love the pirate octopus (which came on the towel).

There is one more big craft project that I worked on for a while that's finally done, but I'm saving it for later. I think that's all that has happened crafting wise, it was a bunch of random things but they are all crafty so I guess they all count. I changed the way the blog looks, I added just a little argyle because
I ♥ argyle completely and totally.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Serious Ugrade


Ever since I bought ItSheKnits a heavy duty ball winder for her birthday years ago, I have wanted to upgrade mine, I have the little blue and white plastic ball winder that everyone knows. I never made it a priority because the little plastic one was doing a fine job, that was up until I wound my first skein of Wollmeise lace. Wollmeise lace is gorgeous, lovely and HUGE, it's 1740 yards, that's right 5,220 feet, a crazy huge amount of string. A friend on Ravelry suggested to put an empty paper towel roll on the center to give mt added height and thus more room to wind, it was a great idea, but the tape that I used to hold it to the winder wasn't the right kind and it was sort of a pain to get off the winder. So I did a little asking around and the two winders that everyone suggested was the Strauch/Fricke Winder or Nancy's Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder.

I tried Nancy's Knit Knacks ball winder at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas and a fell in love, hard. They use it in the shop, it's clamped to a cute table to anyone to use, and they said they have never had a problem with it and it worked great. That's all I needed to hear, I wanted one real bad. I did some research on their site and saw that they had made several upgrades to the first version which I loved and redirected some of our tax refund to the yarn ball winder (yes the husband knows).

I know it just looks like a ball winder made of wood, but here is the best picture to compare "the regular winder" and Nancy's.

Here is a picture taken straight on to show how much bigger and sturdier Nancy's winder is:

And here is an aerial view just to show the difference in the footprint and width:


I love it more than I can say, it spins wicked fast, it's almost silent, it's heavy, well made and made in the USA! Now all I have to do is figure out my next Wollmeise lace project to christen it with. I also think I'm going to name him . . . perhaps (Anti)Hank?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gold Medal Winner!

(Apologies for crappy self-portrait)

That's right my Kingscot sweater that has been sitting untouched since July is finished and two days before the Closing Ceremonies. I'm so excited about finishing this sweater it's not even funny. The pattern design was awesome (Norah Gaughan), the yarn was delicious, and my modifications worked (whew). It was the first time that I had made a sweater with bobbles, button band that had buttons, and a button band with buttonholes.

I had 90% of the left panel done but had to rip it because I forgot to decrease by 20 stitches (so the entire side was 20 extra stitches wide). I also modified the sleeves, the original pattern calls for 5 inches of ribbing, I only knit 3 inches. I also changed the neckband to a traditional 1x1 rib, instead of the every other row twisted stitch the pattern called for. I haven't seamed anything in a while, but thankfully I haven't lost that skill. I didn't do the buttonholes the way that the pattern call for, instead I decided to do a 1 row re-inforced buttonhole that I learned from this YouTube tutorial video. It was awesome to learn a new skill and I really like the way the buttonholes turned out. I also had to reknit the button bands a few times due to gauge and placement of the holes, but it all worked out well.

Knitting with Wollmeise Molly was wonderful, the color is gorgeous, the stitch definition is amazing and the final fabric is warm and so very smooth. The only problem is that Molly ha been discontinued, so this is the only Molly sweater that I will ever have (so sad).

I would love to knit another one of these, the pattern was great, and I highly recommend the pattern and design to anyone.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ready, Set, Wait, Wait, Wait . . . O.K. GO!

I was all set to cast on for the Ravelympics hanging out with my friends in the Complete Pointless and Arbitrary Swap Group, then about 5 mins past the "GO post" I realize that all my east coast and mid-west friends are watching the Olympics and I had to wait 3 more hours. I was really mad, the Olympics are in my time zone why can't I watch them live? I know I could have started but I waited until the flame was lit (on my 3 hour delay) once The Great One lit the outside cauldron it was on!

I decided that I would try to finish up my Kingscot, but first I had to face the "growing" Molly Monster. There has been much discussion about Molly growing during blocking and not recovering very well post blocking. I read all the warning, horror stories, and crying posts but I didn't swatch, I just dropped a size in the pattern. But I figured that since I wanted to wear it and have it look half way decent I would block the left front and back that were completed and see if it was going to grow out of control. The left front blocked a little loose and did grow a bit, but it was O.K., but the back was so much bigger than it was pre-block but I measured it and I think dropping a size in the pattern was the way to go.

So hopefully in the next 16 days I will make some serious progress on this project, I would love to finish it but being that I like to sleep in the next 17 days I will settle for a chunk of progress.

I finished my replacement sock from the sock I lost last year at Stitches West. I was really sad that I couldn't make Stitches West this year, but for some reason the universe decided to make it up to me, more about that later.