Rainy Days & Mondays…

We had a spectacular, warm, and beautiful weekend here in Connecticut.  The weather was such that I decided to insist that it signified the beginning of Spring.  I know that technically we don’t cross that line until March 21st, but I am living in Spring from here until summer.  Care to join me?

Of course, after wearing a skirt without tights and shoes without socks all weekend, it’s chilly and rainy this morning.  No matter.  I have a little piece of rainbow to cheer me up.  My feline shadow, Spike, insisted on honing in on my photo shoot this morning.  Predictably, he wouldn’t sit still for any sort of intentional looking photo, so all I got was a lot of blurry fur.

100_4262

Peg the Leg is NOT happy working with such an unprofessional character.

100_4272

This is the first sock of a pair of Noro Kureyon socks in color 182, Rainbow.  I am loosely following the Yarn Harlot’s basic sock recipe, casting on 64 stitches and just knitting.  The two most interesting things about these socks are the playful yarn and my experimenting with magic loop sock knitting.  It is so speedy and fun!

I have always knit my socks using double pointed needles.  It’s the way I learned, and it’s the way most of the sock patterns I have chosen to knit were written.  Yet somehow I decided that I wanted to try a new method.  So I went out and bought a set of size 1 Addi Turbos with a 29-inch cable and set to work. Not only does it feel faster (and that may be the simplicity of the stocking stitch), but working with 2 needles eases the tension in my hands that is sometimes created when I knit with 4 DPNs.

100_4265

I intuited how to get through the challenges of the heel flap and picking up the gusset stitches on 2 needles, knowing that once I got to that point it would probably make sense.  And it worked out!  I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to do it than what I finagled, and I trust that I will get there at some point.  For now, however, I am thrilled with these cheerful socks that are helping me to remember that Spring has returned, whether the weather man says so or not!

Reignited

I took myself and the Baby Cables sweater out to Starbucks yesterday for a bit of a marathon knitting session. There were many chores at home to be avoided done, so before I left I switched the laundry over and made a shopping list, then grabbed my knitting and fled. Some days the bare minimum is all that can be expected when it comes to housework, don’t you think?

I had the pleasure of several brand new podcasts to listen to, so I  decided to sit and knit, drink a chai tea latte, and listen to Cast-On. It was during that hour that I fell miraculously and hopelessly back in love with this sweater.

100_4216

After finishing the decreases at the waist, I decided to try the sweater on for the first time.  Not doing so before this point was a bit of a leap of faith, one I hoped not to regret.  When I pulled it over my head and shoulders and felt that wool/alpaca blend against my body, I just knew it would fit perfectly.

Seeing the sweater as a garment and not just a long-running work in progress has reignited my desire to finish it.  My new plan is to keep working on it this week to finish up the body.  Once that happens I will reconsider whether to start a new project or keep knitting away at the sleeves.  I am open to either possibility!

Fun in a Box

I have the best Sweetie ever!

100_42141

After having a little bit of a bummer of a week, I had a very sweet surprise at my doorstep.  Sweetie “sent” me a care package full of goodies that taste, smell, and feel delicious.  Yarn, lotion and bubble bath, mini candy bars,  watercolor markers and canvas.  Plus a few letters that spell “Baa” for the craft room.  Fun in a box!

100_4215

I’ve been wanting to try the Lion Brand Organic Cotton for some time now, so it was nice to see it in the box.  This is the Macadamia Nut colorway, and it is a beautiful, natural shade that I can see knitting up into a sweet cardigan or baby blanket.

This was a good weekend for knitting.  I got a few inches done on the stockinette body of my Baby Cables sweater, but I still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I like the sweater and look forward to wearing it, but there are so many other projects I’d like to get knitting.

I keep breaking up the monotony by telling myself I can work on another project after I get through each progression on the sweater.  For instance, I’m on the decreases at the body, and when I finish that I plan on starting something else.  Probably the mate to my bubble gum pink socks.  Yeah, I think a little bright pink is in order!

Amalgam

It’s incredibly nice to find out you have been nominated by a peer you admire for a blog award.  Thank you so much, Knitting Siamese!  You should check out her beautiful blog for its stunning knitting, photography, and photos of a certain mischievous Siamese cat…

blogger

I’ve been thinking about who to nominate for the past day, and the more time I spend thinking about it, the more of my favorite blogs get nominated by others!  So instead of playing by the rules, I’m going to let you peruse my blogroll on the side.  These are the blogs that I read on a regular basis and they all offer something special.  Check out a blog or two that you haven’t been to before.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Consider yourself nominated, if you so choose, and pass on the love with these things in mind:

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

ONline Linie 12 Clip

ONline Linie 12 Clip

I had a little bit of a stash infusion over the weekend, picking up yarn for specific projects I have in the works.  That’s my new modus operandi, by the way: buy yarn as I intend to use it.  So far so good, although I am starting to crave some new sock yarn as I have a trip to Webs coming up soon…

Cotton Ease in Taupe

Cotton Ease in Taupe

Cotton Ease in Lake

Cotton Ease in Lake

These two might have something to do with a baby blanket for a certain sister of mine who is expecting her first baby in May.  Since she is a devoted reader of this blog and had infiltrated Ravelry, this will have to be a completely stealth project.  But I thought it would be fun to give her a little tease and show the colors!

I have a variety of projects in mind, and will be narrowing the list just as soon as I finish up some knitting housekeeping around here.  Damn all those wips that just won’t finish themselves!  Where are the little finishing elves that come out at night and knit a few inches on each project?  I swear I feel I am knitting constantly and yet nothing is coming off the needles!  I don’t know how some of you knit a pair of socks in a week, or an entire sweater in two.  I’ll be lucky to finish half a sock this week!

Baby Steps

I love my cat.  I love my cat.

I am reminding myself of this because we just had an Incident.  An incident in which I had an entire finely crafted blog post highlighted to change the font  size when one well placed cat paw touched the keyboard.  Gone, kitty, gone.

In lieu of trying to reconstruct it, I will give you the highlights:

Instead of knitting my second sock this week, I decided to tend to some other projects that were already on the needles.  Poof was one of them.  Once that was finished, I turned my attention to the oft neglected cabled sweater.  I started this beautiful knit back in December, but progress has been slow.  I got distracted by socks and scarves, while still feeling a strong urge to finish the sweater.  It’s going to be Spring soon, and I have to wear this at least once while it’s still Winter!

With a renewed sense of dedication, I knit almost exclusively on it all week.

Baby Cables & Big Ones Too

Baby Cables & Big Ones Too

After all that knitting, I only just put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn.  This has been a black hole project: I knit and knit and feel like I’ve made very little progress.  Hopefully it will feel faster now that I’m onto the plain stockinette body.  Purling across every other row really slows me down!

Cabled Sleeve

Cabled Sleeve

I am loving how the cables are turning out.  This yarn, a 50/50 blend of wool and alpaca, is ever so slightly variegated within the strand that there is a lovely depth to the yarn.  A slightly fuzziness also adds interest, and it all makes the cables really pop.

I’m off to enjoy my weekend activities which include a double feature, a knitting class, and a doggy play date with Martha and her friend Hugo.  I hope you have a great weekend!

How to Party Like a Knitter

How to Party Like a Knitter:

1. Give knitters a place to gather.

2. Share food & beverages.

3. Knit & laugh until your hands and bellies hurt.

4. Swap yarn.

5. Play games and win prizes.

This was the recipe for a successful Super Knitting Party yesterday, a Superbowl Sunday alternative for some of my knitting pals.  Old friends and new gathered together amidst ridiculous amounts of delectable desserts, savory snacks, and piles and piles of yarn to knit away the afternoon.

100_4139

My only wish was that I could have had the opportunity to sit down to knit and talk with people a little bit more than I did.  That’s the curse of being the hostess: you have to circulate and check on things, and often times end the party feeling like you didn’t get to really talk to anyone.  But I digress.

Turns out knitters will sit anywhere, on anything, if it means they get to knit as part of a group.  I even sat on the floor for a little bit…in a skirt!

100_4142

Free/de-stashed yarn puts a smile on every knitter’s face.

100_4141

Some of us met in person for the first time, even though we “knew” each other online.

100_4140

We swapped yarn, and everyone seemed happy to destash and restash each other’s yarn.  Somehow I was left with all the unwantedes, but it turns out I have access to a knitting club at the school where Sweetie works, so off it went this morning.

I also put together a fiber guessing game.  Here’s how it worked: I put 8 different types of yarn in paper bags and asked guests to feel each one–no peeking–and guess what it was made of.  This was pretty tricky, but in the end there was a 2 way tie with 6 out of 8 answers correct.  Well done, ladies!

Toward the end of the party I was able to sit down and knit the last few rows on my Queen of Beads socks from the Rockin’ Sock Club.  You know what that means, right?

Photos!!!

Don’t scroll down if you’re still waiting to be surprised with your club shipment.

you've been warned...

you've been warned...

100_4148

Isn’t she a beauty?  I have really been enjoying jumping into this pattern feet first without trepidation.  Tubular cast on?  No problemo.  Knitting with beads?  Totally fun.  Putting beads all the way down the foot?  Not bothersome at all.

I am in love and may make the unprecedented move of casting on for sock #2 right away…

Time Flies When You’re Knitting in Flight

Well, I’m happy to report that no travel plans were thwarted by bad weather or airline mishaps.  I made it safely to and from Idaho.  As usual, I was in awe of the vast openness that is the West, with seemingly endless expanses of land and sky.

100_4032

This is a view of the Snake River Canyon from Bliss, Idaho.  This is what it looks like where I grew up, and only after leaving it and living in a land of trees and tall buildings cans I truly appreciate all that open space.

Outside Mountain Home, ID

Outside Mountain Home, ID

I had a lot of quality time with my family, and in a strange turn of events, I didn’t feel like knitting all that much.  The most knitting I accomplished was on the flights back and forth across the country.  Pointy needles and an iPod do wonders for maintaining sanity and a safe distance from strangers while travelling.

100_40261

On New Year’s Day I cast on the Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark in Favorite Socks.  I am using the absurdly cheerful Holiday Yarns in Bubble Gum that I purchased at Rhinebeck back in October.  As some of you noted in the comments on my last post, this is just the cheerful, optimistic type of yarn to get this new year started.

I knit on it a little bit last week, but again, made the most progress on my flights home.  There’s something about listening to back episodes of Cast-On while sipping a Fresca and knitting pink socks that really helps the whole experience fly by (pun intended, as they all should be).

100_4063

I have been experiencing an inconsistency with my yarn overs.  Can you spot it?  The first repeat has a yarn over right after a purl stitch, followed by knit stitches.  This creates a small, neat looking yarn over.  The second repeat of lace is a yarn over just before a purl stitch.  To do this, I bring the yarn forward, around the needle, and back to the front before purling.  This leaves more yarn for the yo stitch, and creates a bigger, less neat looking hole.  I’ve played around with different ways of doing both types of yarn over to achieve more similarity and continuity throughout the sock, to no avail.  Do you have any tips or suggestions?  I’ll probably just keep doing it the way I have been for the rest of this sock and its mate for continuity reasons, but I would love to know a different way of doing things.

And, because I’m a sucker for cats and I just met my sister’s 2 cats for the first time:

Poncho

Poncho

Chloe

Chloe

Aren’t they pretty kitties?  I knew I had a problem when I started showing Sweetie the pictures from my trip and there were more pictures of cats than anything else.  Those of you with cats know that they’re hard to photograph, right?  I had to work for these shots!

Not Again

It started snowing about half an hour ago.  Again.  I’m writing this as heavy, fluffy flakes fall and the Weather Channel muzak plays in the background.  This would be a welcome sight, fun even, if a)we hadn’t been planning on going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, and b)I wasn’t flying to Idaho early Friday morning.  I’m a little concerned that something will happen and I won’t be able to leave the state again.

10 am today.

Virgin snow at 10 am today.

To help cope, I’ve started thinking about starting a new project on New Year’s Day.  New Year, new knits.  Sounds good, right?  I’ve recently started a sweater project(see previous post) and a lacy scarf project.  After much trial and error, I decided to go back to my original intention of knitting the lace ribbon scarf from Knitty.  So far so good on the 2nd try.

lace-ribbon2

This is maybe 20% done, so there’s a ways to go yet.  It’s nice and easy to memorize, and I’m pleased with the overall effect of the yarn and lace working together to make a somewhat funky little scarf.

So, with two satisfying projects on the needles, I somehow still feel the need to start a third.  I miss socks.  I’ve been trying to knit a pair for my mother for ages now, but have recently decided that I’m cursed when it comes to knitting them.  I have tried 3 patterns and have made irreversible mistakes each time!  In a fit of rage after discovering I had 81 stitches instead of 72 after 2 inches of the last pattern, I ripped it out and rewound the entire ball of yarn.  It is now in time out.

So I’m going to do something I haven’t done it a long time and knit a pair of socks for myself.  A pair of lacy, girly, bubble gum pink socks.

bubble-gum-yarn

Will you be casting on with me on the first day of 2009?

Getting Started: Sweater #2

I started a new sweater project last week: Baby Cables and Big Ones Too by Suvi S.  This is a more involved pattern than my previous sweater, involving 5 cable charts, a backward loop increase, and pages of instructions.  I found myself feeling a little discombobulated when getting started.  Over the course of the first several rows, I came up with a few ways to make the process a little bit easier on myself.

The yarn is Stockbridge from Valley Yarns, a nice alpaca and wool blend in a slightly heathered grey.  It sheds a little bit, but is knitting up beautifully.  The sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down, with the arm increases magically hidden within the garter stitch background.  All of those things are great, but the main reason I wanted to knit this sweater is for the cables.

baby-cables3

There are 5 cables spread across the yoke of the sweater, and 4 charts for these cables.  That means a lot of stitch markers!  I did the first couple of cable rounds with the stitch markers as is before I realized it would be helpful to label them.  So I got out my trusty Dymo label maker (yes, I’m that nerdy) and got to work.  I printed out the coordinating chart letter for each cable and put it onto the marker.  Voila!

baby-cables-markers

Now I can knit along mindlessly until I see that “B”, look at the chart, do that cable, and continue on.  Of course, after a few inches I knew which cables were which, but this really helped me get a handle on things in the beginning.

There are also stitch markers on each side of the sweater to demarcate the raglan increases for the arms.  These are orange and the cable markers are green.  Again, a lot of stitch markers, but they really help you along.

baby-cables2

I put the pattern in a plastic sheet protector to keep things tidy (again with the Nerdy).  Then I’m also using the green highlighter tape to keep track of what section I’m on on the charts.

And this is how I got started on my second sweater!  Organizing yourself for a project is as individual as the knitter, and these are just some of the ways I have found that help me stay sane.

Do you have any suggestions, tips, or tricks for project organization?