February 26, 2006

It's over

As you may have already guessed, I didn't finish. I tried, got distracted, tried some more, but no sweater for me. I'm still going to press on, just so you know. This isn't the last you'll see of Tubey. I'm taking a road trip on Friday to Michigan and I will be working on it non-stop up until then and in the car. Plus, once I finish this thing I'm never taking it off. I will wear it forever and ever and ever and ever. Me and my Tubey. In a last ditch effort to save face for the olympics I bought some Turbos yesterday. I thought the magic speed those needles bring would continue to knit my Tubey as I slept, but when I woke up it was the same size as when I went to bed. (I must write a letter to the company.....) Even though this sweater didn't exactly go according to plan I have 3 other sweaters lined up that I want to make because now I know I can do it. (well, I at least know I can start it and get halfway there) If any of you have seen the latest Cast On magazine, check out the cardigan that's cream, brown, and sage in color-YUM! There's also a poinsetta-themed sweater that I think would be just adorable for Christmas that I found in Knitting magazine. And last but not least, just to jump on the bandwagon, I've got plans to make the Hourglass sweater that is all over everyone's blogs. I actually bought the yarn for that one-Knitpicks Andean Silk Twist in Pumpkin. Great fall colors. Speaking of yarn purchases----you didn't actually think I went into TWO yarn stores yesterday and came out empty handed, did you? Yesterday Beth and I went to Richmond for shopping (yes I knit the whole way there and back) and to check out a couple of yarn stores. First stop was Got Yarn? in Midlothian. Small store, but great selection. I picked up a sock book penned by Edie Eckman, a Virginian designer that I met at the Knit-Out the past October. Beth got some super-soft, super-chunky stuff in a great color blue to make cabled scarf #2. (In case you were wondering, she did finish her Olympic goal-I'll post a picture soon.) Unravled, Inc. was the second store in Richmond we visited. Smaller store, smaller selection, but yummy yummy yarn. They also had a great selection of back issues of magazines. Beth and I each picked up a skein of this stuff. That's yarn that is hand-spun and hand-dyed by Blue Heron Yarns out of Easton, Maryland. I love a good story. This company started as just one woman spinning and dyeing her own yarn and selling it locally. Her one-woman operation slowly snowballed and now it's a small company that's doing well. The pictures really don't do this yarn justice. My colorway is called cactus and is mostly greens with hints of blue and purple and tiny fleck of gold all throughout. Beth got a skein that is all blues-ranging from dark navy to light blue with hints of purple and more obvious flecks of gold. Both are gorgeous. It's heavier than sportweight, but not quite worsted weight, and oh-so-soft. Sorry the close-up is so blurry, but it's truer to the colors of the yarn. I don't know what to do with it. I bought a pattern (picture below) for a cute lacey poncho. I was also thinking of a shawl pattern, like maybe the flower basket shawl that Carrieoke did, or maybe a Clapotis from Knitty.com. Anyone have any suggestions? I want whatever I do to really showcase the yarn. I have 550 yards, no more, no less. The ball band (well, it's not really a ball band, but you know what I mean) doesn't have a guage on it, but it does recommend size US 7 needles. Unravled is having a trunk show of this yarn the weekend of April 1st if anyone is interested. I might try to go. Oh! Almost forgot! One more thing. To anyone who was competing on Team First Sweater: congrats if you finished! Great job! To those of you who did not, I have a prize for you. "What's this?" you're thinking, "I didn't finish-surely there is no prize for me!". I haven't met too many knitters who were crazy about fun fur and all eyelashy sort of yarns. Last year I made a ton of them, most of which ended up in Italy-that's another story-but I'm left with a ton of eyelash yarn that I don't plan on using anytime soon. Simply competing in the Knitting Olympics is pretty cool, choosing an object like a sweater to complete is pretty outstanding, even if you didn't finish, and I think we all deserve a prize. However, we didn't finish, so we don't deserve the really cool stuff like the handspun, hand-dyed laceweight yummylicious yarn. C'mon, save that stuff for the gold medalists. But we all accomplished something here, so to those of you who didn't finish your sweaters shoot me an email (knittykarenAThotmailDOTcom) with your snail mail address and I will award you with your Olympic bronze medal=eyelash yarn.
Whew! I can't believe the Olympics are finally over! I can't tell you how relieved my husband is that now I won't have an excuse to not pitch in with the chores. He's been doing a great job without me, but the pile of dishes in the sink is rallying with the pile of dirty clothes and I think I heard something about mutiny, so if you'll excuse me I must put an end to that.

February 23, 2006

I think I can....

Sooooo close to finishing the first sleeve. I'd really like to deny myself bedtime until that cuff is done, but I don't think work would be too forgiving of me falling asleep on the job tomorrow. I'm off this weekend, so hopefully that will result in lots of knitting time before the closing ceremonies. On Saturday I'm going on a shopping adventure with Beth (of the just-finished-her-cable-scarf-ha-ha fame). Thankfully, she is driving, out of respect for my need to knit like a speed demon. We are going to go check out some yarn stores in Richmond. I'm so tired of Michaels. True, they have some great deals, but knitting with 100% alpaca has really opened my eyes to the possibilities. I'm pretty pleased the stripes came out at (approximately) the same height. To tell the truth, I didn't really measure....just eyeballed it. I was too deeply engrossed in the women's long program figure skating. I even got my husband into it! He was so cute, he waited to take the dogs out until they had announced Sasha Cohen's scores. I've resigned a new deadline for myself though, just in case I don't make this Tubey happen by Sunday. I'm driving to Michigan with my Hubby next Friday, week from tomorrow, to meet his paternal grandparents. I - will - finish - this - before - then. There you have it, in writing. No hopes, wishes, goals. A true deadline. Stay tuned to see if I pull a triple lutz and fall on my face.

February 21, 2006

Sleeve One Done

Sorry no post in a while, I'll make up for it today with lots of pictures. I'm not sure that Olympic greatness is in my future. Here's Tubey, as of this morning.
Please excuse the messy hair/lack of makeup. I don't work until later today so it is lazy morning time. What do you think of the brown stripe? I'm going to put a matching one on the other sleeve, but I'm not decided as to where to put the chest stripe. I think I will put it slightly higher than the sleeve stripes, but I'm not sure if that will look off or not. I have three days off between now and the conclusion of the Olympics and my friends are rooting me on, telling me I can knit solid 24 hour blocks to complete it. I'm not sure I want to be that exhausted, but I want to finish. 5 days left, so we'll see. Speaking of my friends, I have taught a few people to knit in the past 1 1/2 years, a couple of whom are competing in the knitting olympics. I wanted to give them a shout-out here. First is my sister, Morgan, who recently started her own blog and joined the KO. She is working on a tote bag with a sheep motif on it. She is really flying, and I am confident she will finish on time. My friend Beth is also (unoficially) competing. She just learned to knit about 6 weeks ago and is completing her first real project (aside from the giant square she made)-- a cable/rib scarf pattern designed by yours truly. Here's a close up of the pattern. She is using Lion Brand Jiffy, can't remember the name of the colorway-sorry, and size 10 needles (I think). I am so proud of how quickly she picked up the cable stitch. I only helped her through the first pattern repeat, and the rest she has done unassisted. It's really long and she will probably finish it today or tomorrow. I'm so jealous, all my proteges are going to finish before me. Boo! I really need to stop spending so much time reading people's blogs and more time knitting. In other un-olympic news, looky what I got in the mail today! Isn't it beee-yoo-tiful? This is the sock yarn I'm going to use for Project Spectrum, starting March 1st. I also signed up for the Project Spectrum postcard swap so I will be creating some sort of pink/red themed paper thing after Tubey is done. Isn't that yarn gorgeous? It's hand-painted by Dani and Sunshine Yarns (see sidebar). I highly recommend her yarn, even though I haven't knit with it yet. She is very prompt in delivery and each skein comes with two free stitch markers that match the yarn! I can't wait to get started on it. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good beginner sock pattern or book? I want something easy (it's my first pair) but something that will really show off this yarn. Ideas? I suppose I should go try to get in a few rounds on Tubey before work.....see y'all later.

February 16, 2006

Secret Pal Goodness

*attention, long pictureless post, feel free to skip unless you want to learn lots about me

Okay, so back in January I stumbled upon something called Secret Pal that a lot of people whose blogs I read participate in. I decided I wanted a SP too, but the sign-up deadline was already past. "Oh well," I thought with a sigh, "guess I'll catch it next time." But today I got an email from one of the SP hostesses and it looks like someone dropped out and they are looking for someone to fill her spot! Yay!! Double yay!! I missed out on all the fun for the first month, and we're almost done with month #2, but hey, there is still month #3! I'm super excited and can't wait to get my pal info so I can start spoiling (and getting spoiled) with all kinds of cool yarny goodness. I got the SP questionare off the website. So, because I'm bored (and avoiding all things associated with knitting and deadlines, ahem...more later) here's my answers to the SP Questionare, in case you wanted to know:
1)Are you a a yarn snob? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? No, I don't exactly avoid them, my stash mainly consists of the stuff you find at Michael's. In fact, I just started experimenting with higher-quality brands, and I've found I do love the good stuff.
2) Do you spin? Crochet? I learned to crochet when I was 8 and for a long time that's all I did, but my knowledge is limited to what my little mind retained when I was 8. As for spinning, sadly no, but maybe someday.
3) What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a needle case that my friend Dawn made for me using some really cool polka dot flannel/fleece stuff. I'll try to remember to post a pic b/c it's really cool.
4) How long have you been knitting? What you do consider your skill level to be? I've been knitting for about 1 1/2 yrs, and I'd say I'm a little intermediate, little advanced beginner.
5) Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Currently no, but I love elann.com and anything from knitpicks.com
6) What's your fave scent? (for candles, soaps, etc.) For candles, I have a slight obsession with pumpkin pie candles, specifically Yankee Candle Co.-I burn them all year round, so it smells like Thanksgiving in July at my house. For soaps, I'm not really picky, but I like floral-y stuff as opposed to musky stuff.
7) Do you have a sweet tooth? Fave candy? God, yes! I love lots of candy. Suprisingly, chocolate isn't my favorite. I like fruity stuff with the exception of cherry-flavored things. Oh, and reese's peanut butter cups....love those.
8) What other crafts or DIY things do you like to do? Much to my husband's dismay I'm a crafty crafty girl. I like scrapbooking and beading a lot, and I've also dabbled in quilting and sewing.
9) What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3's? I have an iPod, so bring on the MP3's! I love all music. I have recently been listening to some of the music from when I was younger, like pop hits and big hair bands of the 80's. I also like country, and last night I heard a hint of classical music that I like but couldn't think of what it was called.....
10) What's your fave color? Or-do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you can't stand? Hmm...I have an obsession with pink lately, but I think it might be a phase. I wear a lot of chocolate brown and love the contrasts of brown and aqua/brown and light pink. I can't think of any colors I dislike, but I should mention that I can't STAND eyelash yarn like fun fur. I majorly OD'ed on it when I first started knitting and I loath the sight of it. Blech!
11) What is your family sitation? Do you have any pets? I'm a newlywed! Just got married to the love of my life on Sept 17th, 2005. We are the proud parents of two adorable pit bulls. Don't buy into the stereotype, they are sweet. Well, most of the time.
12) Do you wear: scarves, hats, mittens, or ponchos? Yes, yes, yes and yes. I've made several scarves, ponchos, and mittens, but strangely never a hat. Hmm.... next project maybe?
13) What is/are your fave yarns to knit with? Well, as I've mentioned I'm a bit of a newbie to the fab yarns. I'm currently using Peruvian alpaca from elann.com and I love it. I like soft yarns (who doesn't?) that knit up well. I've used mostly chunky yarns and a few worsted weight yarns, but never anything tiny.
14) What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Oops, jumped the gun on the furry yarn bashing. Seriously though, some novelty yarns are nice, but I prefer the yarns that will stay in style. I got some Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair that I made a poncho with. It's really pretty, but I find I don't wear it b/c it sheds so much.
15) What is/are your current knitting obsessions? I'm obsessed with starting new things! I'm obsessed with the idea of knitting something pink and brown. Anything.
16) What is/are your fave items to knit? I don't really have a fave. I just like knitting. I can say I'm not a huge fan of afghans b/c they take too freakin' long to finish and I'm a results girl...love my finished objects. Funny though, I never seem to make it that far....
17) What are you knitting right now? Tubey! (for the knitting olympics) Also on the needles: a baby sweater for a friend, a sweater for my husband, and a sweater for my mom.
18) Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes! I can't recall every receiving a hand-knit item. My sister and mom have each crocheted me blankets, but I don't beleive anyone has knit me anything.
19) Do you prefer straights or circular needles? I find each has their place, but circs are more portable.
20) Bamboo, aluminum, or plastic? Never plastic, but I like bamboo for DPNs and some straights (like smaller needles) and aluminum for circs and larger straights. I'm lusting after a pair of turbos, but haven't been able to muster the will to buy them.
21) Do you own a ball winder or a swift? Not currently. I'm trying to convince my husband that in our new house I should have my own knitting room and that those are essential tools I need to invest in. He's not sold.
22) How did you learn to knit? I taught myself from a "I Taught Myself Knitting!" book that came in a kit from Michael's. It took several attempts and a lot of patience but I did it.
23) How old is your oldest UFO? Well, if you count crochet I have a blanket I've been working on since I was 15, so 10 years. Knitting only, probably the sweater I started for my husband. I got the front and back done and can't seem to get the momentum to get through the sleeves. Started sometime this past summer.
24) What is your fave animated character or a fave animal? I like Spongebob, but only in moderation. I don't want my house to resemble Bikini Bottom or a pineapple under the sea. I love Family Guy, and all the characters in it. As for animals, well pit bulls of course.
25) Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving! I love all the yummy food, and no pressure of presents. Also, I work in the retail business so that is the last sane day before crazy shopping season starts.
26) Is there anything you collect? Movies. I worked a Blockbuster for 3 years so I have a huge collection. Other than that, just the obvious: yarn, knitting books, needles, etc.
27) What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Family circle easy knitting is the only one that comes in the mail, but I try to buy Vogue Knitting, Knit 1, and Simply Knitting as soon as they come out. I've never tried Interweave Knits or any or the other more advanced ones. ps. I'd love a copy of the old Vogue knitting that featured a strappy tank on the cover...it's from sometime in 2004 which was my pre-knitting days.
28) Any books, yarns, needles, or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Nothing in particular I guess. I'd really like to learn to knit socks, so a good beginner sock book and sock yarn/needles I guess. I'm also really into knitting sweaters right now (as soon as I complete one) so good sweater yarn is always appreciated.
29) Any new techniques you'd like to learn? See #28
30) Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Again, see #28 and as for foot measurements, I can't find my tape measure so I'll tell you I'm a size 6 1/2 or 7 and my foot isn't abnormally narrow or wide. Just normal.
31) LAST ONE! When is your bday? November 15th

Don't you feel like you know all too well now? I can't focus on Tubey...it feels like a deadline rather than a fun thing. Grrr....I hate that I lack focus sometimes. I'm going to try to force myself to knit. Must.....finish.....first....sleeve.....

February 14, 2006

Progress Report

Chugging right along. I took this picture earlier, but wasn't able to post because I was having some 'puter problems. What you see is the back of the shrug completed, and the beginning of one of the sleeves. Since I took the picture I've knit about 4-5 more inches. I also decided to throw in a stripe or two. The original pattern calls for tons of stripes, and it's a little over the top for me. When I was doing the provisional cast-on I used a scrap of brown yarn and loved the color contrast. So, I think I'm going to do one thin stripe on each arm just above the elbow, and another stripe right around the chest region. We'll see how it comes out..... Now, less blogging, more knitting.

February 12, 2006

Already behind...

How did I ever think I would finish this sweater in time!?! It's day 3 of the Knitting Olympics and I've made some progress. (That's my Hubby holding it down for me and cheering me on.) While I was steadily knitting away today I did some math. This pattern requires about 11 balls of yarn, and I have 16 days to knit it. That means I have to go through about 3/4 of a ball of yarn per day in order to finish on time. (And that doesn't include blocking time) I wasn't able to cast on at 2pm, but had to wait till shortly after 5 when I got home from work. Add that to a shopping trip with friends and my MIL's birthday dinner today and you have some serious lagging to recover from. I'm almost done with my first ball of yarn, and by my calculations I should be 1/4 of the way into ball #3 by bedtime tonight to be caught up!
In other news, we celebrated my MIL's birthday today. I didn't finish the cabled shrug in time, but I had another FO in the wings just in case. The picture on the right is a close-up of the pattern. It's basically a bunch of yarn overs. I got the pattern on the Lion Brand website. You cast on a certain number of stitches and every other row you k1, yo, k1, etc. (Scarf is knitted vertically rather than the traditional horizontally). The picture on the left is truer to the actual colors. The grey yarn is Elsebeth Lavold silky wool, and the pink yarn is Rowan Summer Tweed. I got both skeins off a clearance shelf at a LYS in DC when I went up there for Knit-Out DC in October. I had originally wanted to do the curly scarf from Scarf Style, but couldn't figure out the short rows on my own. The pattern from Lion Brand avoided the short row but had the same curly effect. In post-Olympics news, I have decided on my project for Lolly's Project Spectrum (see sidebar) for the month of March. March's colors are red or pink. I've been wanting to try socks for a long time and I think March is the time to do it. Dani from Knitting Sunshine has a sock yarn in a colorway called Neopolitan that I love. It's pink, brown, and cream, and just gorgeous. The other thing I've been thinking about is going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It's in May, and I've heard about it on other people's blogs, but never been myself. It'd be a bit of a hike for me (DC is about 2 1/2 hrs north of me) but I've been led to believe it'd be worth it. Has anyone out there been or have anything to say about it? I'd have to save up to afford all the scrumptious yarn that'd end up in my trunk. Wow, look at me ramble, and I'm already behind....need to get back to my Olympic knitting. SO much to do!!!

February 8, 2006

T minus 2 days

I can not wait for the Knitting Olympics! It is unbelievable how huge this is getting. The Yarn Harlot has terminated the sign-up period and is still adding to the list. At present time we total about 3300 people, and counting! Unbelievable! So, I swatched, cleaned out my knitting basket, and set up for Tubey. Here she is, pre-olympics, just waiting to be gently coaxed into tubes of stockinette and ribbing. Now, all I have to do is wait. I've been knitting a little though, although I can't stay focused because I can't wait for Friday. Here's what I've been working on: The first one is a scarf for me. I can't remember the last time I knit myself a scarf. I have about a bazillion of them from when I first started knitting, but I realized I didn't have anything neutral or dressy, so I decided to make just that. The yarn is from JoAnn's, but I can't remember what it is. It has a slight shimmer to it, but not sparkle, and it's off-white. The pattern is just something I got from one of my pattern books. So simple. It's called a 'cluster rib'. The first row is p1, (k2, p1) repeat parenthesis till end. Then the second row is k1, yo, k2, pass yarn over the two knit stitches (sorry, don't know how to abbreiviate that) then repeat till end. Here is my other WIP (work in progress) . This was at one time destined to be a sort of stole for my MIL, but I don't think it will ever be finished. In truth, I cast this on when I was bored with other projects that I was working on and I wanted to practice cables. There you have it, my first cable project. What I'd really like to do with it is make into some kind of garment. The color is really pretty, white with a little sparkle thread, reminds me of fresh snow. It'd be really cute as a sweater, but I have no idea how to take what is essentially a rectangle and make it into something useful. Until then, it sits with all of my other UFO's in rotation, getting a little love now and then.