May 26, 2006

Green Gable

I've been wanting to make something with this yarn forever, and never been able to find a pattern I loved until now. I'm kinda nervous about this though, as the yarn weight and content are completely different than what the pattern calls for. It's Blue Heron Yarns, in the rayon/metallic blend. I'm getting 6 sts/inch, and I redid all the math in the pattern based on that. I have 550 yds, which I'm praying is enough b/c this stuff is quite pricey and hard to find. This is the cactus colorway, with hints of purple in it. Has anyone out there ever knit with this before? Any experience you'd like to share?

May 23, 2006

Long time, no blog....

Has it really been almost 2 weeks since I posted? Wow, things have been a little hectic here at Chez Karen. Not much knitting going on though, I'm sad to report. In fact I don't even have any progress pictures for you. I've been slowly (and I do mean slowly) adding a row here and there to the first of Doug's socks. Is it possible to get SSS before you even complete the first one? I also have a bit of yarn left for the coral lacy tank, but I've ceased knitting on it because I'm so scared of running out of yarn. I could just order more, but that would be too easy. We've finally finished unpacking and have been hanging pictures, sorting out junk, building shelves, blah blah blah. I had a huge yard sale this past Saturday. I made a whopping $15, and I think I spent that much on the posterboard and gas to advertise the damn thing. Oh well. I convinced my mom and sister to cart all the unsold junk to Goodwill and some of it was not even accepted, so my poor mom now has a few boxes of my crap cluttering up her living room. It was a valiant effort. I unloaded most of my acrylic to a lady who crochets, in fact that made up about half of the $15. My poor little heart was crushed while it watched the lady drive off with two heaping bags of yarn. I mean, I know it's acrylic, but it's still yarn!!! I'm sure I'll recover, but I can't help but feel like I need a hearty trip to the LYS to fill that void in my stash.

Lots of stuff that's non-knitting has been going on though. The biggest news is that my youngest sister and her fiance got engaged! He proposed in front of the fountains at Kings Dominion, which is sort of "their place", they've been going there every summer with season passes for the past couple years. I'm so excited for them.

On mother's day we all went to my mom's house to celebrate (though briefly since I had to work). We had some good eats and I got to catch up with my other sister who lives about 2 hours away. Here is Morgan working on her May/June Project Spectrum knit, a pillow case. This will be for her son Joey's room, and is made in a Lion Brand boucle, not sure which one though. She is having a hard time getting pictures on her blog, so now we can all see what she's working on!

I had a really great day last week when I came home from work to discover not one, not two, but three packages for me! The first was from my May Sock Yarn Swap Pal, Kelly. She sent some beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn in some yummy greens. I'm thinking this yarn is destined to be some P-word socks, but first I have to get through at least one of my current WIP's. She also sent some other green goodies: lip balm, skittles, a mini-candle, and a little tea flower that blooms when immersed in water. I can't wait to try that last one out. I also received a card from my Secret Pal-I count that as a package because it is just for me, it is unexpected, and it's not a bill or junk mail! The last thing I got was such a complete surprise I'm still not over it. I'm in Dye-o-Rama, the dyeing swap that Scout organized, and each month Wool2Dye4 randomly draws a name from the participants and sends them a prize. I was this month's winner, and I received 1/2 lb. of their new fingering weight Kona superwash. Half a pound! That's about 1100 yards! I am so excited to try it out!

Speaking of dyeing, I've been doing some of that. I dyed two hanks of KnitPicks Dye Your Own this past week. The one on the left I dyed using Jacquard's Professional Acid Dyes (this is my first adventure with acid dyes). I tried doing the painting method first, but it was too windy to do outside, and inside proved to be way too messy. (Just ask my poor doggy who ended up with a teeny splash of turquoise on his cheek-I promise he was not exposed to toxic levels of the dye nor did he consume any.) So I decided to sacrifice an old pot and do immersion dyeing, which I've decided is my favorite method so far. I convinced my husband to "help" (he did it all) me build a warping board following Scout's design and a niddy-noddy too, which we spray painted red for creativity. I did a double section of turquoise, then chartreuse, then a double section of periwinkle, and then jet black. I love how vibrant the colors are and I think I'm officially hooked on acid dyes now. I want to stock up on lots of colors-does anyone have any recommendations for any cheap, great acid dyes? The hank on the right was dyed using Kool-aid, which I still love to use because it's so accessible and cheap although I'm always a little embarrased by the quantity I buy at once. I used three different pots of color, using blue-raspberry, grape, and black cherry as the primary colors. The grape came out very deep and I love it! I'm inspired to do a shades of grape color for my July Sock Yarn Swap pal. The blue raspberry is a kind of denim color, and the black cherry is pretty crimson-y. I like the overall look of the colors together, and I think this is the one I'm going to send to my Dye-o-Rama pal because she likes jewel tones. I named this color Berry Patch because the colors all resemble a berry of some sort. I haven't named the Jacquard skein yet because I can't think of something that would do it justice. I was thinking of simply naming it Maryland since I got all four colors at MDSW, but that seems a little drab. Any good color suggestions out there?

That's all the non-knitty stuff. Maybe next time I will actually have some knitting news to report.

May 10, 2006


I finally broke down and brought my camera cord over to Mom's so I could post some pictures. I didn't want to take up the space on her hard drive, but you need pictures if you're going to have a good blog post. First up, I was in my friend Shining's wedding last weekend. From left to right, that's Acacia (maid of honor), Shining (bride), Cait (other bridesmaid) and me. We had such a good time and couldn't have asked for better weather.

Now, the Maryland stuff:
Beth and I started off the day in the main exhibition barn. We could not have been more overwhelmed. I knew it was going be crowded, but wow! Some booths I had to skip over completely because I couldn't get in. (Knitters can be pretty violent if you try to get between them and their Koigu.) The first yarn purchase of the day was this lovely stuff I got at Davidson Corporation, all the way from Michigan.
I don't have any plans for it yet. It's only about 140 yds, so maybe a one skein wonder? I love the colors though. I wear a lot of browns and it will be a perfect compliment to most of my wardrobe. We wandered a little further down the barn and lusted after a bunch of different yarns, but we were both sticking to budgets and trying to be conservative since there was so much to see. I came really close to getting some pretty sparkly stuff from Blue Heron Yarns, a company in Maryland that I'm pretty obsessed with. But the price was the same as the stores around here and I was looking for something original and maybe a deal. The next purchase I made was definitely a deal. Look at all this sock yarn I got for $12!

I originally only picked up the blue and black yarn for Doug and the yellow and blue for me but then thought I'd like to make myself some blue/black socks too! This booth (can't remember which one it was) also had 50g balls of 100% alpaca for $2.50 each and sadly I didn't get any. They had the loveliest eggplant color that I could have made a beautiful Rogue out of, but I was still holding out. I dreamed about that yarn Saturday night and went back for it Sunday, but it was gone. Doh! I'll remember for next year to grab stuff when I want it! After that Beth and I decided to get some lunch. Unfortunately the lines were way too long for the "real" food so we settled on the healthy alternative of funnel cake and kettle corn. Yum!

We settled in the shade of an SUV and ate and knit until it was time for the knit blogger meetup. I'll refrain from posting the huge group pic that you've seen everywhere else, but suffice it to say that ohmigod I had no idea what a force we have. I knew that there were hundreds of knit blogs out there, but wow. To see it in person is undesribable. I recognized quite a few people and chatted with a few too, but mostly I was chilling and knitting and trying (unsuccesfully) to not get sunburned. I did get a few pics though:

That's me and Diane , who recognized me based on the little piggy around my neck. That's something I whipped up on Friday so I'd have a convenient place to put my camera for easy access. It was such a hit too, I got lots of compliments on it. I'm thinking of creating other little critters (like a monkey, elephant, etc) and maybe selling them in my Esty shop .
That's Cara, showing off her beaded fantasy shawl, which was GORGEOUS! I've now been inspired to knit lace and beads. I met a lot of other fantastic people, but I don't want to overload anyone with the pictures. Thanks for such a great time knitbloggers! After the meetup, we wandered a little longer and left the fairgrounds a little early due to my horrendous sunburn on my back and both of us feeling a little yarned out.
On Sunday we were back at the fair bright and early and the mood of the whole festival had definitely changed. Instead of a seeing a bunch of frenzied knitters, clutching their precious Socks That Rock and Koigu with fierce looks in their eyes, we saw a lot more families and knitters actually knitting. I made my score of the whole festival.

That's three skeins of sunlight by Kiparoo Farm, near Frederick, MD. My only regret is that I wish I could have bought more. I don't know what to do with it...I've got 375 yards of it, but the needle recommendation is a US 10, so I can stretch it to go a long way. Any suggestions? I'd like to make a top of some sort, maybe a 3/4 sleeve cropped cardi. Is it enough?? Need a close up? (Sorry for the blurry picture.)I love the little strand of nylon running along with the wool, it gives it just a little shimmer without being overly flashy. This colorway doesn't have a name, so I've taken to calling it "Campfire". I never would have picked up this color if it hadn't been for Project Spectrum. I discovered in April that I really like yellows and oranges a lot. Thanks Lolly! I also got some acid dyes (for Dyeorama) and 5" US 1 Brittany Birch DPNs. I have always used DPN's as opposed to two circs for small tubes and socks, etc. I've found that I prefer wooded DPN's to metal because of their ability to "grab" the yarn since I toss my half-finished sock in my purse without a second thought. After using the birch needles, I'm never going back to bamboo. I *heart* birch! On our way home we passed a few birch trees and I was tempted to go saw off a few branches to bring home! Tee-hee!

That pretty much sums up the weekend. I'll leave you with this picture of the two cutest animals at the fair. The one on the right kept chewing on the other one's ears and a little struggle ensued, so cute. Doug is lucky my car can't hold two full-size alpacas or I might have brought them home.

May 8, 2006


Just stopped by for a quickie!
Hi to everyone I met at Sheep & Wool this past weekend, please leave me a comment with a link to your blog as I've lost the card where I was keeping track of everyone's email addresses and blogs. I'm still in the process of taking lovely pics of the stash I brought home. I didn't end up buying a drop spindle although I came seriously close. I talked at lenght with a very nice gentleman at one of the booths in the main exhibition hall (sorry, can't remember which one) and he gave me a lot of good recommendations. I saw some wonderful roving that looked like ribbon candy that would have made some lovely yarn. Still, I didn't come home with a drop spindle. I can't really explain why other than I just didn't. I stil want one, I still want to try one. I even saw a few that were within budget range, but I guess nothing really struck me, so I went home with no spindle. Don't worry, I didn't come home empty handed! More on that later this week. (I'm still not sure when I'm getting the cable hooked up at the new house, so no pics yet either.)
In the next few days I hope to dye some wool and paint The Stitchery....details to come!

May 3, 2006

Secret Pal 8 is starting!

Still computer-less, so I'm borrowing blog time again. No pictures to show you, but I haven't been knitting lately so the only pictures I could present would be of empty boxes and half-unpacked items everywhere. It doesn't look like I'm going to get this lace tank finished in time for this weekend, but I'm not giving up yet. I'm concerned with wearing it this weekend anyway, being that it's supposed to rain and be a bit chilly and a lacy cotton tank doesn't really fit the bill. I will wear something handmade, even if it's only a scarf. I'm willing myself to turn into Superknitter and cast on for the Green Gable tonight and finish in time for Saturday. Sadly, I don't see this as more than a knitting fantasy. I received all my info for the Dye-o-rama swap and got an email from my swap pal-I have a lot of dyeing to do-PS Yarn Swap pal, Bethiee's winning yarn, and Dye-o-rama swap yarn. Whew! Now, if I could only remember which box holds my kool-aid stash and dyeing supplies....

As if all that wasn't enough to keep me busy, SP8 is beginning. I am SOOO excited for this swap. Some of you may remember that I posted a questionaire for SP7 a while back to potentially be an angel, but that never came to fruition. This go-round though, I'm a 100% participating member and couldn't be more thrilled. So without further ado, here's all you ever needed to know about me:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I seriously dislike eyelash yarns, I OD'ed on them when I first started knitting and was cranking out fun fur scarfs by the dozen. Other than that, I've become a bit of a yarn snob as of late and don't really care for acrylic. I have some Lorna's Lace that I'm looking forward to knitting with, it seems really soft. I also just knit a sock (then frogged it) with some worsted weight ArtYarns Supermerino and I loved that yarn.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
For my straights I have a roll-up case that a friend made for me. For my DPN's I have a mini version of that roll-up that I made. My circulars, sadly just roll around and the bottom of my bag as I have yet to find something to store them in. (side note: I just realized that my DPN roll-up has yet to grace the blog and it is something orangeish that I sewed in relation to Project Spectrum. photos to come soon)

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I guess I'm an intermediate knitter. I've done cables, some very basic lace, completed one sweater and one pair of socks, and a smattering of scarves and ponchos and bags. I've been knitting for just over 2 years and I'm self-taught from a "Teach yourself to knit" book I found at Michael's.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do.
(I hope that comes up-it's a pretty basic wish list)

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love pumpkin-scented candles, unfortunately they are hard to find this time of year. I also like things that smell clean like Yankee Candle's Clean Linen and such. For bath products I like fruity things, especially citrus.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Who doesn't? I love chocolate and peanut butter combos like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I also have an obesession with the root beer flavored Bottle Caps candy, but not the other flavors just root beer. I often pick through them and eat only the root beer and that annoys the crap out of Doug, who also loves the root beer ones. :) I also really like sweetarts.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I scrapbook, and do a little sewing and beading. One of the things I'm looking at buying this weekend at Maryland Sheep & Wool is a drop spindle so I can try spinning without too much of a committment.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like all music, especially reggae. I got married in Jamaica and have always had an affection for the gentle rhythms of reggae music. On the other end of the spectrum, I really like country, so really all music is great. I do have the ability to play MP3's.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I really like colors that contrast well with a chocolate brown. I'd say that's my favorite color except I don't like it that much on it's own, just when another color compliments it (like aqua, robins egg blue, pink, etc.) I also discovered through Project Spectrum that I really like warm yellows. There are no colors I dislike.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm recently married (still technically a newlywed I think) to a wonderful guy. We have two loveable pit bulls who are 3 and 3.5 years old that we got from the SPCA.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
All of the above.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Recently it's been socks. I have a huge obsession with DPN's, sock yarn, and sock patterns. I've only completed one pair of socks and right now I'm slowly chugging away on a sock for my husband's size 13 feet. I've also been looking at a lot of t-shirt/tank top patterns but haven't completed one yet.

13. What are you knitting right now?
In my knitting basket I currently have a lace tank that is nearly complete, a start of one sock that is for my husband, a baby sweater for a friend, and the very beginning of Green Gable.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I prefer knitting on circs most of the time because they are easier to transport, and I love my one pair of addi turbos. I really want to invest in more sizes because right now if a pattern doesn't call for US 6's I skip over it until I find something I can use my turbos on. I really don't like plastic needles, but I'll use bamboo every once in a while.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No, but I just acquired my very own craft room so it is high on my list of things I want to get for the room.

17. How did you learn to knit?
Self-taught, see #3.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
I have a crochet afghan that I've been working on since high school, but I doubt I'll ever finish it, so it doesn't count. In knitting, I have a sweater for my husband that I've been working on for about a year.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
I love Thanksgiving. My husband and I both work in retail so that is the last day of the year that we can spend together without the hustle bustle of all the shoppers. It's like the calm before the storm.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
I have a pretty impressive shot glass collection. I've always made it a point to get a shot glass from every place I ever visit. (I wonder if they'll have shot glasses at MDS&W....) Aside from that, and the obvious yarn, patterns, and needles, I have a ton of shoes and purses, but I guess that's pretty normal.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
There are two books that I'm lusting after....Mason-Dixon Knitting and Vogue Knitting's Stitch Dictionary. Mason-Dixon becaue I've heard such wondeful things about all over the blogs, and the Stitch Dictionary because it seems like such a good reference book. I think they just put out Vol. 2-Cables and that's the one I'd be more likely to buy because I love texture like cables in my knitting. As for yarn, whew, that's a loaded question. There's a ton of yarn out there I'd love to have. I've been admiring some of the pretty colors that Cherry Tree Hill has in their sock yarn, and I don't think I've ever been in a yarn store without seeking out and petting the Muench Touch Me yarn.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm a fairly new lace knitter, and I'd like to learn some pretty lace patterns. Aside from that, there is one very basic technique I'm embarrased to admit I've never tried. Not that it looks particularly complicated, but usually at this point in my knitting I'm so desparate to try the item on and wear it....well, the thing is.....I've never done blocking before! I know, for shame, right? But I can't ever wait to wear the item and show it off. That's one reason I'd like to try a lace shawl, so I can try blocking and see the magic happen.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yep, obsessed sock knitter. I wear a size 6 1/2 shoe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

If you've made it this far, congratulations. If you've made it this far and you also read the other version of this I posted back in Jan/Feb, mega-congratulations!

Happy Knitting everyone, and I'll see you at MDSW!

May 1, 2006

5 days and counting.....

So long to Yellow/Orange month, but not to knitting with orange. I'm not *quite* done with my coral lace tank, due to all the packing and moving. (Blech-if I have to mess with another box again after this, it better be filled with yarn.) I learned this month that I really like the color yellow-it's not a color I would normally choose to wear or knit with, but warmish yellows (like the giant sock colors) are very pretty. So my completed yellow and orange projects for this month sadly only include my PS Postcard, and one sock that was then frogged, but I'm going to try to crank out the tank in time to wear to MDS&W.

Speaking of....who's going?! I can't wait to meet all the bloggers in person that I interact with in cyberland all the time. (Warning: If I rush at you for picture-taking in a yarn-induced haze talking a mile a minute while waving pointy sticks I'm sorry, truly sorry.) My hotel reservations are taken care of, mapquest has spit out some directions, the only thing I have left to do is decide what knitting to take and make a plan for which vendors to visit and in what order. I'm so excited about this trip! If you are going, I think there is a big blogger meet-up at the main stage when Wendy is signing her new book, Wendy Knits!. If you haven't gotten this book yet, I strongly recommend it. Beth gave it to me last week as a little gift for all the knitting instruction (Thanks again Beth!) and it is wonderful. I'm only about halfway in, but the patterns are gorgeous and her writing is delightful as always. So, anyhoo, see you at the main stage, but give me a shout-out if you're going so I know who to look for!

Today marks the start of Green Month for Project Spectrum. You may remember a while back I purchased some yummy green yarn with some purple tones and a light sparkle throughout. (I'd provide another pic, but that's another story....) I plan on using it to make Green Gable, the new tee pattern that Carrieoke is so hot about. I'm going to make some modifications, though-pictures to come. I'd like to say I'm going to finish GG in time for MDS&W, but with all the unpacking and working and such, I'd say that's as likely as coming home from MDSW with no yarn in my bag.

Sorry about the lack of pictures and such, I'm without internet access until the cable gets hooked up at the new house, so I'm borrowing computer time. I don't have my digital camera and the software on this computer, so words is all you get. I promise though, as soon as the cable gets hooked up I will compensate with tons of pics. I also wanted to mention that until the cable is hooked up, my blogging regularity might be a little spotty, so hang tight-I'll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging soon. (Not that I'm that regular to begin with.)

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for.....the winner! Thank you all so much for the awesome comments. I liked a lot of them and it was hard to choose a winner. But there's only room for one name (unless there was more than one yarn room....imagine the possibilites....) so the winner is.....Bethieee. Her suggestion was "The Stitchery". It makes me think of a Keebler elf-like system with lots of mini-knitters clacking away when the lights are out. Thanks to everyone again for the great suggestions! Bethieee, I already have your info from the PS Yarn Swap (this time I'll try to spell your name correctly to avoid any further panic sessions) but shoot me an email and let me know if you have any color preferences. I have a whole rainbow of Kool-aid so you just say the word!

See you all at Maryland Sheep & Wool!