March 31, 2006

Farewell March

Just a quickie post to say goodbye to the pink and red month and welcome in the orange month. Here's what I finished for Pink/Red March:
May I present my first ever completed pair of socks! I learned a few things while making these, like kitchener stitch is not as easy as it looks, and a three-needle bind off looks better from the inside. Pattern: Fiber Trends Railroad Rib Socks; Yarn: hand-dyed from Dani; Needles: US size 2. I'm so excited about socks now! I might do Jaywalkers as my next attempt, using Knitpicks dye-your-own in my own colorway. Or I need to find a good pattern to make my husband's socks (size 13-better be an interesting pattern). Tomorrow is Flash Your Stash day (I've got a lot of photography to do) and the first day of sign ups for SecretPal8 . It's also the very first day of Orange month and I've already got one project in the works! Stay tuned to see what's next in my knitty world.

March 26, 2006

Parades and UFO's

What a wonderful weekend I've had. I'll tell you all about it, but first there is a parade coming by. A SOCK YARN parade-the best kind. I don't really know what inspired me to do it, but here is all my sock yarn, snuggled up together. If you've been following my blog you know my recent obsession with socks-so addicting! Buying sock yarn is almost as much fun as the knitting
sock is. So, from left to right, top row: Hand-dyed sock yarn from Dani in the Neopolitan colorway, Lana Grossa self-striping sock yarn in black, grey, and white-destined to be socks for my husband, Regia self-striping cotton in the Sand colorway, Knit Picks Simple Stripes (2 balls) in the Vineyard colorway. Bottom row: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the Vera colorway, Knitpicks sock yarn (can't remember the kind or colorway-oops), and 2 balls of Artyarns Supermerino in colorway #134 . The last one is my new favorite, just in time for April's colors, it reminds me of sunshine. It's a varigated yarn in worsted weight, so it will make some heavy socks, but I love the color-couldn't pass it up. Since we're on the subject of yellows and oranges, check out my new pajamas:

It's Project Spectrum PJ's! I didn't buy these specifically for the PS or anything, but they're new and I realized they are perfect for April! Man, oh, man are they comfy too! Since we're on a yellow kick, may I present my dad's new toy:

That's a 2006 Dodge Charger Limited Edition. He has #3993 out of only 4000 made. I wish I could tell you more car stats like horsepower and whatnot, but I'm just a knitty girl, I have no clue about that stuff. I can tell you it's 4-door, leather seats, and it has a moon roof. So, what did I do this weekend you ask? What do I do every weekend that I'm off? Buy more yarn!Beth and I went yarn-store hopping again. This time we started in Raphine, VA (halfway between Lexington and Staunton) and Orchardside Yarn Shop. They have an outstanding selection and the staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. I found a plethera of back issues of knitting magazines-I was tempted to buy them all, but I restrained and only bought 2 old ones and the current Vogue Knitting. I FINALLY found the back issue of VK that I've been searching for-Spring/Summer 2004 (furthest mag to the right). I want to make the strappy tank on the cover, so I also bought the yarn to make it. That store was our only scheduled stop of the day but our yarn appetites had been whetted, and we were lusting for more yarn. So, on to Harrisonburg we went. We found a fairly new shop in H'burg called Knit Works that is my favorite store to date. It was large and bright, had walls and walls of yarn, and a super-friendly staff. Beth found a sample purse she loved but the owner hadn't drawn up the pattern yet. She didn't have the time to write it down for us, but she got Beth's address and said she'd mail her the pattern. When we walked in the door I glimpsed a book display on the counter and beelined for it. What did I find but none other than the Yarn Harlot's newest book, "Knitting Rules!". I didn't even know it was out yet, so I snapped it up, then browsed the sock yarn, settling on the black and white stripes for Doug's socks. The third and final shop was Rocktown Yarns on Water Street (near the courthouse) where I found the sunshine sock yarn. I wish I could motivate myself to spend as much time knitting as I do shopping for sock yarn. I just can't seem to resist getting my hands on more and more beautiful yarn. I need to go through the stash and really see what I have, it's a bit out of control.

Lastly, we have a UFO parade/sighting. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, UFO means unfinished object in the knitting world. I have UFO's a plenty. A few days ago I joined the Lent-a-long which in theory is supposed to encourage you to work on your WIP's (works in progress) and not buy more yarn until you've finished up a few things. We can see how well that not-buying thing went for me so far, so to balance it out I'm going to try to at least work on some of these. I realize that putting these out there on blogland for all to see I am opening myself up to all sorts of criticism and toungue-clucking if I decide to cast-on for a new project, but that's just something I need to face. I need to own up to the fact that I am awful at finishing things, so here goes.

First up, a sweater back from a feeble attempt at making my mom a sweater. I can't remember what holiday this was supposed to be a present for. Christmas, I think? Anyhoo, the yarn is LB Thick & Quick and it was a super-quick knit, but I miss-crossed the cable in two places and forgot some increases so I got discouraged and put in on a back-burner. The blue thing is the very beginning of a baby cardigan for my friend Lida who is due May 24th. She knows about the sweater, picked out the yarn and everything, so I really need to get cracking on it. It is a size 6-month, so I technically have until about Oct to finish it, but it'd be good to have it ready to go before the baby shower.Next you have a rainbow ripple blanket. I actually got pretty far on that one before I put it aside. Wanna know why? It's crochet. No, I'm not saying I like crochet better than knitting, quite the opposite. My point is, when knitting first started becoming "hip" again, I wanted to learn but had no one to teach me. In frustration I decided to pick up crochet again and went to town. This was all the yarn I had at the time (wow, remember when.....) and it was the only craft I had (my, how things have changed). About mid-way through the blanket I bought a teach-yourself-to-knit book and some needles and things have never been the same since. Sorry little crochet hook, someday you will feel the love again. The thing at the top is a little too small to see, so here's a better pic:This really isn't anything in particular, so I don't feel that bad about it not being done yet. I decided, after teaching myself to do nothing but stockinette and garter stitch for a while, that I needed to learn to cable. I had this yarn sitting around and just cast on and started going. The yarn is really pretty, white with a tiny sparkle running through it, it reminds me of fresh snow. I've thought about turning this into a stole, or a sweater, or something, but for now it's just my giant cable swatch. Last, but certainly not least:One day this will be a sweater for my husband. It's "Jesse's Flames" from Stitch'n'Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. I made great progress on the front and back, but then I got started on the flames and wow, intarsia is hard! I had done intarsia once before (I'll put a pic of that sweater on someday) but for some reason this was much more challenging. I got about 12 rows into the first flame and put it down. I bragged a lot about this sweater as I was making the front and back and how cool it was going to be with the flames, and as a result whenever people at work see me knitting they ask about this sweater. It's such an embarrasing reminder, so I think I will try to finish it up soon so I can finally reply "It's done!" when they ask.

Whew! What a long post. When I was getting those UFO's out, Doug kept saying, "I remember that one, I'd forgotten about it", etc. Kinda bad that these things have been sitting around long enough to be forgotten about. Eeek! Maybe by the next time I post I can show you a finished object, although it will probably only be my almost-completed Neopolitan socks.

March 23, 2006

Finished Object Alert!

Finally! I've been trying to post pictures for a couple of days and it finally came out. To the left you have the lovely postcard that the talented Aliastriona sent me. Sadly she doesn't have a blog to link to, but I promise she is incredibly crafty, sewing fairy wings for her neice, painting, knitting, and cooking! Next you have the finished Tubey, finally! I love this sweater. I ended up seaming a teensy bit at each corner of the neckline so I could safely wear a bra and tank top underneath without any wayward straps. I'd read that this was a
problem for other people as well so I anticipated having to do it. My only complaint with this sweater is it's a little itchy. I have pretty sensitive skin so I have to be careful what I wear. I won't be wearing this for long periods of time or when I will be doing a lot of movement, but aside from that -yay I finally made a sweater. This thing was completed so long after the Olympics I don't think it should even count as a bronze. Speaking of Knitting Olympics, remember way back when I said I won a prize. Well, I have since received such prize and have yet to flash it. This is some hand-dyed Lion Brand wool from Sarah.
I really like the dark blues, but I'm not quite sure what i will do with it. It's a smallish skein-maybe enough for a boobholder or a felted bowl or something. Stay tuned for results. Other knitting stuff: Socks! And, yes I used the plural of that item because as you can see I've already cast on for the second one. I'm famous for never finishing things, or actually, getting distracted by the newer prettier yarn (whatever that may be), so the fact that I've already started socky#2 is incredible. I LOVE this sock yarn. I highly recommend it. It's hand-dyed yarn from Dani and WOW. I like the way the varigated looks in stockinette better than the ribbing, but it's beautiful either way. I used a cuff-down method with a short row heel and kitchener stitch on the toe. I need some practice on my kitchener stitch. The toe is a little wonky, but still wearable. Last but not least:
Yarn for dinner, anyone? This is the sock yarn I'm practice-dyeing for Zarah's Project Spectrum-themed sock yarn swap. You should check it out. Friday the 24th is the last day to sign up, and you don't have to have a blog to sign up. (Ahem, Beth, ahem....I hear sock yarn dyeing is more fun in pairs....ahem) I read a tutorial somewhere (sorry, I lost it) on making self striping yarn. I did loooooong sections of orange and yellow (April's colors) so hopefully it will come out. It's drying and needs to be re-rinsed (and soaked with a touch of fabric softener to get rid of the Kool-Aid smell, yuck) and then I will wind it and swatch with it to see how the stripeys will come out. I was really pleased with the way the colors came out, but I had to use a ton of lemonade to get that bright yellow color (15 packets to be exact). The cashier at Kroger thought I was crazy because I must've bought about 50 packets of various kool-aids. (FYI-the big jars of Kool-aid already have sugar in them so can't be used for sock yarn dyeing)

Wow, that's a lot of knitblogging. On a totally unrelated knitting note-guess what movie star came into my work tonight and I totally got an autograph from? Steve Carrell! Yay! I LOVE his movies and shows (Bruce Almighty, 40-year-old Virgin, Anchorman, The Office, The Daily Show, etc). In fact, Doug and I quote his character Brick from Anchorman all the time ("I love lamp"). He is so down-to-earth and nice. I felt a little bad interrupting his shopping but he was really sweet about it and swore he didn't mind. I ran over and bought a copy of the 40-yr-old Virgin for him to sign (I swear I was going to buy it anyway, not just for this occasion). The rest of the night it's all people could talk about it. We don't get too many celebs here in Charlottesville, so it's a big deal. I'd be such a mess if I lived in Hollywood, I'd be gawking at everyone.

Stay tuned this weekend: a sock yarn parade, UFO-sightings, and perhaps another yarn store review.

March 19, 2006


Gosh, it's been a while since I've posted. I've got a lot of stuff going on. First and foremost, break out the champagne and the streamers because I finally finished Tubey! Yay! My first adult-sized sweater ever! Stupid photo-thingy. I'm not able to acutally upload any pictures right now. I promise I'll post pictures really soon.

The other thing I'm super-excited about is a sock yarn swap that matches up with Project Spectrum. Zarah is coordinating it: basically you get a pal and each month you hand-dye sock yarn in the colors of the month (using Kool-aid, or your dye of choice) then you send it off to your pal and get a skein from them in the mail. I ordered 10 hanks of Knitpicks Dye-your-own sock yarn. There are 5 months left in PS so each month I will dye two hanks-one for my pal and one to keep. I'm really excited about it-I read a couple of tutorials on how to get self-striping yarn so I think it will turn out really good. Everyone who is interested should head on over to Zarah's blog and sign up!

Other random knitting things: I received my hand-dyed yarn from Sarah for Team First Sweater, which I think I mentioned before. I was going to post a picture, time. Also, I am almost to the toe decreases of my first ever sock. It is so addicting, I can't put it down. I loved doing the short row was like magic! I was also going to post a picture of the lovely postcard I got from my postcard swap pal for Project Spectrum, but....again, next time. Stupid photo-hoster thing. I guess this is a pretty boring post with out all the pictures to illustrate what I'm talking about, but next blog will be photo heavy, I promise.

March 12, 2006

Stash Enhancement

Yesterday I went on a "Yarn Crawl" of Richmond with Beth. Here's what I came home with:

I know, I know....much much more than I intended on coming home with. We started with Lettuce Knit, a cute store with a HUGE selection in a stip mall near Stony Point Mall. As we were pulling in to the shopping center I saw girl scouts selling their yummy cookies so we stopped and loaded up. That was the first sign it was going to be a good day. We then walked over to Lettuce Knit and ohmigoodness what a treat-they were in the midst of their semi-annual blowout sale. Up to 40% off some yarns!!! The store was packed and yarn was everywhere! Beth found some pumpkin-colored yarn for 40% off that she'd been wanting and I saw lots of everything I wanted. I settled on getting 10 balls of Elsbeth Lavold Chunky AL-enough to do a simple sweater. I also got a pattern book-Rowan Bigger Picture-based on a sample they had on the wall. I didn't get the yarn (Rowan Big Wool) there because they didn't have enough of the color that I liked, but I will order it online. Next up was The Knitting Basket. It was off of Grove St, kind of downstairs and on the back side of the building. They had a very impressive book and magazine collection (including back issues dating to the early 00's) but their yarn selection was a little lacking compared to Lettuce Knit. They had a sample knit up of the alphabet baby blanket from The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss. I'd seen this knit up at Sweetpea Knits, one of my favorite blogs (see sidebar) and it's so soft. I bought the book. I don't have a particular future baby in mind, but we'll see how long it takes to make. Maybe it could be for my own one day. I didn't buy the yarn for that either, they had a good baby yarn selection, and good prices, I just didn't see this as a project I'd be starting soon. The third store was the Yarn Lounge in Carytown. This was my first visit to Carytown, and I liked it. Very hip shopping area with some cool sidewalk cafes. This shop was very modern, minimal selection but lots of quality stuff. They have lots of great samples to drool over. One caught my eye not so much for the colors but the texture of the yarn. I poured over patterns for quite a while trying to find the pattern that was the excuse to buy the yarn. I finally found it. I can't even begin to describe how soft this yarn is.

It's a cashmere/merino blend. I'd never heard of the brand before (RYC) but they had a great selection of yarns, mostly DK and 4-ply, with one aran-weight. I was debating between this and a striped v-neck sweater but I decided on this for a few reasons: 1) I'm still working on the last sweater I attempted 2)said sweater was all stockinette and rib and soooo boring after a few inches 3) see the beads? see the lace? different, challenging, the makings of something to keep me interested and finally, 4) smaller project=less time till I can start something new. Plus, it's PINK so I can start it for Project Spectrum. I've made a decision that I'm not doing anything else (except start those socks, whoops) until Tubey is finished. Speaking of, here is the current state of Tubey:

She is SO close to being finished. About 5 more inches. I *hope* to finish her today. It's hard to get motivated to knit a 100% alpaca sweater when it's 70 degrees outside, but that's what I get for procrastinating. The last store we went to was one we had visited before, Got Yarn in Midlothian. Beth needed to get another ball of alpaca (the same yarn from the nose ring incident) to complete her scarf. I couldn't leave a yarn store empty handed so I was browsing the sock yarn (*note-the previous three yarn stores didn't have a very good selection of sock yarn-the only one that could even begin to say they had sock yarn was the knitting basket but their color selection didn't do anything for me). I found Lorna's Lace in a beautiful colorway that reminds me of a rose garden-deep greens and bold pinks. Perfect! Another pink-ish yarn that can count for Project Spectrum (March is 80 days long, right?). I was browsing the store to see if they had anything new and we found a sample sweater vest knit up in the very same sparkly yarn that I bought the last time we went yarn-hunting. It was gorgeous and had such beautiful drape. The lady showed us the book she used to compute the pattern, and I got it. The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns-you can plug in what guage your yarn is, your size and what you want to make and get a pattern for basically everything. I am going to make a sweater-vest sort of thing, but with a cowl-neck so it wil be just a sleeveless sweatery thing. So that was our day, interspersed with a few Starbucks stops, some knitting in public, and people-watching. I'll leave you with the sock(s) I started a few days ago in the lovely Neopolitan colorway. So far so good, but we'll see what happens when I get to the heel flap.

March 8, 2006

Michigan is COLD!

Greetings from Virginia-we're back! Our trip to Michigan was full of food, family, and fun. I felt like I needed a flow chart to keep who was who straight. My husband's grandfather is really neat. He is a metalcrafter and has done amazing things over the years, including a centerpiece for their local university. Out behind their house he has a barn where he does all his work, called the Golden Anvil. See all that snow? That was what we woke up to Monday morning. Grandpa really gets the "crafty" thing. He was explaining to me how he always had to have something productive to do, so he'd feel like he was accomplishing something. He also said that he liked being in his barn more on the days when the weather was bad-it's comforting. I totally get that. There is nothing better on a rainy day than a nice ball of wool, needles, and something hot to drink. I had a good time in Michigan, but I'm glad to be home. (Hello, it was like 60-something degrees today!) In knitting knews (hee, hee), I worked a LOT on Tubey, but it's still not done. I'll spare you another sleeves and a half-finished body picture. I tried to start knitting socks, but it was too much to try to figure out while visiting with everyone, so I put it away. I did find a cute yarn shop while in Michigan and picked up some Regia self-striping sock yarn in sand colors. So far for Pink Month I haven't picked up anything pink to work on! I'll get there though. I'm suffering from a bit of Olympic Whiplash-I worked on my PS Postcard tonight and didn't have a single urge for knitting. I'm going yarn shop hunting around Richmond this weekend with Beth so maybe I'll pick up something gorgeous and pink while out. If you are my Postcard swap buddy, look no further! Ok, I think the coast is clear. I finished the postcard and here are the final results. On the front of the card I used actual thread and really stitched the Project Spectrum title into it. I've never done that before and was pretty impressed with the way that turned out, even if it is a little uneven. As for the rest of the I wasn't super excited about it. Don't get me wrong, I like how it came out, but not my best work. The inside however, I love. I lined the inside of the card with a marbled pink paper, then used a punch to punch out the hearts. I then made a list of all the things I like that either have red/pink in the name, feature red/pink, or are colored red/pink. I hope my pal likes it and I can't wait to see hers!

March 1, 2006

March is Pink Month!

Yay, today is March 1st which means I can officially start something pink and un-Tubey and not feel guilty about it. Why, you ask? Because today is the official first day of Pink and Red month for Project Spectrum. I think I'm going to follow Lolly's lead on letting socks be a primary focus. I've never made socks, so we'll see how I feel about my first pair, but I'm super-excited about the prospect of them. I really like the Broadripple pattern from, but I think that might be a little complicated for my very first socks, so I might just do a straight stockinette or rib pattern. I'm still knitting away on Tubey (ugh), although thankfully I'm not suffering any alpaca/nose ring related problems like my pal Beth (see comments from last post). Tee-hee! Maybe I should will the alpaca-gods to continue to torment her nose ring so I can reap the benefits-that yarn is gorgeous! Just kidding, Beth. Even though what I want to do now is toss Tubey aside and cast on for yummy Neopolitan socks, I will stay on course. I'm about to do the brown stripe across the boobies, and then it's just miles and miles of ribbing left. Perfect for a long car ride where setting down DPN's at rest stops could prove devastating. Other exciting news? I was a winner selected at random for a Team First Sweater prize. I think it's some hand-dyed LB wool. If LB=Lion Brand, cool, I like (most) of their stuff. Hand-dyed is always amazingl too. I couldn't find a pic, so I'm not sure of the colors, but I will post a pic as soon as I get it. The Yarn Harlot announced on her blog that she is going to enter everyone into the prize drawing who participated in the Knitting Olympics-even if you didn't finish, and even if you didn't sign up online. All you have to do is send an email to gold2006ATyarnharlotDOTca and she will enter you. (It's an auto-response system, so you don't have to really say anything.) She hasn't revealed what the prize(s) will be yet, but based on the last ones she sent out you can bet they'll be awesome! I'll be keeping my fingers, eyes, and knitting needles crossed in the hopes I get a Harlot prize!