How to make 3 weeks disappear

Knit lace. Lots of lace. I guarantee that the whooshing noise of deadlines flying by will become completely imperceptible after 4 days.

But even if your house is a mess and your spouse doesn’t quite recognize the crazylooking person in front of them, you will have something freaking impressive and beautiful when you’re done.

Behold:

Dreamscape Shawl - Complete

My Dreamscape Shawl.

It’s glorious. Deliciously soft, gorgeous drape, and frankly, ENORMOUS.

I wish my photography skills were better so I could do it justice.

I love it.

~~~

The lace knitting inertia continued…

Windsbraut Bertha - Complete

Windsbraut Bertha

Also delectibly soft (Mondial Gold Merino/Cashmere), HUGE (70″x 38″) and horribly photographed.

~~~

But what if I don’t knit lace? I hear you say…

Knit socks.

My hubby tends to overlook the dusty furniture if I knit him socks.

D-Man Socks - Complete

Stripey D-Man Socks for my Danny-boy.

Aloe Vera infused (Austermann Step) socks, because I love him lots.

AND I got the stripes to match – yeah BAYBEE!

~~~

But you do have to know when step off the train to Crazyville.

The Patchwork Blanket out of sock yarn?

Patchwork Cushion - complete

Well, it became a rather funky looking Patchwork Cushion instead.

This is what the back looks like:

Patchwork Cushion - Back

The rest of the leftover sock yarns will be addressed at another time.

~~~

What of the Christening Set?

Progress has been made:

Christening Gown - Progress

It’s slow going – but I’ve been informed that nephew Marc will be christened in September, so I have some time.

The sticky white cotton on tiny needles with 3 active cats in the house also makes me slightly paranoid with sessions of manic handwashing after touching *anything*.

I hope my sanity survives the creation of this set, I really do.

~~~

How to soothe the madness?

Let’s try some nice stockingette.

Lady Grey Tunic

This is my cotton Lady Grey Tunic. Which I hope will look something like this when it’s done:

Knitted Tunic with Lace Border

Pretty hunh? It’s free pattern (found here).

~~~

And when all else fails, you can’t beat good old garter stitch.

And no one (with the exception of Elizabeth Zimmermann – have you seen the new book? WANT!) does it better than the gals from Mason Dixon Knitting.

Now, I have been continuing to work on the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket (20 more ridges to go on block #7), but I had something slightly less epic in mind.

A Mitered Crosses Blanket.

10 afghan squares. I think I can handle that.

Not having any Noro Silk Garden (sniff), I delved into the stash and came out with some tweedy woolly goodness with which to make my version.

Mitered Crosses Blanket - Square 1

Red Cross to the rescue :D

~~~

As I’ve once again rejoined the world of the (slightly) sane, I will talk to you all again next week.

TTFN

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sticking to the Plan

Oddly enough, I actually find myself exactly where I want to be with my projects at the moment.

Let me savour this strange feeling for a minute…

**deep breath**

Okay, that’s enough :P

This week’s plan was to finish the WendyKnits’ KAL Summer Mystery Shawlette (aka my “Lucky Penny Shawl“), get as far as I could on my Dreamscape Shawl (“In Dreams Mystery Shawl“) and start on the Christening Set for my nephew.

Here’s how I did:

~~~

Lucky Penny Shawl

As I mentioned in last week’s post, the main part of the shawl (clue 3) was to be released later Thursday afternoon.

Lucky Penny Shawl - Clue 3 complete

It was done by Friday night.

The final section was released around 5pm tonight (my time) and took about a half hour to finish it off.

Lucky Penny Shawl - Complete

Blocked to within an inch of it’s life and completely dry by dinnertime.

Final measurement on it is about 56″ x 26″. Not too bad, but I do wish that I had done the extra repeats since I ended up having about a third of the ball of yarn leftover.

Oh well, into the Patchwork Blanket project bag it goes.

~~~

Dreamscape Shawl

I’ve been going great guns on this shawl since last Saturday.

Clue 5 took a good 2.5 days of fulltime knitting:

Dreamscape Shawl - Clue 5 Complete

It was at this point that I suddenly discovered that I had accidently deleted any and all Clue 6 emails without actually downloading said clue.

My normally rational zen mind shattered.

I flipped out. Full on Kermit flail.

After some rather panicked emails to the designer (Susan, you are a SAINT!) and a very large serving of chocolate pudding, I was back in business.

Dreamscape Shawl - Clue 6 Complete

The last 2 rows of Clue 6 were finished this morning.

Clue 7 is printed off and ready to go. I hope to have it finished by Monday or Tuesday.

Oh, and Susan? I owe you martinis and cabana boys. Seriously.

~~~

Christening Set

The first part of the set, the bonnet, is off the needles and awaiting silk ribbon.

Christening Bonnet - Complete

I cannot *begin* to tell you how difficult it is to photograph 3-dimensional lace objects in this yarn.

Here is a picture of it before sewing up so you can actually see the pretty:

Christening Bonnet - pre-finishing

That line above the leaf motifs? Knitted pin tucks. I am so proud :D

The rest of the set is going to be altered a wee bit. I’ll be doing the same as many others have done and combining the bodice of the jumpsuit (with shortened sleeves) and the skirt of the overdress. Then work a pair of simple “longies” (pants w/feet) for underneath.

It’s a bit more of a user-friendly option I think.

Crossing my fingers it’ll all be finished before he’s born.

~~~

Quick and Dirty (Clean?)

BadgerDan prefers to wash dishes with a plastic scrubbie (*shudder*).

I ethically refuse to buy any more of them from the dollar store.

So I made him a tawashi out of some leftover Red Heart SuperSaver:

Spiral Scrubbie

He’s happy – I’m happy. Win-win.

~~~

Coming Attractions

The next Windsbraut Shawl KAL will be starting tomorrow (Windsbraut “Bertha”).

My SKA socks for this month will be “D-Man” by Lykkefanten for BadgerDan.

The June Woolly Wormhead KAL Hat is the Tebe Slouch which I quite like.

Yarn options are still pending.

I may or may not get to them next week – we’ll see.

~~~

Furkid Update

Little Miss Lilith seems to be settling in very nicely and is holding her own with the boys. There’s quite the personality under that shy exterior that is showing itself a bit more each day.

She loves to hide behind curtains and suddenly attack or chase Maverick, Tomi and her toys. Lightning fast and super quiet – we have dubbed her “NinjaCat”.

We think it’s funny as hell – 13 yr old half-Siamese Tomi is not as amused.

~~~

Until next week…

TTFN.

Published in: on June 2, 2011 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Baffling Brain Fogs and Resulting Chaos

The Thursday before last, I couldn’t do my regular blogpost as I was the helpless victim of an inexplicable brain fog.

This fog was very strange and kept me in it’s evil clutches for about a week and a half. It scrambled me so bad that I could barely string 2 relevant thoughts together.

You can imagine what it did to my knitting. It fairly near reduced me to tears.

Nothing would work, and when I bravely soldiered on, it caused much cursing due to skipped instructions, miscounting and multiple rippings back of hours of stitching.

~~~

Adventures in Entrelac

I did, somehow, manage to finish the first Crocodilian Sock through sheer willpower and gritted teeth.

The leg took 3 runs at it to get the stitchcount down to where it fit an 8″ leg.

Final count = 45 stitches. Fingering wt. On 2.25mm needles. BIZARRE.

I swear, entrelac must warp the space-time contiuum or something.

Upon finally reaching the cuff, I changed first round of cuff to (K1, P1, KFB) to increase stitchcount from 45 to 60.

I also had to alter the first row of the heel by knitting into the front & back of each of the 15 stitches to bring it up to the required 30.

Okay, from here-on-out this should be a cakewalk, right? Wrong.

Following instructions, I diligently worked the heel and half of the gusset as written:

Crocodilian Socks - Sock 1 heel

Then I tried it on. The rectangular heel turn (Welsh?) as a rule doesn’t work well for me, but the worst part was that *the gussets weren’t lining up*. One side was about an inch ahead of the other side. HUNH??

For the life of me, I couldn’t work out how to pick up the bloody stitches evenly on the sides of the entrelac instep.

Being so fed up with this idiot sock at this point, I did the only logical thing possible.

(No, it didn’t involve copious amounts of alcohol or screaming, although those thoughts did filter through the fog.)

I ripped back to the heel turn, did a regular triangular heel turn (French?) and proceeded to knit the gusset and sole without joining to the instep. When the sole was long enough, I simply kitchenered it to the bottom of the toe and sewed up the sides of the foot.

Crocodilian Sock 1 - Done

DONE.

This pair is going to BadgerDan because I simply cannot get over my ambivilent feelings for this pattern enough to wear them.

~~~

Lace Limbo

I didn’t dare even *attempt* to pick up one of my shawl projects, but I had promised my friend Heather Zoppetti (aka “Digitalnabi”) to test knit her newest sock pattern “Bobbie Strow“.

It took me *three days* to knit the lace cuffs. This would generally take me the matter of *maybe* 4 hrs.

Garden Stroll Socks - Sock 1 progress

This is as far as I got on my version – “Garden Stroll Socks” Thankfully far enough that I could send my notes off to the ever-patient Heather with confidence.

These will now become the resident “purse” socks until they’re done as the hard part is over.

~~~

Maybe It’s a Yarn Weight Thing

Sure, that’s it – you’re overloading on sock & laceweight yarns. You need to knit with some chunky yarn.

Emmaline has been in the queue for a while, why not give it a go? Okay.

After screwing up the bodice increases 3 times, it occurred to me that perhaps gauge wasn’t the issue after all.

It did get done though, however slowly.

Emmaline Bodice

I had to put it away, but pulled it out again yesterday and finished it this morning:

Emmaline Top Complete

Emmaline Top

Finally – a Finished Object! (a week late.)

~~~

What Can I Do????

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to a Knitter who can’t concentrate enough to knit – let’s just say it isn’t pretty.

Over and over I muddled over in quiet desperation what I both wanted to do and *could* do in this troubling state.

I was almost to the point of hysteria when a little internal voice answered.

“You can spin”.

So I took it’s advice.

I spun:

Life's Lemons on Spindle Life's Lemons - Skeined

Highland Handmades Superwash BFL – “Life’s Lemons” (4 oz)

And spun…

Fertility Handspun Handspun Fertility

Intentions Yarn Superwash BFL – “Fertility” (4 oz)

And spun…

Handplyed Brown Heather Shetland

Handplyed Recycled Shetland (from sweater) – Brown Heather (36g – 2 ply lace to 4 ply fingering wt)

And spun some more…

Handspun Cinnamon Simon

LlamaGoldsmith Alpaca Roving – “Simon” (1.3oz)

Toasted Almond Alpaca Wool

Louet Dyed Eastport Alpaca/Wool Roving – Toasted Almond (2oz)

I even spun up some itty bitty samples into 55yds of self-striping laceweight singles:

Self-striping laceweight alpaca

Natchwoolie Samples of: “Black” Alpaca; “Hazelnut Truffle Fawn” Alpaca/Tussah Silk; “Milk Chocolate” Alpaca; “Sterling Mixed Grey” Alpaca/Tussah Silk (total weight: 12g)

~~~

All Spun Out

Relaxing a bit, time to branch out a little and ease yourself back to knitting. How about some crochet?

Fingerless mitts – that should be simple enough…

Bohemian Opera Gauntlets

Bohemian Opera Gauntlets

Wow, those were unexpectedly fast and easy.

Bohemian Gauntlets

And very sexay!

~~~

On a Roll

Hmm… perhaps you should try to do something with all those tiny balls of dishcloth cotton that have been driving you nuts…

Crocheted Dishcloths

Clockwise from top: Big Blue Flower Washcloth; Nature Star Tawashi; Spumoni Starflake Tawashi; Forget Me Not Tawashi; Eye-Searing Leftover Dishcloth; Softie Leftover Washcloth

Little balls of cotton? GONE.

~~~

Then Badgerdan returned home from Toronto with a set of Ikea Kassett CD Boxes.

Who knew that this small act could make me deliriously happy and spawn a joyful afternoon of cutting up sleeves from the overloaded CD binder all to the tune of blaring 1990s music?

CD boxes

I am such an organizational geek.

With my appetite whetted, I moved onto the 2 unsuspecting DVD binders with scissors in my scheming hands…

DVD Collection

Believe it or not, there’s 76 DVDs and 14 extra empty sleeves in that small plastic dollarstore basket. I’ll pick up a snazzier box for them next week.

And the binders didn’t go to waste!

Cross-stitch Binders

They’re now safely housing my collection of cross-stitch patterns and magazines. :D

This little adventure got rid of 2 plastic binders, one slightly warped CD binder and 2 plastic magazine holders. YEAH BAYBEE!!!

~~~

There’s still some residual fogginess going on, but the worst of it seems to have passed.

I think I can safely start on Clue 6 of Evenstar without too much chance of casualties.

I hope.

TTFN.

(Note: Will be back to regular Thursday updates starting next week.)

Breaking Even

Remember back in March when I told you about the master plan to work my yarn stash down to more reasonable levels?

Well, I encountered my first fullblown challenge to the plan a little over a week ago while out shopping with a girlfriend at the local Salvation Army Thriftstore.

You see, I found yarn.

Good yarn. Wool yarn. Useful yarn.

Lana Grazia Lavabile

2 balls of Lana Grazia “Lavabile” (100% Wool, DK, 110m/50g) in a lovely camel colour @ 99c each.

Simpsons Supremacy 4-ply

1 oz ball of vintage Simpsons Supremacy 4-ply “All Purpose” Fingering Yarn (50% Wool/50% Nylon) @ 79c.

Total purchase price = $2.79

Now here’s the kicker – at that point, I had only earned 30% of a single new yarn purchase. A deficit of 2.7.

Translation: I would need to use up a full **27 balls of stash yarn** before even looking at any new fiber purchase. ACK!!!!!!!

After I finished thwacking my head against the wall for a bit, I girded my loins and decided to face the monster head on.

~~~

First up – finish the Sampler Baby Blanket.

I simply couldn’t afford to wait another 2 months for the CAL patterns.

So a few more filler squares, a couple more February squares, four of the April squares for the corners and a sewing marathon later, I had this:

Sampler Baby Blanket - Sewing Complete

Added an improvised border and VOILA!

Sampler Baby Blanket - Complete

One crib sized baby blanket ready for the baby nephew :)

~~~

Next – finish the Exploding Plum Blanket.

And holy cow, did it ever explode! It’s almost 6 ft wide!

Exploding Plum Blanket

Had to get a little creative at the border due to goofing up the pattern sequence a little and not wanting to pull it back to correct it. It’s not perfect, but it still looks pretty cool :).

~~~

Well that’s 22 balls down. Need 5 more. Hmmm…

I *had* planned on using some Malabrigo for this month’s Woolly Wormhead KAL Hat (“Waffle Slouch“) – maybe I’d better check the wool “oddball” case instead.

Rummagerummagerummage

Here’s 22yds of a dark brown mercerized wool (okay, that’ll totally work for the brim…), 71 yds of brown tweed Aran wt (nice for the body… but will it be enough? Better be sure…) and 28 yds of red heather (well, it blends a *little* with the tweed… maybe some stripes?)

Crossing my fingers, I used the stitchcount of the smallest size with larger needles and hoped for the best.

The brim yarn yielded a good 2″ of ribbing on 5mm needles. (The pattern said 3″, not too bad.)

Upsized the needles to 5.5mm for the Aran wt tweed and got to work. After a couple of repeats, decided that I’d need the red heather after all and threw a single repeat of it after every 2 of the brown tweed. Had *just* enough tweed to finish the hat. (Whew! That was close!)

There’s still a little bit of the red heather left… hey, how about a flower applique? There’s that one in the Knit 2 Together book

Add an army surplus button from ye olde button box and…

Crunchy Granola Hat

The Crunchy Granola Hat is born.

I swear to you that the red heather wool isn’t NEARLY as pink as the photo suggests and actually blends with the brown.

I’ve been wearing it for 2 days now – it’s cute as Hell.

Webcam Hat Shot

~~~

Damn – still behind by 2.

It’ll be summer soon… maybe it’s time to do something with those pesky balls of shiny cotton-blend ribbon yarn.

Enter the Steampunk Safari Scarf.

Steampunk Safari Scarf

I offset the ribbon with some heavier mercerized cotton braid in a deep rich brown.

The pattern is called “The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief” by Orange Flower and only calls for 240yds of DK wt yarn.

BTW, did I mention that it’s *FREE*?

Webcam Shot, Scarf

Lovelovelovelovelove. OMG – Must. Make. More.

~~~

Beginning Yarn Stash Talley: -2.7
Current Yarn Stash Talley: +0.1

And that, dear Reader, is why this week’s post is a day late.

Now there’s the small matter of the 9 more balls that need to be used up before this GORGEOUS Highland Handmades Corridale can come home.

Highland Handmades Peacock Corridale

I *really* need to get on that.

TTFN.

Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Small Steps Forward

I wish I had some finished stuff to show you today, but apparently the same scattered energies that are messing with the weather are having a similar effect on my attention span. So please forgive me if I’m less than articulate this week.

2 shrugs and a baby sweater project were knitted, pulled back, knitted again and finally frogged and the yarn put away in sheer frustration. To the tune of 3 wasted days.

Unless, of course, you take the Thomas Edison philosophical approach – then I simply found multiple ways of how not to make a shrug and baby sweater.

Doesn’t make it any less annoying though.

~~~

I have, however, managed to make some small progress on a few projects, not as much as I’d like, but progress just the same.

The La Vie de Bois Socks have come a fair distance since last week:

La Vie de Bois Socks 80%

I was going to try and run out the yarn, but decided that an 11″ leg was plenty long enough.

La Vie de Bois Socks - Sock 1

So very pretty and surprisingly stretchy.

La Vie de Bois Socks - Sock 1 Side

I put some quality time in yesterday on Evenstar, getting to the halfway point of Clue 5 (of 7):

Evenstar Shawl, clue 5 50%

And I got a few more rows done on the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket:

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket - Block 7 begun

Must remember that even small steps will eventually get one to a destination, regardless of one’s patience levels.

My inner child is screaming in the backseat right now.

~~~

Needing a positive distraction, I started spinning up some of the happiest darned handdyed roving in my fiber stash:

4oz of Superwash BFL called “Life’s Lemons” (from Highland Handmades)

Spinning - Life's Lemons

Possibly the most perfect cheerful delicious yellow on the planet. Wonderful to spin but it does makes me hungry for pie.

~~~

Something new…

The sheer number of leftover balls of sock yarn was making it hard to close the stash suitcase in which they were stored. Unsurprising perhaps, but something needed to be done.

I gathered all the patterned and handdyed sock yarn balls that weighed under 40g, threw them in an old project bag and grabbed my copy of Vivian Hoxbro’s “Domino Knitting”.

Yep. It’s official.

The leftover yarn levels have reached the mitred square blanket stage.

But rather than go with the diamond style (a la Shelly Kang’s famous Sock Yarn Blanket) like most folks attempting this epic undertaking, I’m going a slightly different route with my Patchwork Blanket.

Using my favorite potholder pattern (#3) in the book as a basis:

Potholder 3

I’m working the squares in randomly pulled colours radiating out from the center until it’s wide enough, then working the top and bottom in pattern until it’s long enough.

Patchwork Blanket

Each square measures 2″ with a cast-on of 27sts on 2.5mm needles.

I have no idea what kind of timeline this project is going to have, but I’m sure it’ll measure in years rather than months.

~~~

My cousin Jeffrey and his lovely wife Susan welcomed their little daughter Anne into the World early Sunday morning.

It was a wonderful bit of news to find out from my Uncle Paul & Aunt Marilyn (the proud new Grandparents) on Monday as we laid Grandmaman to rest in a beautiful ceremony that she would have loved.

A true blessing. :)

TTFN.

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s been a rough week…

But somehow I’ve managed to muddle my way through it and accomplish most of what I set out to do.

~~~

Finished Objects

Today is darling hubby BadgerDan’s birthday and his Torontonian Socks were done with a few days to spare.

Torontonian Socks Complete

The man loves vintage colourwork socks and I am happy to indulge him – once a year.

Torontonian Socks Done

He proudly donned his “hep” hosiery this morning and couldn’t stop smiling. (Until I went for my camera, then he skedaddled off to work. Dammit.)

Happy Birthday Honey – I love you. (And yes, next year you can have argyle.)

Windsbraut Manaus

Windsbraut Manaus turned out to be a 3-parter and easily finished.

I’m quite surprised how little of the Zauberball (col. 1966 “Spring Meadow”) it ended up using. The entire shawl only took about 335yds on 3.75mm needles and came out to about 62″ wide by 25″ long. There’s a good quarter of the ball leftover.

If you have a hank of Colinette Jitterbug in your stash that is languishing due to the short yardage, this might be a good project for it. Just a suggestion.

March 2011 Mystery Socks

The March Mystery Socks were completed yesterday. I really love this colourway of Zitron Trekking XXL (col. 76), which probably explains why it took me so long to use it. Deliciously grapey – I may have to find more.

~~~

WIPs

My Dreamscape Shawl (aka “In Dreams”) is up to date at Clue 4:

Dreamscape Shawl, Clue 4

And since I get a little twitchy when there isn’t a pair of socks on the go…

La Vie de Bois Socks - 1

This morning I cast on “La Vie de Bois Socks” designed by my friend Heather of Highland Handmades with some Indigo Moon Merino Superwash in their “Lichen & Moss” colourway.

La Vie de Bois Socks - 2

“La Vie de Bois” translates to “Life in the Woods”. Lichen, moss… I think it works.

Everything else on the needles/hook remain (mostly) at the same stage as last week.

~~~

My rough week started last Thursday with me somehow spraining the trapezius muscle in my right shoulder (I think I did it while moving our new mattress) and I’ve been in varying amounts of pain ever since. Liberal applications of Vicks Vapo-rub & extra-strength Tylenol seem to have me on the mend now, but it’s still bugging me a little.

Yes, I knit through the pain, keeping my shoulders as still as possible and not making any sudden moves with my head. (Working all those beads into the shawl was a treat, let me tell you. Doing the laundry was quite fun as well. Especially when we ran out of both coffee & Tylenol earlier this week.)

But the toughest part of my week came yesterday evening via phone from my mom.

My maternal grandmother Lucille passed away last night at 7pm.

She had been sick for a long time and went peacefully at her nursing home (I believe) in the company of my uncle Paul – her eldest son. My mom was able to see her on Sunday with my father to say goodbye.

She is survived by her 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren (2 of which are due within the next few months).

I am the eldest of the nine and have many fond memories of her from the summers of my youth at the cottage on Balsam Lake. I prefer to remember her that way before the illnesses took their heavy toll.

Grandmaman was a devout Catholic her entire life and I pray that she finds peace among the Angels and Saints she so treasured.

Take care of her for us Mary. We miss her.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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I know, I know…

I haven’t posted since last year. I felt like hibernating for a bit. I get like that sometimes.

With the first signs of spring starting to show themselves, I figured it was high time I let you guys see what I’ve been up to.

I’ll refrain from the 2010 rundown of projects, because it now scares ME how much comes off my needles in the space of a year and frankly, it’s not a contest.

(Note to self: must go through Rav Projects and add year tags.)

~~~

I started 2011 with only 2 long term projects on the needles: the Evenstar Shawl and the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. Shocking, I know.

They’re both still in progress at the moment:

Evenstar, Clue 4 Complete

I’ve finished up to Clue 4 on Evenstar

Moderne Log Cabin, Block 6 Complete

and Block 6 on the Log Cabin.

I do a row or two on the afghan when I can, but there’s now a deadline for the shawl. Because you see…

Danny, Robin & Babybump

I’M GOING TO BE AN AUNTIE!!!

My sister and BIL are expecting a little boy (to be named Marc Antoine). Evenstar will be used for his Christening and I’ll also be making this set to go with it:

Christening Set

I plan on shortening the sleeves and the ribbon will be white. I have vintage mother of pearl buttons inherited from our grandmother and purchased the 16 balls of pure white SandnesGarn Mandarin Petit fingering wt cotton needed for the set.

Mandarin Petit Yarn

I have a few months before my nephew makes his debut, so finishing this set is totally within the “doable” range.

Really.

Hey, with love and a positive attitude anything is possible.

~~~

Finished Objects

I’ve actually completed quite a bit already this year, motivated by my master stash-busting plan – but more on this later.

(As always, click on the project links for more info.)

*SOCKS*

Smocked Stockings
Smocked Stockings

Cranberry Biscotti Socks
Cranberry Biscotti Socks

Stardust Socks
Stardust Socks (for my Mom)

*OUTERWEAR*
(It’s been a reallllllllly cold few months! Canada. Winter. Brrr.)

Much Needed Legwarmers
Much Needed Legwarmers

Castiel Hat
Castiel Hat

Vintage Mohair Cloche
Vintage Mohair Cloche (crochet)

Ruba'iyat MittensMittens, back
Ruba’iyat Mittens

Bubbles Cowl
Bubbles Cowl

Hudson Handspun Scarf
Hudson Handspun Scarf (for my Dad)

And yes, that is *my* handspun!

Handspun Hudson

*GARMENTS*

Talia Vest
Talia Vest

Banish The Cold Sweater
Banish The Cold Sweater

*BABY STUFF*

Rocketry
Rocketry Baby Cardigan

Little Tiger Baby Hat
Little Tiger Baby Hat

*ACCESSORIES*

Totally Mod Messenger Bag
Totally Mod Messenger Bag

~~~

KAL/CAL PROJECTS

I’m such a joiner ;)

So far I’m keeping up with all of them, which given my track record with KALs has me pretty chuffed.

Dreamscape Shawl (Clue 3 Complete)
Dreamscape Shawl, clue 3

This is another amazing beaded shawl creation from the incredible Susan Pandorf (Pandosu/Sunflower Designs) called “In Dreams” based on Galadriel’s crown from The Lord of the Rings.

She is donating 10% of all her pattern sales over the next week or so going to assist the Japanese Relief effort. If you have ever wanted to purchase one of her lovely patterns – now is the time.

Windsbraut Manaus (Clue 2 Complete)
Winsdbraut Manaus - Clue 2

This mystery shawl is the newest of the Bride of the Wind series from the equally talented Monika Eckert (Wollklabauter).

Monika has also created a lovely stole pattern called Prometheus which she is donating all proceeds from to assist the Japanese relief effort. I urge you to take a look and make with the clicky if you like what you see.

March 2011 SKA Mystery Socks (Clue 3 Complete)
March 2011 SKA Mystery Socks - Clue 3

March is another Mystery Sock month in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group.
The theme: Lace.
The designer: verybusymonkey.
The pattern: Too pretty to resist.

And…

2011 Sampler Afghan (70%)
2011 Sampler Afghan - Jan-Mar

I’m using the 6″ squares from this year’s Crochet Block-A-Month CAL to make a blanket for baby nephew Marc. My design only encorporates the first 6 months of squares as he is due in June and I want to have it done when he arrives.

Blanket Schematic

I made a chart and everything! See – there is method to my madness.

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*OTHER WIPs*

I have two other knitting projects on the go, both well on their way to completion:

Shadowed Cypress Project Bag
Shadowed Cypress Project Bag

I fell in love with this bag (Cinnamon Bark Project Bag by Linda Guzzaldo) the moment I saw it in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2010 issue and knew it would be perfect for housing some of my larger projects (read: blankets). I just have the cotton cinch top & cords to finish and then sew in the liner. Easy Peasy.

It will (hopefully) look something like this when it’s done:

Cinnamon Bark Project Bag

and last but certainly not least,

Torontonian Socks (for BadgerDan)
Torontonian Socks - sock 1

It’s “prove your love through vintage intarsia” time again (LOL)

Vintage Sock Patterns

Hubby’s birthday is a week away and I still have a good 3/4 of the second sock to knit. I think I’ll be able to finish it in time.

Cross your fingers.

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Now, to explain my master stash-busting plan (MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ahem.)

Last year, I managed to accomplish the huge goal of uploading my entire yarn stash into Ravelry. (Seriously people, this took *months*)

I still have a few stray balls here and there that aren’t inputted and I haven’t included any of my spinning fiber (I upload that when I finish spinning it.) But it’s essentially done.

It was shocking.

Now, don’t get me wrong – My stash hasn’t reached SABLE level yet, but it’s of a significant enough size where I find myself saying “That’s a crapload of yarn”.

I may have mentioned before that I keep my yarn (mostly) in second hand suitcases. What I’m attempting to do is to get it down to where I can store it all in the pretty antique ones and do away with the ugly ones.

There are a few ways to accomplish this – my choice?

I intend to USE IT UP.

Starting in November of last year, I devised a plan which has since been refined.

I have to earn any new yarn and fiber by using up 10 balls of old stash for every single unit coming in.

The following exemptions apply: Christening set yarn (which hubby paid for and had to be to colour specifications – pure white) and any yarn/fiber gifted to me or won in a contest.

I set up a spreadsheet where I’ve been keeping a record of yarn usage for the past 4.5 months and the plan is working beautifully. As of today, I’m breaking even :D.

By doing this, I hope to accomplish a measure of simplicity without a feeling of lack and stimulate my creativity by limiting my choices of materials to what I have on hand.

“Use it up, wear it out and when in doubt, do without.”

In addition to my 10:1 ratio, I’m also including the clause that the majority (95%) of new fiber purchases be made from de-stashes, thriftstores or directly from the independent artisans. I want to know where my money is going and feel good about it.

And isn’t feeling good what life is all about?

TTFN.

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 2:23 am  Comments (1)  
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A Little Bit of This and That

Just a few random things today:

DivaRomana Shrug - Complete

As promised, this is how the DivaRomana Shrug looks like on me. I’m quite surprised at how comfortable, light and *warm* it is.

(Note: please excuse the hair – it was still wet from the shower.)

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Treetop Kneesocks - Sock #1 (halfway through leg)

Wednesday was spent working on the (very tricky) leg of my Treetop Kneesocks and wondering what the heck my husband was up to and where.

The first chart section on the leg is now done and I hope the next section goes a bit faster. Bamboo DPNs aren’t the fastest needles to work with, but I chose them so I wouldn’t brutalize the recycled wool.

(Long story short: It turns out that BadgerDan was driving all over the Greater Toronto Area trying to find a Passport office that could renew his passport the same day.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t as lucky as the YarnHarlot’s Joe this time round and he had to miss out on a lucrative 10-day assignment to Tennessee.

Suffice it to say that he was none too pleased when he got home last night.

He has since picked up a few jobs in Toronto for the weekend and had a client pay a large outstanding invoice in full so doesn’t feel too bad about it now.

See? Things always have a way of working out. :) )

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Moderne Log Cabin Blanket (Block 3 - 50%)

I’m about halfway through the 3rd Block on my Moderne Log Cabin Blanket.

Believe it or not, I keep this in a basket on top of my TV in the living room and work on it when I’m too tired or stressed out to think. With all the complicated stuff I do, it’s kind of nice to have something mindless to reach for when I need to.

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Thursday was a spinning day:

This is some beautiful custom blended roving from the amazing CJ Kopec called “Sunset” that I picked up a little while ago.

It’s 2/3 Merino, 1/3 Colonial wool and all YUM.

I’m about a third of the way throught the 4oz batch – not bad for a novice spinner, I think.

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The Round 4 specs for Sock Madness 4 were recently released and had me (and most of the other competitors) scrambling through the sock yarn stash in sheer desperation:

US 1/ 2.25mm, US 2/2.75mm – 4 skeins Knit Picks stroll (231 yds/50g)

Do the math – that’s 924yds/200g of sock yarn.

Oh. Em. Gee.

I don’t know about you, but I only get *maybe* 100g of sock yarn at a time. This sucker is also a cabled pattern making me think that I really don’t want to try and stripe them. Buying yarn is out of the question, so what to do????

The only thing I could think of: Raid the Laceweight Stash.

Lisa Souza Laceweight

You may remember this yarn:

Lisa Souza Wild Things

It’s a whopping 2520 yards/226 grams of 2ply extrafine merino (Lisa Souza Laceweight, “Wild Things”) which when I swatched it doubled…

SM4 Round 4 Swatch

… actually gave me gauge and is muted enough to pass as a semi-solid.

Halleluah – crisis averted.

~~~

And last, but not least:

alynxiathelacemonster

Ain’t it the cutest? This little guy is “alynxiathelacemonster” created by the ever-talented Miss Violet who is on a bit of a monster kick at the moment.

Thanks V, I love it lots. :D

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 1:17 am  Comments (2)  
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Bad Blogger – No Cookie

Oh, my poor neglected blog – can you tell that I haven’t really been in a writing mood these past months?

Wow, well I’ve finished a metric tonne of stuff since I last posted so let me bring you up to speed. I’ll just go in order of when I last mentioned them for ease of reference.

(Note: All links are to the Ravelry Project Page for each item. I also list particulars on the Flickr pages for those not on Ravelry.)

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Rocky Butte Socks

Rocky Butte Socks - Complete

I finished these in plenty of time for the Opening Ceremonies. So squooshy and comfy, I love them :D.

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DivaRomana Shrug

DivaRomana Shrug - Complete (blocking)

Finished TODAY!

I ended up doing the trim in darker yarn only (Spinrite Orlon) because (A) I think it looks nice and (B) It allows me to keep my last two balls of Chocolate Kid Merino for another project.

As the Orlon is 100% acrylic, I both wet blocked and ironed the shrug so that it will keep it’s shape. The border I “killed” the heck out of and it seems to have worked.

It’s a little big on me, but not too bad :) (It’s still drying, so I’ll upload a photo of me in it next time).

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Shetland Shawl

Shetland Shawl - Complete (blocking)

It’s done, but not until the day *after* the Olympic Closing ceremonies – I tried, but the border was my downfall.

Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but as it was my first lace project *ever* that has now finally reached completion after years of neglect, I still feel pretty good about it.

Shetland Shawl - Complete

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Saviano Socks

Saviano Socks - Complete

Completed during the second week of the Olympics. I love how the yarn ended up pooling on these:

Saviano Socks - Done

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Maple Leaf Forever Socks

Maple Leaf Forever Socks - Complete

Seriously, how cool are these socks?????

Maple Leaf Forever Socks - Instep Detail

They came off the needles in time for the Canada/Russia Men’s Hockey game and were worn throughout every subsequent Canada hockey game. Lucky charm? I don’t know, but I certainly wasn’t going to risk not wearing them and they seem to have worked :).

Maple Leaf Forever Socks

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Evenstar Shawl

Evenstar Shawl - Clue 3 Complete

Confession: This shawl was cast on just before the Olympic Opening ceremonies – I was twitching okay?

I’ve finished Clue 3 and now that the shrug is done, I should have some more time to work on it.

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Half the reason for my blogging vacation is due to my participation in Sock Madness 4. Yep, it’s that time of year again LOL.

And hooboy, have the designers ever upped the challenge factor this time around:

Round #1 – Silver Birch Side-to-Side Socks

Silver Birch Side-to-Side Socks

Pattern: Simple Side to Side Socks by Deborah Swift, MountainMom Designs
Yarn: Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra 3-ply Handpaints, SU0107N-093 (Beige, Black, Grey); Mystery 3-ply Wool, Grey/Beige Twist; Black Acrylic Cone Wool
Needles: 2.25mm

I alternated between the handpaint and the twist yarns every 2 rows for the body and the toe.

These ones went to BadgerDan, hence the colours. I even managed to get him to model them (okay, not the best photo – Tomi wouldn’t move his fuzzy butt.)

Silver Birch Side-to-Side Socks - complete

Round 2 – Premium Roast Socks

Premium Roast Socks - Complete

Pattern: Cool Beans by Heatherly Walker (aka YarnYenta)
Yarn: Fleece Artist Basic Merino Socks, Bark; Lady Galt Kroy (4-ply), Dk Brown; Paton’s Kroy (3-ply), Beige & Med Brown
Needles: 2.25mm

Yet again I am reminded that I am not really all that quick at fair isle. These took me a lot longer to finish than I would have ever expected and actually aggravated my wrists into a carpal tunnel flareup (which hasn’t happened in a good long while).

It may have been slow work, but aren’t they fantastic? I love them alot.

Round 3 – Lupine Meadow Socks

Lupine Meadow Socks - Complete

Pattern: GAMs by Taya Schram
Yarn: Lisa Souza Sock!, “Newtown”
Needles: 2mm

Finished 3 days ago amidst a stomach bug and *two* day-long sinus migraines and I somehow ended up working 21 repeats on the leg instead of the required 12/15 rpts.

Fever and a fun lace pattern apparently equals insanity.

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My 2010 Sampler Afghan has been growing admirably:

2010 Sampler Afghan (Jan-Apr)

March Square AMarch Square BMarch Squares C March Squares

April Square AApril Square BApril Squares C April Squares

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And speaking of growing, I started an English Country Garden – a crocheted one that is (which will eventually become a blanket) :)

English Country Garden Blanket

This is a CAL that I happened upon on Ravelry (English Country Garden CAL) and thought would be a good use of my itty-bitty balls of sock yarn. There will be are 1-2 flower motifs released each month from March to September and it’s up to you what you do with them.

JonquilsBegoniasDaisies Jonquils, Begonias & Daisies

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The accursed “Ugly” Flat Feet yarn finally found a pattern it liked:

March Mystery Socks (2010)

March Mystery Socks 2010 - Complete

I figured if it didn’t work, I could always dunk them in the dyepot – but they didn’t turn out too bad.

The pattern is so incredibly pretty (Belle Vitini by Kristi Geraci), I think that it might warrant another pair done in a prettier yarn.

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Remember the Celtic Vest I made a few years back? Well, during the Olympics I decided that it needed to be frogged to make some matching mitts and a hat for my Mmmmalabrigo scarf.

Celtic VestMmmmalabrigo Scarf

I ended up recovering approximately 130g of Malabrigo Worsted in the “Loro Barranquero” colourway…

Celtic Vest - Completely Frogged

… and have recently whipped off a pair of mitts:

Malabrigo Mitts

Malabrigo Mitts

It’s the “Rosa Mitts” pattern by Erin Amelia and I still have enough yarn left over to make myself one of these hats:

Starburst Hat Starburst by Woolly Wormhead

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I started a scarf for my sister’s birthday in March which I hope to have done by her wedding in September:

Foreign Correspondent Scarf

Foreign Correspondent Scarf

Pattern: Foreign Correspondent’s Scarf by Lexy Lu
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Diwa, Champagne Pink (col. 2)
Needles: 3mm

She loved it when I showed it to her, but I secretly think that the colour of the yarn is keeping me from working on it.

~~~

My current Socks in Progress are a pair of
Treetop Socks by Heidi M. Scheppmann
from the Summer 2009 Issue of Knitty

Treetop Kneesocks

Treetop Kneesocks

I’m using some recycled wool from a frogged sweater/vest and will be reinforcing the heels & toes with some leftover JaWoll reinforcing thread.

They should eventually look something like this:

Treetop socks - original

I haven’t had much time to work on them lately, but I hope to have one of them done by the end of the month.

~~~

I’ve been spinning my little heart out, both by spindle:

Handspun Natural Merino
Fleece Artist Merino Sliver, “Natural”, 2-ply DK/Light Worsted

Handspun Seacell Merino
70/30 SeaCell/Merino sample from The Enablerie (formerly Flawful Fibres), 2-ply fingering wt

Handspun Soysilk Merino
50/50 Soysilk/Wool Sample from The Enablerie (formerly Flawful Fibres), 2-ply fingering wt

Handspun Alpaca Merino
Fleece Artist Merino Alpaca Sliver (I’m calling it “Caramel Macchiatto”), 2-ply fingering wt. (approx. 50g)

and by wheel:

My first bobbin of hanspun

My first bobbin of yarn – EVER!

Handspun Fleece Artist BFL
Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester Sliver (I’m calling it “Pumpkin Patch”), Navajo-plied 3-ply DK (approx. 50g)

I’m so proud :D.

~~~

Here’s hoping that things settle down enough around here for me to be able to blog a bit more often.

TTFN.

A January of FOs and Preparing for the Olympics

First off, I decided that with the new decade, my blog needed a bit of a facelift – you like?

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January started, as in previous years, with my annual New Year’s Day Crochet-a-thon.

This year’s sampler afghan will use all 3 of the CAL patterns – the 12″ Ravelry Square, 12″ Craftster Square and the 6″ Ravelry Square (of which I’m making 2 per month). The plan is to have all the 6” squares in an “Aran” coloured acrylic and the 12” squares out of scrap neutral acrylics (including some darker colours and black, but no white or cream). The final border will be done in Chunky cream acrylic.

January Squares

February Squares

With my plan in place, I’m able to piece together strips every 2 months – yay for forethought! (See 2010 Sampler Afghan project page [Ravelry link] for pattern details)

Here’s what it looks like as of right now:

2010 Sampler Afghan - Jan-Feb

I also started a Moderne Log Cabin Blanket out of 4 colours of frogged sweater cotton that have been sitting in my stash *forever*

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket - Yarn

It currently sits at the 2 square point:

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket - Square #2
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But, as the title of this post suggests, I do have some FOs to show you and I hope they go towards explaining my radio silence during the previous month. In order of completion – here we go…

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Wings of Horus Shawl

Wings of Horus Shawl - Blocked & Complete

The beaded edging on this shawl nearly *killed* me, but I love the results!

Oh, and if you don’t believe me when I said that it was big – here’s some proof:

Wings of Horus 1 Wings of Horus 2

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Some gifted dishcloths were next:

Double Flower Cloth Double Flower Cloth

Denim Squidge Cloth Denim Squidge Cloth

Lacy Round Cloth Lacy Round Cloth

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Niagara Falls Socks

Niagara Falls Socks - Complete

I only did 2 pattern repeats on the cuff and used a standard heel pattern rather than as written, which, by centering it on the back, accidently off-set the foot lace pattern. You can’t really tell though.

(I had also originally planned to use white yarn for the heel and toe, but chickened out and used dark blue instead.)

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Mystic Waters Shawl

Ahh, yes… Let’s just say that my wonderful friends over on Plurk could tell you *all* about the saga of Alynxia and the big blue shawl. Took 2 years to knit the first 3.5 clues … and a *WEEK* to do the last 4.5 clues (+ border edging)

Mystic Waters - Clue 4Mystic Waters - Clue 5Mystic Waters - Clue 6Mystic Waters Clue 7Mystic Waters - Clue 8

Mystic Waters - Complete

Makes Wings of Horus look like a shawlette – doesn’t it? :D

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YenforYarn Socks

YenforYarn Socks - Complete

I really like these – even if I had to use a different dyelot for the second toe. (When they’re in shoes, nobody’ll notice :P)

~~~

Road to Oslo Socks

Road to Oslo Socks

Nancy Bush, how I do love thee! Leave it to her to have the perfect pattern to use up some recycled lambswool in grey and red. (This one is from Knitting on the Road)

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Everglade Hat

Everglade Hat

Made as a gift for YenforYarn, who recieved it earlier this week and thinks it’s wonderful. Glad you like it Lisa :)

[Just a quick note here: I *did* cast on a pair of Lisa's Manhattan socks in January (see?), but the yarn I used (Lisa Souza Sock!) was just a little too light for the pattern and ended up frogging it. So after all the Olympic hubbub dies down, I'll be casting on again with a slightly heavier yarn.]

~~~

On to February’s FOs

Smoke & Ashes Cardigan

Smoke & Ashes Cardigan - Complete

Yes. A mohair cardigan.

I finally found a pattern that those pesky balls of King Cole Luxury Mohair liked!

Can’t say that the pattern didn’t have it’s issues – it was a really sketchy English translation which really made me rely on my knowledge of how a sweater *should* kinda fit together. Many a “hunh?” and “oh they must mean *this*” was muttered throughout.

I completely ran out of yarn as I cast off the second sleeve – so the picked-up collar ended up not being an option. So I added a couple of strategically placed buttons and made it into a rolled edge, wrap around. Wabi Sabi :D Fini!

~~~

Handspun Headscarf

Handspun Headscarf

I whipped this up yesterday on some 12mm needles to use up the small ball of experimental superbulky barberpole I spun up in January. (Yes! I’ve been spinning! More on that after the Olympics.) The black is some stash Cascade 128.

Attractive – no?

Handspun Headscarf - Headshot

Well, I like it :)

Handspun Headscarf - Front

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Other than the long-term blanket projects, I do have 2 current WIPs that I’m working on, heading into tomorrow’s Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver…

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Rocky Butte Socks

Rocky Butte Socks - Sock #1

AKA “The Team L&V Fitness Challenge Bootcamp Sock” by Eliza Metz (the incomparable Miss Violet of the Lime & Violet Podcast)

(What is the Team L&V Fitness Challenge you ask? Well, head on over here and Miss V will tell ya all about it ;).)

This is one of the very rare times I’ve actually intentionally gone out and bought yarn for a specific pair of socks. The yarn is Sandnes Garn SMART (superwash DK wool) in col. 1093 (black/grey variegated).

The pattern calls for sportweight (STR Mediumweight specifically), but I like a slightly thicker yarn when using US3/3.25mm needles. My gauge ended up being bang on and I think it looks pretty darn close to Miss V’s original:

Rocky Butte - Original

I’ve started the second sock and think it’ll probably be done by the start of the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow night – cross your fingers.

~~~

DivaRomana Shrug

DivaRomana Shrug - Clue 1, Side 1

This is a mystery KAL from Knitting Delight Yahoo Group. It’s a shrug (not a shawl, which I’m not allowing myself to cast on until the last one is finished.) and Clue 1 looked sooo pretty! Had to do it, couldn’t help myself :)

I’m using the same yarn combo as I used for this scarf a few years ago – CPY Kid Merino in Chocolate (col. 4673) and Spinrite Orlon (also called “Chocolate”) held double throughout.

Mmmmm Fudgy.

It’s knit out from a provisional cast on (centre back), then you work in the opposite direction. I’m 20 rows shy of finishing the second side, but if I don’t finish it before tomorrow night, I’m not going to worry about it too much.

~~~

So why all the fuss about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics? (You know other than they’re the OLYMPICS in MY HOME COUNTRY?)

Why, the Ravelympics and Knitting Olympics of course!

I’ve signed up for both :)

Team Madness in Progress

I’m on Team Madness In Progress for the Ravelympics. (Many people are on multiple teams, but I’m keeping it simple *cough* this time round.)

In the WIPs Dancing Event…

Shetland Faroese Shawl

My long neglected Shetland Shawl. This is how it looks going into tomorrow and it hasn’t been touched since I can’t remember when.

In the Sock Hockey, Cable Cross-Country & Stash Compulsary Dance Events…

Saviano Socks - Yarn

A pair of Saviano Socks in See Jayne Knit Superwash DK, “Iguana” (that has been marinating in the stash since October 2007). It’s Yarnissima’s pattern from the latest issue of Knitty.

The official start of the Ravelympics is the beginning of the Opening Ceremonies.

The Yarn Harlot‘s Knitting Olympics, however, begins with the official lighting of the Olympic Torch.

And this is what I’ll be casting on when the torch is lit:

Maple Leaf Forever Socks

My Maple Leaf Forever Socks, (aka “Regent Man’s Socks No. 2065″ from “Hand Knit Socks by Regent, Vol. No. 20″) will be done in Cable’s & Lace Lizard Toes in “Beltane” (totally Canadian Flag colours!), some vintage Paton’s Scotch 3-ply Fingering wool in White & some leftover Sandnes Garn Lanett in black.

The maple leaf pattern will be intarsia’d in white on the handdyed red/white background. The black will be used for the leaf detail and used to embroider an outline around the white leaf for contrast.

Vintage. Intarsia. Embroidery. Leg knit flat and sewn up.

Challenging? Hell yeah.

[Note: These socks also qualify for the Ravelympics in the following events: Sock Hockey, Nordic Colorwork Combined, and Snowcross.]

~~~

Now there is another mystery KAL that starts tomorrow that I haven’t mentioned and that is the Evenstar Shawl KAL by my incredibly talented friend Susan Pandorf (aka Pandosu). She’s a fellow yarn-obsessed lace junkie who has one of the most creative minds in the business. Not to mention her patterns are like crack.

The Evenstar Shawl is the start of a whole Lord of the Rings series that she came up with one day and it sort of steamrolled…

Over 770 members (from 18 countries) as of today and still growing. Way to go Sue!!!!!

I have my yarn and beads ready to go for when I can find time to start it. (You know, *after* I finish the WIP Shetland – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Evenstar Shawl - Yarn & Beads

~~~

Well, I guess there’s only one thing left to say…

GO CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe – don’t you?

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