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 ๐Ÿ˜€

~~~

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)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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.)

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

~~~

*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.

~~~

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)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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?

~~~

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

This yearโ€™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 6โ€ squares in an โ€œAranโ€ coloured acrylic and the 12โ€ 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
~~~

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…

~~~

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

~~~

Some gifted dishcloths were next:

Double Flower Cloth Double Flower Cloth

Denim Squidge Cloth Denim Squidge Cloth

Lacy Round Cloth Lacy Round Cloth

~~~

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 canโ€™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.)

~~~

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? ๐Ÿ˜€

~~~

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)

~~~

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

[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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Handspun Headscarf - Front

~~~

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…

~~~

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

Falling Off The Proverbial Wagon

Yarn acquisition has been running rampant Chez Alynxia lately. Mostly within reason, but I have strayed enough from my stash rules to feel incredibly guilty about it.

The recent happy arrival of the following gifts from some Plurky friends certainly has done nothing to quell the addictive fire:

KatKoe of Paper and Yarn sent me one of her cute little Copper Stitch Bugs (which seems to be hiding on me at the moment, so here is a photo of one of them from her store)

Copper Stitch Bugs

And TheChicksWithSticks sent me 4oz of GORGEOUS custom-dyed BFL roving in my favorite colours and 2 bars of her yummy homemade soap as a KAL prize from the KnittingPurls group on Ravelry. (You can also find her stuff here – please, someone buy her out of the Brandied Apple before I completely lose my resolve!)

TheChicksWithSticks BFL Roving & Soap

LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE!!! Thank you both soooo much ๐Ÿ˜€

~~~

I shall now confess to you the extent of my yarny shame:

Marks & Katten Soft Mohair

A ball of creamy Marks & Kattens Soft Mohair (40% off) from Needles & Knits in Aurora.

It goes with the 2 balls of Estelle Watercolours (actually it’s the same yarn with a different name) already in my stash.

See? A couple of balls of grey and I’ll have enough for a decent sized project.

Totally justified.

Next came a couple of thriftstore sweaters for frogging:

Both are handknit – the first one I’ve identified as Bernat Softee Chunky (in Grey Ragg) and has already been frogged to make BadgerDan’s requested cardigan. It was $6 from the Goodwill.

All ready to go.

That second one is a huge, 100% wool Cowichan-collared zippered jacket and was only $2.99(!) from the Salvation Army. BD is using it until his cardigan is done. The jacket is very “retro Grampa sweater” and has grown on me so much that I might keep it as is instead of frogging it :).

~~~

Also found at the Salvation Army Thrift Store:

~ Mary Maxim Northland Wool – Black
~ Lion Brand CottonEase – Violet
~ 35g Mystery Ball of Worsted Weight Merino (probably Debbie Bliss Merino)
~ 87g Mystery Ball of Chunky Alpaca Blend, Blue Marl

All 4 balls for $2.99.

Not bad, not bad at all you say… why all the guilt?

This is when I fell down and bought full price retail.

*GASP*

Hear me out now…

I have instituted a new rule – if the full price yarn is necessary to complete a project that removes 1 or more skeins from the stash it can be considered. Logically, they cancel each other out!

I have been wanting to knit myself the Cowl sweater by Diana Rupp (from Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller) for years now… (the red one on the right)

and decided long ago that I wanted to make out of the Cascade 220 in #7811 Purple Jewel Heather in my stash. (It just *wants* to be purple!)

Problem was that I only had 4 skeins of it. Why not make it without the cowl? Sorry, not an option.

After much deliberation, I finally made the decision and ordered that single skein from The Loopy Ewe – and look what it arrived with!

Loopy Groupie Package

My friends, I am now a Loopy Groupie! Squee! (Maybe now I’ll finally be able to score me some Wollmeise…)

In addition to the purple C220, I also received a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK in “Northern Lights” (which is totally going to make a pair of Woven Ridge Socks by Cat Bordhi), the “Brick by Brick Hat and Socks” pattern also from Cherry Tree Hill & a Loopy Ewe tote bag which is now completely filled with “queued” yarn. There were also some Tootsie Rolls in there, but they didn’t last long enough to make it into the photo. Thank you Sheri (and elves) – you ROCK!

(I hope to start the sweater after all the holiday knitting is done.)

~~~

Also purchased for full price (from Needles & Knits) were:

A ball of Lanett Superwash in black (which I’m pairing with the last of my precious Fleece Artist Sock in “Cosmic Dawn” for another pair of Cat Bordhi socks –Slipstitch Rings.)

and a skein of Shelridge Farms Handpainted Soft Touch Ultra 3-ply (col.SU0107N-093) to use with these 4 from the stash:

for the new Monika Eckert (Wollklabauter) Mystery KAL ShawlWindsbraut Spitzbergen.

~~~

Thus bringing me to another admission…

I’ve started another Mystery KAL project. Actually… make that 3 Mystery KAL projects:

Windsbraut Spitzbergen (which translates from the German to “Bride of the Wind” – Spitsbergen, a Norwegian island in the Arctic Ocean) and since it only calls for 800yds of yarn and Moni’s KALs usually run to 8 clues, I think I can keep up.

It started on October 31st with Clue #1:

Windsbraut Spitzbergen, clue 1

and we’re now up to Clue #2:

Windsbraut Spitzbergen - clue 2

It totally looks like Arctic tundra :).

~~~

November 1st marked the start of the new Sock Knitter’s Anonymous Mystery Sock KAL – a mosaic sock pattern written by the wonderful Star Athena and called “Miss Marple”.

There was no way on Earth I wasn’t going to do this pattern – Agatha Christie fanatic that I am, so using a stock photo as inspiration for my colour theme, I chose these stash yarns:

Yarn for Miss Marple socks

Those would be a ball of KnitPicks Palette in “Merlot Heather” and the leftover frogged 2-ply wool from my Peacock Track Scarf (which, incidently, I’ve been wearing constantly now that the temperature has dropped dramatically) again, held doubled, on 2.5mm needles.

I just finished Clue 2 earlier today:

Miss Marple Socks - clue 2

They are most awesome – can’t wait for the next 2 clues :D.

~~~

The last mystery KAL is a pair of hats (I bought both patterns) by Woolly Wormhead.

I started with Pattern “B” using 2 balls of Araucania Atacama Alpaca (say *that* 10 times fast!) and 3.75mm needles.

It doesn’t look like much now, but reserve your judgement until the beret is done and blocked.

I’ll be starting Pattern “A” (a slouch hat) after I finish this one, as they take the same needle size.

~~~

Well, that’s a load off my conscience.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that I also started a crocheted sweater for my brother?

Hey, what do you mean “Intervention” and “Rehab”?

It’s only a little yarn… and I can handle the new KALs – really ๐Ÿ˜‰

Published in: on November 13, 2009 at 1:25 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tunnel Vision

Yet again, I find myself falling behind on my blogging due to a sudden desperate case of “Finishitis”.

UFOs have been dropping like flies off my list to make room for new projects:

Robin's FLS - Complete

The February Lady Sweater for my sister was first off the list.

I opted for a couple of handcarved wooden buttons from Equador that matched better than the plastic ones I had originally picked out and I did end up having to rip back the entire body of my Zen Pullover to do the sleeves, but, no matter…

Zen Pullover (Revised)

I like my newer version much better :D.

Using 8mm needles and increasing at the sides whenever I felt like it resulted in a well fitting comfy sweater that I’ve already been wearing quite a bit.

LOL – I guess they can truly be called “sister sweaters” now.

~~~

There was a bonus square pattern included this month for my Afghan CAL, so I cheated a little and finished off the 2009 Sampler Afghan a bit early:

2009 Sampler Afghan - Complete

These squares were quite fast and fun to do – great for a stash buster all-over motif afghans if you’re looking for a pattern.

November Bonus Square November 2009 Bonus Square
(“Julia’s Flower” by Melinda Miller)

November Square 2009 November Square
(“Gem Star” by Chris Simon)

As for the blanket’s recipient, Danny is thrilled with it – as evidenced by his stretching out on it and napping in front of the TV every night for the past week.

The December CAL square (or squares if there’s another bonus pattern) will become a matching pillow for him – which seems to be needed :).

~~~

Not really a UFO, but a FO nonetheless, last week BadgerDan requested a scarf for a buddy of his who was just getting out of hospital after successful treatment for prostate & colon cancer (menfolk, please get thyselves checked!) and I was more than happy to oblige:

Diagonal Rib Keyhole Scarf

Pattern: Misti Alpaca Chunky Diagonal Rib Knit Scarf by Alicia Fleitas
Yarn: Mystery Chunky Blue Wool from Stash
Needles: 10mm

I cast on 20 sts and made an 8 row keyhole about 12โ€ from one end of the scarf.

~~~

And last but not least, the decision was made to call it quits on the idea of the Forest Witch Mittens due to time constraints. With an additional cable repeat and some clever decreasing, the mitten in progress became a pretty awesome camera cozy:

Forest Witch Camera Cozy - FrontForest Witch Camera Cozy - Back

Those bobbles still crack me up.

~~~

Some other UFOs have been taking a bit longer, but progress is slowly being made:

Regent Hose for Hubby

Regent Hose for Hubby - Sock #1 Complete

LOOK! A COMPLETED INTARSIA SOCK! AMAZING!!!!

(And it only took me how long to knit? *groan*)

This is what the leg looked like before the heel:

Regent Hose for Hubby - leg

The cuff for the 2nd one is finally done and I’m on to the leg of it later today. Alcohol might be involved, just sayin’…

~~~

Wings of Horus is in the final stretch, and like most large shawl projects at this stage, is taking FOREVER to knit (beads not withstanding).

This is how it looked after Clue 5:

Wings of Horus - Clue 5

and here is where it is now (Clue 6, Row 230), only 16 rows from completion:

Wings of Horus, Clue 6, row 230

So close, yet still so far…

~~~

In the next posts – a new pattern for sale(!) and what other things I’ve been getting up to.

Stay tuned ;).

Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

You know it’s a frosty morning when…

… your husband wakes you up, not with a “good morning”, but with “I need a cardigan”.

My uncaffienated brain tries to reconcile this statement with the fact that Dan hates cardigans and is always overheating. In response to my muffled, groggy request for clarification from under the covers, he said “you know, a smoking jacket with patches on the elbows – for around the house”.

Now this totally threw me. Elbow patches do not mesh with the image of the Thurston Howell III red velvet number that immediately springs to mind. It took a minute or so to sink in that he was talking about a late 60s chunky shawl-collared cardigan with leather patches.

Well, I’m quasi-awake by this point – mentally doing an inventory of the chunky wool stash and trying to remember which magazine in her extensive library has that pattern.

I mumble something about stripes and Lopi.

“Fine.”

Apparently, it doesn’t take a cold day in Hell him to get him into a cardigan, simply a frigid October morning on our 5th floor balcony.

I’ll go have a rummage through the stash later and see what I can come up with.

* * * * *

Now that I have a steaming mug of coffee beside me and motor skills returning to my extremities, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been working on this week.

Building duties have been keeping me busy, but I’ve still somehow managed to finish a couple of pairs of socks:

Hidden Hearts

Hidden Heart Socks - Complete

This photo shows the actual colour:

Hidden Heart Socks - Sock #1 Done

Pattern: Hidden Hearts by Jeannie Cartmel
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, P818183; Broder Medicis 2-ply lace, Midnight Blue (held double)
Needles: 2.25mm

You’ll notice that these socks actually have a short-row heel – not my favorite heel, but the lace pattern is stretchy enough that it does accommodate my high instep. I had been going to change the heel, but decided to keep to the pattern instead of driving myself crazy.

Other than lengthening the toe to 3″, the only other modification I made to the pattern was to do a twisted rib (K1tbl, P1) instead of the regular 1×1.

The colours remind me of African violets – gorgeous. ๐Ÿ™‚

The other pair I whipped off sprang from a “What the heck am I going to do with you?” moment with a big ball of partially felted, variegated Lopi-ish wool from a frogged thriftstore scarf (originally purchased for my Vintage Vertical Stripe Afghan project, but the variegation looked weird.)

I had been assessing potential sweater yarns in my stash and this ball just stuck out like a sore thumb. Doesn’t match any other yarns, too rough, too felted, too … hey, wait a minute… worksocks!

BadgerDan can felt a pair of socks simply by looking at them, why not make him a pair that’s already half-there? Nobody’s going to see them in his boots anyway and it gets the eyesore out of the stash.

A bit of swatching, pattern browsing and calculations later, I came up with this:

Whirling Woolly Worksocks

Whirling Woolly Worksocks

Pattern: Thuja by Bobby Ziegler
Yarn: Recycled Icelandic Wool, Variegated White/Grey
Needles: 5mm DPNs

There were definitely some changes made for gauge with these (14sts per 4″!). Ultimately, I cast on 28sts, did 2″ of ribbing, 8″ of leg, 18 rows for the heel flap and reduced to 26 sts on the foot.

Whirling Woolly Worksocks - Complete

Not the most attractive of socks, I admit – but they’ll keep the hubster’s feet warm.

Work has also been progressing on my sister’s February Lady Sweater:

I’m actually almost finished the main body right now and should be on to the sleeves later today – might actually finish it this weekend.

There is one sad realization that I had to come to last night while knitting Robin’s sweater.

I’m running out of yarn.

It looks like the body of my Zen Pullover (same yarn) will have to be sacrificed for the sleeves of the FLS.

**sigh**

Oh, well – it needed to be re-knit anyway.

I dug around last night and found 2 balls of really chunky cream Shetland that will work for the new body of the pullover.

New Yarn for Zen Pullover

Yep. With some 8 or 10mm needles, those should do nicely.

TTFN.

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 11:51 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

A Parade of Projects

Okay, time to update you on the rest of the little stuff I’ve been up to these last months… and there’s a lot of it, so stay with me here…

I decided to opt out of the Dishcloth KAL group I was involved with, but did complete the KAL cloths for May:

Daisy Dishcloth Daisy Dishcloth

Cabbage Patch Dishcloth Cabbage Patch Cloth

A summer top managed to make it off my needles:

Coachella Top

Pattern: Coachella by Fathom Harvill (Knitty, Summer 2007)
Yarn: Teal Braided Cotton from Stash
Needles: 3.75mm, 4.5mm, 5mm Circular needles

I used the Extra Small size instructions, worked the first 3 rounds of collar on 3.75mm and the last 2 rounds on 4.5mm to transition to the larger needles.

We needed a rug for our “Library” (dining room area):

Tweed Shells Rug

Pattern: Tweed Shells Rug by Katherine Eng (from Scrap Yarn Rugs)
Yarn: Chunky Thick/Thin Acrylic blend from frogged 2nd hand, handknit sweater-coat; Olive Green Cotton (Sleeves from frogged Sweater) – Yarn held double throughout.
Hook: 10mm

The cats just love it.

I did a wee bit of spinning with my Rakestraw spinner and decided to make a flower pin with it:

My Handspun Handspun Flower

Pattern: Crocheted Rosettes/Flowers by Lion Brand
Yarn: My own handspun, 8.5g 2-ply lt worsted wt.
Hook: 4mm (row 1); 5mm (row 2)

The Oddballs Ravelry Group was doing a CAL for the awesome Inga Bag and since I found had all these little pieces of DK acrylic in my stash (don’t ask – NO frickin’ idea) I made them into a “magic ball” and voila:

Inga Bag1 Inga Bag2

A new project bag! I even lined it:

The liner is made from an old black t-shirt. The bottom of liner is square and double thickness for strength.

It seems I’ve been on a bit of a hat kick lately…

Baby Flower Hat

I improvised this baby hat for one of BadgerDan’s clients who just had a baby girl.

Spring Cap

Spring Cap was the Woolly Wormhead KAL hat for September. I’ve actually been wearing this one alot.

Emerald Star Cloche

The Emerald Star Cloche is my version of the her October KAL hat.

Dr. Seuss Hat Dr. Seuss Mitts

This beret was made to match these mitts, which the husband dubbed “Dr. Suess Mittens”. Aren’t they hilarious?

I whipped off a pair of wristwarmers (aka knittin’ mitts)

Knittin' Mitts

and… a few scarves…

Mmmmalabrigo Scarf Mmmmalabrigo Scarf

Manitou Passage Scarf Manitou Passage Scarf

Peacock Track Scarf Peacock Track Scarf

This last one is a great mystery CAL scarf by Charles Voth (aka StitchStud of the Stitch Stud & His Bride Podcast).

There have also been socks. Many socks.

Summertime Blues Summertime Blues Socks

Lichen Rib Socks Lichen Rib Socks

Kaffe's Cross Rib Socks Kaffe’s Cross Rib Socks

Tuffy Slipper Socks Tuffy Slipper Socks

Redwood Forest Socks Redwood Forest Socks

Southwestern Socks Southwestern Socks

Fabled Sunrise Socks Fabled Sunrise Socks

Nancy Bush Mystery Socks Nancy Bush Mystery Socks

Plus one holiday stocking:

BD's Solstice Stocking1 BD's Solstice Stocking2 BD's Solstice Stocking3

My 2009 Sampler Afghan is almost done with just 2 more squares to go:

2009 Sampler Afghan (Jan-Oct)

June Squares

June Squares

Pattern: Eliot Square by Julie A. Bolduc

July Squares

July Squares

Pattern: Kingfield Square by Julie A. Bolduc

August Squares

August Squares

Pattern: Jupiter Granny Square by Patrizia Pisani

September Square

September Square

Pattern: Amazing Grace by Bonnie Pierce

October Square

October Square

Pattern: Carousel Square by Priscilla Hewitt

You will note that I have changed to single monthly squares. This is due to running low on the lighter main colour wool. The 4 singles will make a transition row in the middle of the afghan – see? Design feature. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be starting to sew these babies together fairly soon.

Thus finally bringing us to my current projects:

My sister recently saw my Noro/Kathmandu February Lady Sweater and made with the grabby hands, so I promised her I’d make her one for Christmas.

I’m making Robin’s FLS in Cascade 220 “Dune Heather” for the yoke and Briggs & Little Heritage “Sheep’s Grey” for the body and sleeves.

Robin's FLS

So far, so good.

It’s soon to be mitten weather around these parts and I’ve begun a pair of Jared Flood’s Green Autumn/Druid Mittens (aka the cover mittens from Vogue Knitting, Fall 08).

Forest Witch Mittens

I’m calling these my Forest Witch Mittens and they have been quite the challenge so far. After swatching AND knitting a cuff twice, I finally ended up going down 5 needle sizes to Size 0/2mm so that the mitts would fit my relatively small hands. The yarn is a dark green heather 3-ply wool from a frogged 2nd hand sweater-vest.

Knitting is slow – but with all the cables, to be expected. Got to say, against my better judgement, I’m finding those itty bitty bobbles amusing as hell.

The Sock Knitter’s Anonymous October Challenge calls for, among a couple of other options, “Socks for Men” and, being a good knitter wife, I allowed BadgerDan to choose a pair from some of my vintage sock pattern books.

He chose the last pair on the right – Regent Man’s Socks No. 2058 (from Hand Knit Socks by Regent, Vol. No. 20)

Regent Hose For Hubby

Yeah… once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked him

“Really?”

He replied

“Go large or stay home”.

Lesson learned and challenge accepted.

Regent Hose for Hubby in all their intarsia glory are being made on 9″ long 2mm DPNs using the following stash yarns: Opal Designer Uni 4-ply, Dk Brown; Lang JaWoll Color, 82.0198 (Green); & Patons Kroy 3-ply, col 390 (Taupe).

Regent Hose for Hubby2

Yep. Bobbins. Up to 9 of them at any one time. On 2mm needles.

He’s lucky I haven’t stabbed him with one yet.

My newest project is a great little lace scarf I’m test knitting for my friend KnittingDragon (of the Sweaters for Dragons Podcast & talented dye-master of Cables & Lace) which I’m calling “Autumn Leaves“.

Autumn Leaves Scarf

Pattern: Feuilles by Eric Hinsch
Yarn: KnitPicks Palette, Autumn Heather
Needles: 4mm Brittany Straights

I will be using a yet to be determined contrast yarn for the end lace sections as I’m a little short on yardage.

Project update complete.

**THUD**

Tomorrow… yarn pr0n & a free pattern.

As for now, I need to go prepare a peach crisp and some gluten-free biscuits for Thanksgiving Dinner at the parents.

Published in: on October 10, 2009 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the shadow of an old Chinese curse…

“May you live in interesting times.”

With all the ups and downs our little family has gone through over the last 2 months, trying to keep one’s head on straight has been hard enough, let alone trying to blog about it.

I’ll give you a cliffnotes version of what’s been going on and then give you the project/stash enhancement details.

– Competing in Sock Madness 3 (I’ve made it through to the Semi-Finals!)

– Yarn Crawl with SilverPheonix in Toronto (we had so much fun! He blogs about it here.)

– Elderly Father-in-law hospitalized & undergoes brain surgery (he had a subdural bleed resulting from falling and hitting his head). He’s home (and doing well) now after scaring the pants off of us after a month & a half of surgery & rehab.

– WE’RE FINALLY MOVING!!!! Unbelievably, we scored the assistant building managers position of my In-Laws’ apartment building. We move in June 1st. The new apartment is IMMACULATE, has a balcony (which being on the 5th floor gives me the willies), and the building has laundry facilities! (Can you hear the angels singing?) Best of all 50% off of the rent and the opportunity of maybe running a building of our own in the future. Sweet.

– My laptop (or rather the harddrive thereof) DIED. Subsequent tries by my beloved to repair the ancient Dell Latitude resulted in 2 more fried harddrives. We have since decided that this is my laptop telling us to “Leave me the hell alone and let me die in peace!”. BadgerDan is allowing me to share his laptop until he can get us some new MacBooks. No more screwing around. We did a backup a while ago, so I didn’t lose too much data (I hope.)

– Our nephew Richard and his girlfriend Shannon are going to have a baby boy (first baby in the family in a *very* long time and soon-to-be big brother Eric doesn’t know what he’s in for). Yay, baby knitting!

– My cousin is getting married at the end of July and I’m thinking a blanket will be a good gift. If I crochet it, I might just be able to get it done in time.

A whole bunch more has been going on, but those are the biggies.

Okay, lets get to some fun fibry stuff!

First, some shout-outs:

My darling SilverPheonix gifted me with these:

Shears To You Laceweight Alpaca

Organic 2-ply Laceweight Alpaca from a local breeder! A 4 oz skein each “Li’l Miss”(brown) & “Verdy” (cream) which I assume to be the names of the individual animals.

and he *made* me these gorgeous stitch markers!

Stitch Markers by SilverPheonix

(There was a bunch of other goodies in the care package too – spoiled me rotten, you did, David! Thank You!)

Remember all those finished socks from the last post for the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous February Challenge? Well, I *actually* WON some yarn!

Black Cat Fibres, Yak Wool

This is a wicked 100g skein (500m) of Yak Wool 4Ply in “Electrical Storm” donated by Ruth (Cinders over on Ravelry) of (Black Cat Fibres) all the way from Lancashire, England. I can’t stop petting it.

Katkoe
of PaperandYarn sent me an adorable little set of flowery stitch markers to brighten my day. Which they did, but I just can’t get a good picture of them. They’re real cute though. Thanks again!

Some purchased Yarn Pr0n:

Koigu from Lettuce Knit

I was a really good girl (and I have David to back me up on this), yarnwise at least (lol) while on our Yarn Crawl and only fell down when I saw this absolutely GORGEOUS skein of Koigu KPPPM over at Lettuce Knit. I think it looks like African Violets, don’t you? I paid full price for it, but as it was a special occasion, we decided it doesn’t count :P.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve also purchased the following yarn:

– 4.5 balls of Bouquet “Marina” Superwash Wool (around $2.50 from the Salvation Army) I needed it to make my FIL a pair of gloves (detailed later).

– A mixed bag of yarn which included a few of balls of Kroy wool & some misc. acrylic ($4 from the Salvation Army)

– A ball of Cream Georga 100% Mercerized Wool from Walmart (I paid full price for this one, but needed it to make these socks as a future project, I already had 2 balls of the dark grey and don’t want to mix with a non-mercerized wool.)

– 2 BAGS (20 balls) of Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Spirit col. 417 “Promise” (which I scored at an unbelievable 70% off). I don’t have plans for it yet, but by the Gods, 2400m of DK Wool should be enough to make *something*!! Maybe even something “Rowan-esque”. Ain’t it purty?

Freedom Spirit 517-Promise

See? I’ve been good.

If you follow me at all, you won’t be surprised that I’ve been working on a whole whack of projects since my last post. So consider yourself warned that this section is heavy on the photos and content.

I’m going to detail the misc. stuff (in chronological order) first, then the Sock Madness Rounds, followed by what’s currently on the needles and what ended up in the proverbial Frog Pond. Sound good? You sitting down? Let us begin.

Miscellaneous FOs

SilverPhoenix Hat – a surprise gift for David given to him on our trip to Toronto.

SilverPheonix Hat

Pattern: Louisa by Kristi Pedersen (West Coast Creative)
Yarn: Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Spirit, “Air” (Shade 506); Filatura di Crosa Zara, light grey (Col 1494)

Quilted Windmill Cloth – the March 2009 Mid-month cloth for the Monthly Dishcloth KAL Yahoo! Group.

Quilted Windmill Cloth

Pattern: The Windmill Dishcloth by Sew-Funky
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton; Jewels, Delft Blue, Light Blue

FIL’s Manly Gloves – Danny’s Dad lost one of his leather winter gloves, so I offered to make him a new pair. When I asked what colour, 3 voices responded in unison “Grey. Plain.” *SIGH* Let’s just say that I would rather give myself a lobotomy with a plastic DPN over making these gloves again.

FIL's Manly Gloves

Pattern: Gloves for Service Men by the American Red Cross (vintage pattern from 1942)
Yarn: Bouquet Marina, col. 6750 (Steel Grey)

Pleated Beret – This was the April Vertical KAL Woolly Wormhead hat. It worked up fast and well, but just looks *wrong* on my head. I don’t know why. I’ll take it apart later and reuse the yarn for something else. I’ll try the pattern again with a different yarn some other time.

Pleated Beret

Pattern: Pleated Beret by Woolly Wormhead
Yarn: FibraNatura Oak, Tyme (40255); Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK, WaterLeaf (019)

Highland Hose – They’re finally DONE!!!!!!! And OMG I love them!!! I reversed the cables on the second one to make them symmetrical.

Highland Hose

Highland Hose - 2

Pattern: Rose’s Hose by Rose Singerman (from “Sock Hop: Socks to Make Your Feet Dance” by Joseph Madl for Philosopher’s Wool)
Yarn: Hayfield Falkland, col. 16004 (250g)

Illusion Egg Hunt Cloth – the April KAL Cloth for the Yahoo! Monthly Dishcloth KAL. I used up scraps to stripe the โ€œeggsโ€. Trust me that there are a lot of better looking versions than mine :).

Illusion Egg Hunt Cloth

Pattern: Illusion Egg Hunt Dishcloth by Deborah C. Tilley
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Natural; Lemon Swirl; Denims; Natural Ombre

Malachite BSJ – A jacket for the new grand-nephew! I forwent the buttons and did some i-cord ties instead.

Malachite BSJ

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Georga 100 percent Cotton, Green Multi; Dk. Green Cotton from frogged Old Navy Sweater

April Squares – The April CAL squares for the 2009 Sampler Afghan.

April Squares

Pattern: April Square by Julie A. Bolduc
Yarn: Chunky Homespun from frogged Equadorian Sweaters

Mystic Star Shawl – is COMPLETE and FRICKING GORGEOUS! Couldn’t be happier (although I thought that last clue was going to kill me). I assure you, there are beads in there.

Mystic Star

Pattern: Mystic Star by Anna Dalvi
Yarn: Broder Medicis 2-ply laceweight wool (from France) handdyed to a midnight blue by me.
Beads: #8 Miyuki Clear Beads

Little Acorn Bag – I crocheted up this little project bag on a whim. (Little did I know where it would lead…more on this later.)

Little Acorn Bag

Pattern: Little Acorn Project Bag by Brigitte Read
Yarn: Light Brown Mystery Tweed from Stash; Noro Kureyon, Col. 149
Beads: 3/4″ Wood

Absinthe Socks – a pair worthy of the Green Fairy, don’t ya think? A couple of modifications: I ran 2×2 ribbing up the back of the leg, made the cuff longer (total 18 rnds instead of 12) and reversed the middle cables on the second sock.

Absinthe Socks

Pattern: Absinthe socks by Sara Morris (Knitty, Spring 2009)
Yarn: Scheepjes Invicta Extra, Electric Green (discontinued)

BadgerDan’s Bad-ass Driving Gloves – My beloved had his birthday at the end of March (his 49th – I love you honey! *duck*) and these are what he wanted me to make him. Had to do an inter-library loan to get the pattern, but it was definitely worth it. (I plan on getting my own copy when I do my “book binge” this year.) The only thing I modified was shortening the straps to 7″ and replacing the D-rings with a button closure.

BadgerDan's Badass Driving Gloves

Pattern: Driver by Robin Melanson (from Knitting New Mittens & Gloves)
Yarn: Gjestal Selbu Husflidgarn, Col. 312 (black heather)

April Showers Cloth – the April Mid-month Cloth for Monthly Dishcloth KAL Yahoo! Group. I โ€œintarsiaโ€ed the contrast border.

April Showers Cloth

Pattern: April Showers by Deborah C. Tilley
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Green Twists; Forest Green

May Squares – The May CAL squares for the 2009 Sampler Afghan.

May Squares

Pattern: Rainbow Crochet 6″ Square by Sarah Bradberry
Yarn: Homespun Wool from frogged 2nd hand Equadorian Sweaters

If you’re wondering, the 2009 Sampler Afghan currently looks like this at the moment:

2009 Sampler Afghan - Jan-May

I whipped off a bunch of baby socks in leftover yarn (details in the links):

Spring Stripe Baby Socks Spring Stripes Baby Socks

Woodsy Baby Socks Woodsy Baby Socks

Reese's Pieces Stripe Baby Socks Reese’s Pieces Stripe Baby Socks

Baby Huntsman Socks Baby Huntsman Socks

Cosmos Baby Socks Cosmos Baby Socks

Dr. Who Baby Socks Dr. Who Baby Socks

Which bring us to my latest FO – the Little Knitted Acorn Project Bag

When I shared my crocheted acorn bag with my Sock Madness friends, a few of them requested a knitted version as they don’t crochet. Always willing to assist, I offered to write one. And this is the result:

Little Knitted Acorn Bag

I consulted with the original designer and she gave me the green light to offer it as a free pattern. As soon as I hear back from my test-knitters and get the pattern re-typed (my master was nuked with the rest of my laptop), the PDF will be available as a Free Ravelry Download and I’ll have a direct download from here as well. (Providing, of course, I can figure out HOW to make it work.)

So, if you’re interested, stay tuned!

Sock Madness

This year’s Sock Madness has been a lot of fun so far. We’ve just finished up Round 5, with only 2 rounds left to go. And I’m STILL IN THE RUNNING! I guess all the practice has paid off (lol).

In retrospect, I do admit that some of my yarn choices could have been better…

(As the designers are always better at explaining their own patterns, I’ve provided links to the Sock Madness blog posts in the pattern notes for each.)

Round 1 – Tropical Mer-tini Socks

Tropical Mer-tini Socks

Pattern: Tropical Mer-tini Socks by Ronni Smith
Yarn: Austermann Step, Col. 09
Needles: 2.25mm

Round 2 – Tokena Socks

Tokena Socks

Pattern: Tokena by Tricia Weatherston
Yarn: Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Heather, Cajun Spice; Paton’s Kroy 3-ply, Col. 390
Needles: 2mm DPNs (cuff, heel, toe); 2.25mm DPNs (fair isle)

Round 3 – Talia’s Wings (The Manly Version)

Talia's Wings

(A little note: BadgerDan requested a pair be made for him during the competition – these would be them.)

Pattern: Talia’s Wings by Heatherly Walker
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Marmi, col. 7001
Needles: 2.5mm circs

Round 4 – Lucky Diamond Socks

Lucky Diamond Socks

(After I finished this round, I made the following modifications to my socks: Lengthened toe by 1″ and lengthened cuff to 1.5″.)

Pattern: Lucky Diamonds by Melissa Goodale
Yarn: Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra 3ply, col. SU0107A-081(Blues); Paton’s Kroy 3ply, col. 374 (Dk. Navy)
Needles: 2.25mm circs

Round 5 – Fine Feathered Feet

Fine Feathered Feet

Pattern: Dimpled Diamonds Socks by Deborah Swift
Yarn: Opal Rainforest 4ply, Owl
Needles: 2.25mm, 2mm

Next stop…the Semi-finals!

Which brings us to what I’m actively working on right now:

Works In Progress

The Zen Pullover is slowly taking shape:

Zen Pullover, body begun

I’ve opted to sew the sleeves and instead of working the back & front pieces seperately, picked up and am knitting the body in round top down. I hope it will fit – if not, I’ll just pull it back and add more stitches. It is a “Zen” pullover after all…

I joined yet another Mystery Shawl KAL – this one is called “Wings of Horus” by Kalinumba and involves solving riddles before you can open the PDF Clues. Due to Sock Madness demanding my attention, I’ve only completed the first 2 clues (the 5th one was just released):

Wings of Horus, clue 2

If the yarn looks familiar – it should. It’s the same yarn I used for the now frogged Casablanca Shawl. Doesn’t it look like falcon feathers? The last clue will have us adding a whole bunch of beads – I’ll have to find some golden ones I think.

Sock Knitters Anonymous is running another mystery sock KAL – this one by the famous Yarnissima! The pattern is called Kiila and I’ve finished the first clue (again, delayed by Sock Madness).

Kiila Socks

The yarn is a discontinued yarn from KnitPicks called “Memories” in the “Redwood Forest” colourway. Here’s a close-up:

Kiila Closeup

And since the only knitting book to somehow escape being packed away for the move is my copy of “Favorite Socks” and I’m so close to finishing the 52 Pair Plunge II (it ends May 31st and my current total stands at 43 pairs), I have a couple of pairs on the go from there:

SuperMeida Socks (Meida’s Socks by Nancy Bush) is using up one of my oddball, single skein, “what was I thinking” yarns – Cascade Sassy Stripes in a forgotten colourway that I can’t find the name of. It just reminds me of a superhero costume. The toe is some closely matching dk grey 4-ply Kroy.

SuperMeida Socks

Here’s what it looks like with a foot in it:

SuperMeida

The stitch pattern reminds me of Wonder Woman for some reason…

And begun today…

Cable Rib Socks

Cable Rib Socks (by Erica Alexander) which I’m altering a wee bit by knitting them out of the Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran (Cosmic Dawn colourway) from my frogged Thrum Socks (I kept the mohair roving to spin – hey it’s Fleece Artist and I’m thrifty!) on 3.25mm needles. I’ve reduced the stitch count down to 42. So far, so good.

This brings us finally to:

The Frog Pond Report

Even after changing to yet *another* yarn, the Dogwoods in Spring Mystery Shawl didn’t want to cooperate – so into the pond it went. Eventually, I hope to find the right yarn.

Dogwoods in Spring

Believe it or not, it’s taken me over 7 hours to complete this blog post. I really do need to start contemplating blogging on a daily basis…

That is, if my “times” don’t get any more “interesting”.

TTFN.

On Obsession, Inspiration and Adaptation

Holy smokes! Here it is, the middle of March & I haven’t posted since my birthday.

In my defense, our internet connection went down in February, followed by my laptop having a meltdown (BadgerDan was able to resurrect it, but we are seriously looking at new ones right now for both of us.)

When last we left our intrepid knitter, she had just discovered the Sock Knitters Anonymous group over on Ravelry and was working on the January Mystery Sock Pattern…

The Beaded Mystery Socks are now done:

Beaded Mystery Socks, complete

Pattern: SKA January Mystery Pattern by Sheryl Giles
Yarn: Lang JaWoll Color, 82.0198 (2 skeins)
Needles: 2.25mm
Beads: #8 Miyuki Glass Beads, Gold-lined Brown (8-135S)

As are the Strange Bedfellows Socks:

Strange Bedfellows Socks, complete

Pattern: Coupling by Deb Barnhill
Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering, Fern Green; Misti Alpaca Handpainted Sock, Taos
Needles: 2.5mm circs

I used a “Judy’s Magic Cast-On” Toe instead of Short-row one as in the pattern & did the foot in plain stockingette.

What they don’t tell you is that SKA is *not* a 12-step program and will lead you down a slippery slope, as I soon discovered…

First, I thought, I have time to do another pair for the January Challenge…

Rolling Thunder Socks

Rolling Thunder Socks, complete

Pattern: Rolling Thunder by Sivia Harding (from Knitty)
Yarn: Austermann Step, col. 01 (approx. 1/2 ball – 45g); Patons 3-ply Scotch Fingering, Butter Yellow & Dark Burgundy
Needles: 2.25mm KnitPicks Classic Circulars, 2mm DPNs (for 3-ply sections)
Beads: Amber A/B #6 Miyuki Beads (6-257)

I shortened the leg by 1.5″ and reduced to only 68 sts at the gusset to accommodate tighter gauge and needles of 3-ply.

Hey, it’s stash busting right? Sure.

Enter the February Challenge and a designer that I had lots of patterns by, but had never gotten around to knitting…

Naniboujou Socks

Naniboujou Socks, complete

Pattern: Naniboujou by Chrissy Gardiner (from Knitty, Winter ’08)
Yarn: Cascade 128 Solids in Dark Brown (1108), Rust (2414) & Cream (8010)
Needles: 4mm

Chunky yarn, why not? (I used the 4.75″ size of the pattern)

Nice and fast, neat pattern, Husband loves them.

Which soon led to some simple kneesocks…

Ribby Retro Socks

Ribby Retro Socks, complete

Pattern: Ribby Retro Socks by Chrissy Gardiner (Knitscene, Fall ’07)
Yarn: Sean Sheep Armytage, Greens; Bucilla Tapestry Wool, Col. 011
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs

Hey, why aren’t you using the “good” yarn? Okay, I thought, let’s do some really nice ones…

Knotty or Knice Socks

Knotty or Knice Socks, Complete

Pattern: Knotty or Knice Socks by Chrissy Gardiner (Interweave Knits, Fall ’08)
Yarn: Stonebarn Fibers/Gypsy Girl Creations, Cattails (2 skeins)
Needles: 2.25mm

I worked a toe-up flap heel (a la Wendy Johnson) instead of the short-row one as written (added a stitch to the sole needle sole to accommodate this) and then added 15 rnds of K1B, P1 ribbing as I felt they needed a cuff.

This yarn was actually the first yarn I ever bought from The Loopy Ewe.

Why not a cabled pair?

Tilted Cable Socks

Tilted Cable Socks, complete

Pattern: Tilting Cables by Chrissy Gardiner (Interweave Knits, Winter ’07)
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multiringel, Col. 5020
Needles: 2.5mm

I again knitted the foot in plain stockingette and lengthened the heel flap from 32 rows to 36 rows for my high instep.

Here’s a close up of the cables:

Tilting Cable Socks, close up

How about another stash buster pair?

Kaibashira Socks

Kaibashira Socks, complete

Pattern: Kaibashira by Chrissy Gardiner (Knotions)
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 100 Highland Color, Col. 840 (45g); Patonโ€™s Scotch 3-Ply Fingering Wool, Kelly Green (18.4g); Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro 2-ply Laceweight, Black
Needles: 2.25mm DPNs

I held the laceweight and 3-ply held together to recreate the effect of the Supersocke yarn and to bring up the gauge.

And darn it, I need a pair to go with my big ol’ grey tweed sweater…

Squares & Stripes Socks

Squares & Stripes Socks, complete

Pattern: Squares & Stripes by Chrissy Gardiner (from Lion Brand โ€œJust Socksโ€)
Yarn: Sandnes Garn Smart Superwash DK, Grey Tweed (2 balls); Mission Falls 1824 Wool, Raven (005)
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs

Enter the March Challenge and another mystery sock kal…

March Mystery Socks

March Mystery Socks, Clue 3 Complete

Pattern: SKA March Lace Mystery Sock by Kristi Schueler
Yarn: Cascade 220 Paints, Cherry Berry (9926)
Needles: 3mm DPNs (leg & heel); 3.25mm DPNs (foot)

I used the 42 stitch option & we have one more clue (the cuff) to go on these.

Did I mention that the new Spring 2009 issue of Knitty is out and fricking incredible???

I couldn’t stop myself…really!

Absinthe Socks

Absinthe Socks, Sock #1 Foot/Heel

Pattern: Absinthe socks by Sara Morris (Knitty, Spring 2009)
Yarn: Scheepjes Invicta Extra, Electric Green (discontinued)
Needles: 2.25mm

And how about some baby socks?

Sporty Striped Baby Socks

Sporty Striped Baby Socks

Pattern: 44 stitches, 2×2 rib leg, flap heel, reduced down to 40 sts for foot.
Yarn: DGB Confetti Superwash, Col. 193
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs

Yarrr!! Baby Stockings

Yarrr!! Baby Stockings

Pattern: I started out with a standard Judy’s Magic Cast-On Toe, 32 sts (3″ foot), short-row heel and worked 1.5″ of the leg in stockingette, then on a whim incorporated the central pattern from “Jack Sparrow’s Favorite Socks” by Pamela Northrup, worked 3 rounds, then did 1/2″ in 2×2 rib before binding off. Leg measures 5″ to the bottom of the heel.
Yarn: Opal Pullover & Sockenwolle (10g sample ball), unidentified colourway; Paton’s Scotch 3-ply fingering wool, Black
Needles: 2.5mm

These just crack me up to no end.

Good news? I have 29 pairs already done for the 52 Pair Plunge II ending April 31st. Bad news? I think my husband wants me fitted for a straight-jacket.

By the way, the first round of Sock Madness 3 is tomorrow (maniacal laughing…)

It wasn’t just socks I’ve been working on during this period of radio silence…

There has been sweater knitting:

Austermann Abotanicity is finally off the needles!!!!!!

Austermann Abotanicity Sweater, Complete

Pattern: Abotancity by Cassie Rovitti (Knitty, Winter ’07)
Yarn: Austermann Step, colour 06 (4 balls)
Needles: 2.75mm, 3.25mm & 3.75mm circulars

I made mine short sleeved by using 2.75mm needles and decreasing every other row to 83sts then knitting even until I hit 4โ€ and will need to put some darts in at the back as itโ€™s a little big on me.

I finished half of a mohair sweater before deciding it wasn’t working:

Swirling MIsts of Doom Sweater

(I took it off the needles, but haven’t yet pulled it apart, just in case I want to give it another go.)

And started what I’m calling my Zen Pullover:

Zen Pullover

It’s the “Rectangela” pattern from Berocco that I’m doing in Briggs & Little Heritage, Sheep’s Grey.

I mean how pretty is this?

Rectangela

There have also been dishcloths:

February Monthly KAL Cloth

Peppermint Pink Kiss Me Cloth

Pattern: Kiss Me Cloth by Lisa Milan
Yarn: Scrap Dishcloth Cotton in Pink, Bright White & Variagated Pink
Needles: 4.25mm

(It is *very* pink to my “non-pink-person” eyes, but isn’t really all that aesthetically or technically offensive.)

February Mid-Month KAL Cloth

Circle Cloth

Pattern: Circle Cloth by Hakucho
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Sage Green & Green Twist (+ a scrap of lighter green when I ran out of the sage)
Needles: 4.25mm

And the March Monthly KAL Cloth

Pot o' Gold cloth

Pattern: Pot O’ Gold Dishcloth by Emily Jagos
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, Banana Yellow
Needles: 4.25mm straights

For some reason, I decided that I immediately needed a new spring scarf to go with my green Levi’s jacket and after a stash dive, came up with this:

Grizabella Scarf

Grizabella Scarf

Pattern: Wear-as-a-Collar Scarf by Sally Melville (from Scarf Style)
Yarn: 3 Novelty yarns from stash (your guess is as good as mine)
Needles: 6.5mm straights

I am thoroughly surprised at how much I actually like it, for a novelty yarn scarf.

There has been crochet:

March Squares for the 2009 Sampler Afghan

March Squares

Pattern: March Square by Julie A. Bolduc
Yarn: Chunky Homespun from frogged Equadorian Sweaters
Hook: 8mm

Thoroughly by accident, I stumbled upon a crocheted lace shawl mystery CAL and one “ooh shiny” moment later had this done:

Dogwoods in Spring Mystery Shawl

Dogwoods in Spring Mystery Shawl

Pattern: Laceweight Mystery Shawl 2009 by Tracey McCorkle
Yarn: SouthMaid Mercerized Crochet Thread, Size 20 (White)
Hook: 3.5mm

which I took apart and re-did yesterday in some ancient 2-ply wool from the stash because the mercerized cotton was playing hell with my hands.

Dogwoods in Spring, take 2

I plan on handpainting this shawl when it’s done.

And talking about shawls…

Last post I mentioned Mystic Star and how I wouldn’t start it until after the other ones were done.

Yeah. Then I saw a gorgeous clue 1 done in midnight blue accented with clear beads on Ravelry.

In the span of 3 hours this happened:

These

French 2-ply laceweight

went in here

Dying laceweight

to look like this

Rit dyed laceweight wool

and a bit of a blow-dry later, became this:

Mystic Star, clue 1

It now looks like this:

Mystic Star, clue 3

I just have clue 4 to finish and it’s done. Stunning.

(I also signed up for Mystic Roses, but honestly won’t be starting that one for a while – it’s the same size as Mystic Waters & I don’t have the yarn for it at the moment.)

It just goes to show you what happens to a knitter when you limit his/her internet useage!

In other news, my extremely wonderful & talented friend Silver Pheonix from over on Plurk & I will be meeting up in Toronto for a bit of a takeover yarn crawl on Friday. You have been warned. (Muahahahahaha)

Sock Madness and David within a 24hrs of each other. Be afraid, be very afraid. (I can’t wait ๐Ÿ˜€ )