Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I am coming to terms with the fact that the year is quickly drawing to an end, and I have finished very little knitting. I have started a handful of projects, swatched a lot, but haven't actually finished much of anything all year. I believe I have joined the denizens of fiber fanatics, those who covet the touch, look and smell of good yarn just as much as the process of actually knitting with it. For you see, my stash has grown exorbitantly this past year, despite the lack of actual knitting. This used to bother me, but I think I have made peace with my inner fiber addict. I will let her roam as much as my bank account will permit, and in exchange, maybe she will let me spend a bit more time knitting in 2007. This is, I believe, a fair exchange, and I am hopeful about our future together.

My disgust at my lack of finished projects has prevented me for posting in a long time.....I was waiting for an actual FO. Then, when I finally managed to cast off on a baby blanket I made for my boyfriend's grandson, I forgot to take pictures! GRRRR!! We are joining said grandson and his family for a Thanksgiving breakfast, so I am hoping to snag a few pics of him and his new blankie at that time. It really is a wonderful blankie fabric, knitted in a ripple pattern with Sidar's Snowflake Chunky Magic, in a pale blue and white self-striping polyester chenille-like yarn that is the cushiest yarn I have ever felt that happens to be 100% machine washable. The PERFECT baby blanket yarn, especially for the mom who will not handwash anything. Say tuned for more regular updates....

Friday, June 23, 2006

Color Diet

Despite my best laid plans to stop accumulating yarn, I have managed somehow to come into possession of several more sock yarns. All this winding of skeins into neat little center-pull balls on my nosti has become a bit awkward, so I finally invested in an umbrella swift. Gosh, I wish I had this all along! It makes things so much easier and the whole process smoother. Modeled on my lovely swift is Lynette sock yarn from Ruby Sapphire Yarns, in dark and dusty shades of purple and green. I went a little wild and bought three skeins of sock yarn from Ruby Sapphire. Alex is real purty shades of green, while Angel is a mix of golden browns. Ah, to be drenched in a mist of fine color.....

I also acquired two skeins of sock yarn from It's A Colorful Life, Baby Girl and Cool Ocean. These will make such nice summer socks! For next summer, of course, as I am collecting yarns so much faster than I can knit them. But I have put myself on an official yarn diet. I have decided to partake in the festivities of Stitches Midwest this August, and I am starting to save up for it now. I am looking forward to spending too much and getting beautiful yarns. I will probably be able to make it to August without buying more yarns only by fondling my current stash frequently, letting the waves of color wash over and restore me. Food may fuel the body, but color feeds the soul!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Yes, I'm finally knitting.....

I am finally spending more time actually knitting rather than buying yarn and books and just reading about knitting!

I have returned to the "Easter" Crusoe sock that did not fit, and have a couple inches of the reknitted foot done on that. It is so painful to frog! Here's proof that I am actually back working on this, my personal albatross of spring:

Also, I am working on the Besotted Scarf, mostly while being driven around town, or while watching movies with my sweetie. I find that it's easy knitting and doesn't take a lot of concentration. I really do not think the yarn I'm using gives enough definition to the cables, but my guy thinks it is just fine and it's his scarf, so I'm prodding ahead. The colors are real nice and it's fairly soft, too. If anyone comments on the somewhat fuzzy Xs and Os, I will simply inform them that it's a semi-Besotted scarf - all the love, only partial public demonstration.

Despite my troubles with Crusoe and fingering sock yarn, my passion for hand knitted socks goes unabated. I joined the Yahoo group For The Love Of Socks and have begun one of the two chosen patterns, the Aran Braid socks. My first attempt was with some beautifully tweedy yarn from Garn Studio, called Silke-Tweed. It is 52% silk and 48% Lambswool, and is a dark oatmeal and cream color. I really liked the idea of doing an aran braid in this yarn, made me think of the British Isles and native knitting traditions and colonialization and all that sort of thing. But as you can see in the first photo, the tweed obliterates the visibility of the braid at this scale. Sigh. I mean, can you even tell there's a braid in there? Really, it's there, has five ribs and everything. Quite lovely in person, if you hold it up to your nose and squint rather hard...
This yarn will resurface in a lace sock pattern at a later date. For now, I am sticking to the pattern but I have switched to perhaps another dubious choice - when will I ever learn? This second photo is Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece, in Putty. It's sort of splitty for socks (using size 0 dpns to get gaugue) and they will be thicker socks, but I am loving it anyhow, so there! The 80% cotton, 20% wool will breathe nicely I think, and the braid is showing lovely this time. Onward!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Non-Silicone Enhancements

OK, I promised to tell you all about my stash enhancements, so here goes! Last week my sweetie took me to The Fold, a place I have been itching to visit for some time now. Unfortunately, my timing was off and I missed the proprietor, Toni, along with many skeins of the oft coveted Socks That Rock sock yarn. They were off at the Maryland Wool Festival. However, there was a decent selection still at the shop, and I happily chose the Torridon colorway in medium weight. I was attracted to the unusual color combinations, golds, browns, and lilac, with hints of soft blues and greens. Imagine my surprise at finding how similar it is to some Regia Canadian Color, #4731 I bought several months ago! Sure, the Regia is thinner and a bit more subdued, but the colors are conspicuously similar. Sigh. I wanted my STR to be something really different, something special. Apparently, I am attracted to these colors together.

But STR wasn't the only goody brought home from The Fold, oh no. I was elated to find a nostepinne that really spoke to me. I have always been attracted to quality woods, and wood grain patterns fascinate me to this day. I wanted a nosti that was asthetically pleasing as well as functional, and I found one. It's English ash and made by Avi Wasserman. Here you can see it resting from hard work, lying on a bed of llama yarn I bought off eBay from Sandstone Ranch. Ahhhh...

STR, a new nosti, what else could a girl want? Well, I also managed to escape holding a skein of Chinese merino laceweight in a real purty deep grey/brown color. It's great stuff and feels softer than merino to me. I also bought a skein of Blue Blue Fiber Arts' "Seduction" yarn in the Samhain colorway. Blue Moon, incidentally, is the same place that bring us STR. They have gorgeous colors and fabulous yarns, and The Fold has quite a selection. Seduction is a merino/tencel blend that has a great hand and an awesome sheen. I have read good things about tencel, and they are all true. Silky in appearance but easier to clean. YUM. This will make an amazing dressy scarf, in autumny colors of dusty green, gold, brown, and redwood.

I did put back the green yak yarn I had been petting, but only because I was not sure what I would do with it. Still not sure, but I'm wishing I had gotten it anyway. Note to self for next trip to Marengo, IL - buy yak yarn. Nice and soft, and how often do you get to wear yak in Chicago?!?

That about sums up my acquistions from the Fold. Later I will show you some of the books I have been acquiring. I believe I now have all the basics I will ever need....cough cough. A pack rat at heart, I am. I am sure that having everything I could ever really need will not stop me from buying more!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Scarf Stuff

This last month I have spent more time in stash enhancement than I have knitting. The Irish Hiking scarf is finished - woo hoo! My dear father tried to claim it but I patiently explained that there was no way he's ever going to get it. From the beginning, I knew this one would be for me. I was surprised he thought the jewel tones were masculine, I never would have picked that yarn for a guy. I may even get more of that yarn if he really wants it enough, but I think everyone else will assume he borrowed it from a lady friend!

Since this one went so well, I have started yet another scarf from Hello Yarns, the Besotted Scarf. Needless to say, this one is going to my guy. I am using a yarn that my beloved has been eying fondly, a wool/alpaca blend imported by Joseph Galler labelled Musarde. It is a bit fuzzy but the pattern does still show...I've only done a couple pattern repeats and am going to show it to aforementioned beloved to see what he thinks. His scarf, his choice. Perhaps I will change the pattern but still use the yarn he likes so much.
The so-called Easter sock hasn't faired so well. I finished the first sock only to decide that it really was too tight. I have weird feet and why add to the problem? It was painful, but I frogged back to the heel flap. I have finished the heel, making fewer decreases. The leg fitted fine so there was no need to frog that. But I need a wider foot. I figure that getting this right will give me the formula I need to make more great fitting socks in my future. Still, it was discouraging, so I haven't gotten much done. I will be returning to that this week.

Since I really don't have much to report knitting wise, let me entertain you with tales of my stash enhancement. That is where my time has been going these days. So, this week I will make several entries showing you all the goodies I have been getting!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Best Laid Plans

Aw, phooey! My knitting seems to have taken a spring break as of late. Of course, that would happen right after I start this blog and all. I just can't seem to find the time to get anything done lately. Yesterday we finished our yearly inventory at the store where I work, so maybe now I can get some personal work done. I did finish one of my Easter socks, but I am unhappy with the fit. This is my first fingerling weight sock and I think I need to start with more stitches at this guage. It is wearable but would be much nicer a bit bigger, so I am in the process of experimenting. The leg and ankle feel fine but the foot is too snug. I am undecided as to whether if I make the leg a big looser, if it will still fit well there. So, I doubt if the second sock will get done for Easter. Easter, which is in five days. Gulp. Which is just as well, as I am not doing the big family gathering this year. Instead, my guy and his son and I are probably going to cook a small homey meal for ourselves and just kick back and enjoy the day. Won't be conventional Easter fare, either, there's been talk of my Swedish meatballs LOL. Maybe I'll get in some knitting while they watch whatever game is on the tube.

As for the Irish Hiking scarf, I did get the additional Karaoke yarn in record time. I can highly recommend the Yarn Grove. Besides my two skeins of yarn, I received two free patterns and swatches to all the yarns they carry. Excellent customer service! Unfortunately, I really haven't picked up the scarf since I got the yarn. I have the next two days off work and am starting to question...do I work on organizing my craft stuff from my move or do I knit? Sigh. Sometimes it's hard being a grown up.

The one thing I did do this last week was to go to see Wicked at the Oriental Theater in downtown Chicago. Simply magical. And since I work for a bunch of flying monkeys, I could relate. The costuming and scenery were fantastic, true eye candy. It was a birthday present from my aunt, who spent a good part of a week online last November before acquiring tickets at a reasonable price. Thanks, auntie! It was the best.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Karaoke Conundrums

Well, the Irish Hiking scarf is definately a quick knit, don't know why I believed that cables would be some sort of challenge, and everyone is just bowed over by the beautiful Karaoke yarn. Problem is, that durn cable pattern is eating up all my yarn! I had three skeins and I am sorry, but that just ain't enough. To make matters worse, when starting a new skein, I lose a significant amount of yarn getting the colors to flow properly. Arrrggg. I like most of my scarves shorter than is fashionable now, but this one I think I'll make longer than my usual. Ah, live and learn. Of course, after calling nearly every yarn store in the greater Chicago area, I cannot find anyone who has this in stock. So, in the wee hours of the night/morn, I got online and searched for some more. I ended up buying not one but two more skeins online from the Yarn Grove. So far I am impressed -- 25 cents less than anyone else per skein and free shipping in the US. And, they already shipped it out, less than 12 hours after my order. So, no finished project here. Yet. But when it gets here, I'll get it done quickly. Really. No, I promise!

So, it's back to the Easter socks for me. I'm running out of time.....ah, to be a stay at home housewife......wish I could just not go to work. Rather be at home knitting!! And I work in a craft store LOL!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

WIPs and Chains

Cable chains, that is. More on those later.

This last week has been an exciting one for stash development but a slow one for accomplishment. I got a couple more yarns in the mail - yes, I am on a buying spree and must stop soon - and the amazing Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. Over the weekend I realized I did not finish any knitting projects in February, and here we are past the Ides of March and still none. I haven't gone this long without finishing a project since I started knitting last year! After feeling a little down about it, I realized that all my Works In Progress are in laceweight or fingering yarns. I put the seaman's scarf down to start a lace bed jacket for the Knitting Olympics, and then put that project down when I realized I couldn't possibly finish on time. I felt too dejected to look at it for a while, I guess. So I started another pair of socks. Nothing sane like going back to the seaman's scarf for me, oh no. I need a pretty pair of socks for Easter, don't I? Three projects, thinner yarns, more stitches - no wonder I haven't finished anything! So I'm working on the socks these days - I really do plan on wearing them on Easter. I am using a Russian sock yarn I bought off eBay - not the softest but it'll do, and the colors just scream Springtime. I started with the Crusoe socks at knitty.com, but lost interest quickly. I want to know what the designer was smoking when she calculated her gauge. 6 stitches of Koigu to the inch? For socks?!? Please. So I am using the basic pattern found at cometosilver.com and doing the leg and instep in the stranded stitch of Crusoe. I even kept Crusoe's rolled hem, but that's all. My yarn is similar to Koigu in thickness, and I am using four size 1 metal dpns to get 9 stitches per inch in stockinette. So, it's slow and steady work, but I love the results.

Just to satisfy my pressing urge for quicker completion of something, I started the Irish Hiking Scarf in SWTC's Karaoke yarn in the #278 (Mermaid) colorway. I cannot fully describe the beauty of this yarn! It is a worsted weight wool and soy silk blend with a lovely hand. Also, the colors gradually blend into each other over long sections, rather than changing suddenly in stark stripes. This is also my first cable work, so I am very pleased to find that it is an easy knit. And fast, too. This might be done by the end of the week. I am using size 6 metal needles and my scarf is five and a half inches wide.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Woo-hoo for Socks!!

All I can say is, "Wow!" Yesterday I got in the mail not one but two packages of sock yarn. The first package was my first ever skein of Opal, in the brand new Petticoat line. I love it! Very soft and pretty colors. Lookie here:

The second package contained yarns for 10 different pairs of socks from KnitPicks:

There are some beauties in here. I got Dancing in Tap, Swing, and Jig. That's a great cotton/wool/nylon/elastic blend. These yarns are eventually being discontinued, so I wanted to get my share before that happens. Everything else is merino wool. I got Sock Garden in Hollyberry and Daffodil. I think the Hollyberry will make amazing Christmas socks. I also got Memories in Rocky Mountain Dusk and Fly Fishing. Purples and greens are among my favorite color schemes, so these will be fun to knit up. I bought a skein of black Essentials (superwash with nylon) to use in a mosaic pattern with a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepard's Sock in Bittersweet that I already have. Lastly, I got two skeins of the Color Your Own (not pictured) so I can further experiment with KoolAid dying. I've dyed solids with KoolAid, but next I want to try handpainting my own varigated colorways. Looks like I have many sock knitting days ahead of me!!!

In The Beginning

It has been one year since I learned to knit, and my life will never be the same. I find that in order to communicate my travels to all interested souls I must indulge in a blog. I am not scared of the technology, only the learning curve, so bear with me! I will take you through my stash, my projects, and my knitting world. I hope you enjoy the ride. So, pull up a comfy chair, make a nice cup of jasmine tea, and relax. Dark chocolate is optional but highly recommended.