Friday, January 30, 2009

All the rage: All the water

All the Water Mittens by KK
There seems to be a bit of a craze sweeping the nation at the moment, a whirlwind of activity that can only be described as a mitten maelstrom. I am feeling its pull for sure as I have cast on for two pair this week. I believe that Ms. Through-The-Loops is personally responsible for much of this mania--have you been checking out her designs recently? I'm getting exhausted just thinking about all the work she's doing. She is quite the force of nature...
All the Water Mittens by KK
All the Water Mittens by KK
The Specs:
Pattern: All the Water by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Cascade 220 Quattro in 'Tahiti', almost one full skein. This yarn was just an ok choice--I think I've been spoiled by the softness of a certain other yarn, but I was resolved to knit it up because I'm trying to keep with my whole 'knit what I just bought' drill.
Needles: Size 7 HiyaHiya
Mods: None at all except for the flake out moments when I muffed up the cables. Pay attention much?
Postwar Mittens in Baby Ull
I am cautiously optimistic that I will have the juice to finish the other pair I cast on for: the Postwar mittens. These mittens stopped me dead in my tracks when I first saw them due to their extreme visual appeal, however the small dpns are becoming too fiddly and I just might have to Magic Loop these in order to deal--a shame because I had opted to use wooden needles because of the warmth and tactile pleasure of the wood. I am hoping that this switch will prevent my élan from fizzling out...the last thing anyone needs is a project that feels like a chore, right?

I know that my next mittens will be another Kapur Kreation: Breathe Deep, people! And for these I will be breaking out the you-know-what (almost rhymes with impetigo)...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Go Big or Go Home: The Pom Pom of Death Version

Snowball Hat in Malabrigo Apple Green
A color as truly insane as Malabrigo 'Apple Green' demands a lot: a perfect pattern that will take full advantage of its rad chromatic stylings without veering off into complete clownishness, a recipient armed with enough self-confidence to make a bold statement, and of course, one big-ass pom pom. To go any smaller than the pom you see pictured here would have been a disservice.
Snowball Hat in Malabrigo Apple Green
Luckily for me Peeper-lou needed a hat for ski club! I had been wanting to make a variation of this hat ever since seeing the last episode of Sex and the City (the one where Carrie was wandering all alone around Paris *sniff*) in which our heroine sported the cutest joli-laid cabled hat ever. I looked long and hard for a picture to copy, but to no avail. The Fall 07 of Interweave Knits arrived several months later, and I knew that making this hat was my destiny. Seeing Pam's version about a month ago sent me into further paroxysms of delight, and the deal was sealed.
Snowball Hat in Malabrigo Apple Green
The Specs:
Pattern: Snowball Hat by Katie Himmelberg, IK FA 07.
Yarn: Malabrigo worsted in 'Green Apple'. Thanks again for this yarn, Jodi!!
Needles: Size 7
Time: a day or two with time off to contemplate the pom.

You might recall that Jodi sent me two skeins of this yarn, and I hoping that by the end of the week I'll have another Scrunchable to add to my collection...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mellow Yellow

Scrunchable Scarf in Malabrigo 'Butter'
The words of Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction at the inauguration and his wish for a day when 'yellow could be mellow' are still ringing in my ears. Mellow yellow--I am already there, Reverend.
Scrunchable Scarf in Malabrigo 'Butter'
I started this Scrunchable Scarf last March, and it wasn't until Earthchick reminded of this pattern that I decided to pick it up and finish it. Such a great pattern--you could practically knit this while driving, if you were so inclined...

Scrunchable Scarf in Malabrigo 'Butter'
The Specs:
Pattern: Scrunchable Scarf by Susan McConne
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Butter. Has a yarn ever been more aptly named?
Needles: Size 10
Verdict: Love it! I have another one on the needles at the moment as well in the crazy Apple Green and it is going to be a stunner for sure.

Malabrigo Silky Merino in 'Narciso'

Today I acquired what might be the ultimate yellow--Malabrigo Silky Merino in 'Narciso' (pictured above). I stand in awe of its yellow beauty and am determined to make this my next shawl. Isn't it amazing?

I am starting to recognize something about my stash habits that is quite valuable--I have realized that I like to knit whatever yarn I have just purchased. There is a window sill in our living room that has gradually become a holding tank for my recently purchased yarn. After a few months in this spot, yarn that has failed to spark my interest is most likely to be carted away to the stash on the third floor and likely not see the light of day for a very, very long time. This bothers me because a. it is a waste of money and yarn, b. makes me feel like a glutton and c. just seems like something a crazy person with spending issues would do (dingdingding for all of the above!!). So I'm thinking about something radical, like getting rid of my entire upstairs stash except for a few choice skeins of this 'n that and sticking to the yarn on the window sill.

I think I am the kind of knitter that was meant to not have a stash.

Perhaps fantasizing about getting rid of one's stash is in fact part of the sickness. Is this idea deeply nutty?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Turn-A-Square, or two...

Thanks to all of you that gave me the many recs for what to do with two skeins in Malabrigo in Apple Green. I learned about so many new patterns and have queued many of them. In the end, Earthchick and her Scrunchable Scarf suggestion have carried the day. Thanks Stacey!

Turn-A-Square x 2

I am, at bottom, a hat knitter. I just really can never have too many hats at my disposal--I even made a little private (pointless?) vow to wear a different hat to campus every day this month. And since I am teaching a M-W-F schedule plus a day for advising and other duties, that's 16. Well I have just increased my chances of realizing my secret plan by two, as I proudly add these two darlings into the rotation:

Turn-A-Square x 2

This is the perfect project that helps you remember what you loved about the Noro in the first place. The sheen of the Cash Iroha + the tripped-out color changes of the Silk Garden = extreme hat joy. Their gauges are spot on with one another and so pairing them together is a cinch. Think of this combo as the Garanimals of the yarn world. I am now crestfallen as finding that link has caused me to discover that this brand is now sold only at Satan's Lair, i.e. Walmart. Is nothing sacred? Is the world of my youth completely gone?

Turn-A-Square #1

The Specs
Pattern: Turn-A-Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Hat #1 (light green), Silk Garden #242 and Cash Iroha #106; Hat #2 (dark green), Silk Garden #255 and Cash Iroha #100.
Needles; Size 6 and 7, HiyaHiya circs.
Time: Each hat takes basically two days of leisurely knitting, with time off for other projects. Check the name of the blog, people.

I could have easily entitled this post 'What a difference a green makes', as the two greens here couldn't be more dissimilar. On the skein I much prefer the lighter shade, but knitted up I can see that the darker shade has its merits as well. Different strokes and all that...

Turn-A-Square #2

One of the most appealing aspects of this project is that it introduced me to the jogless stripes technique. Umm HELLO where have you been all my life, jogless stripes technique? I can't believe I had never tried this or heard about it. It has improved the joins to the point that you almost don't see them. Man I wish I had this technique back when I was doing the Kauni cardi and was getting trashed on the Ravelry discussion board for trying to not make a cardigan and proposed knitting it in the round. But what about the jogs?!!! The board became alarmed, my knowledge was questioned. Humiliated and shamed, I gave up. But if I would have had this technique maybe I could have triumphed over the Rav trolls. Whatevs.

This is a great pattern, and I hope to make bunch more, just not now. Tiennie, how do you do it?

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Series of Small Knitted Accessories Not Made of Malabrigo, and a teeny giveaway

Darkside Cowl in Artyarns Supermerino

While inspecting my stash (Rav link here, don't judge me) I noticed that before I had my head turned by the sexy Malabrigo, there were many other yarns that caught my fancy--so why not knit them up or something? There are worse fates in life than having to knit the yarn you bought on a lark, right? Luckily this is where the cowl becomes a stash bloated knitter's best friend. So all purpose and ready for action. First up...Darkside Cowl in Artyarns Supermerino!

Darkside Cowl in Artyarns Supermerino

The Specs:
Pattern: The Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino, #133, 1 skein
Needles: Size 6

Darkside Cowl in Artyarns Supermerino

I have a major love-hate with variegated yarns (hence the whole Malabrigo obsession to begin with. Don't the stitches just pop ever so perfectly?), and the variegation on this cowl is just the right amount and is almost on the verge of annoying me, but in the end, it doesn't. The pattern is very quick and make a really nice, elastic fabric.

I seem to have a real thing for the Noro as well and was happy to discover in the above-mentioned stash (still not judging, remember?) more than a few skeins of Cash Iroha. Fourteen of these skeins are set aside for an Hourglass sweater-- Babs has banned me from mentioning this sweater, but just say the word Babs and the Hourglass is ON--but there are several other random colors that seem very cowl worthy.

Stacked Eyelet Cowl in Cash Iroha

The Specs:
Pattern: Stacked Eyelet Cowl by Ami Madison, modeled by the Curmudgeon.
Yarn: Cash Iroha, #110, 1.5 skeins
Needles: Size 6

Stacked Eyelet Cowl in Cash Iroha

This pattern is really a gem, a classic cowl for sure. Cash Iroha, your silkiness to too much to resist, however your yardage, well, it's no Malabrigo, that's for sure. Sigh.

Stacked Eyelet Cowl in Cash Iroha

This non-Malabrigo kick is destined to fail, I can see. To that end, look what the giant sweetheart of a knitter Jodi sent me in the mail, all because I said I liked the color:

Malabrigo in Apple Green

Can you believe it? Two skeins! Such a nice surprise. Since I have been on a one skein kick recently, no patterns are immediately coming to mind. Any ideas? Suggest a good pattern and I will have Peeper-Lou draw a name and send you a skein of the Artyarns Supermerino pictured above. Let's pay it forward, people. I'll shut the whole thing down around noon on Tuesday. It's all gimmicks, all the time around this joint. Suggest away!

Monday, January 05, 2009


Pagewood Farms St. Elias
You all are too sweet--I appreciate the kind words regarding my dad and I am so glad to know that you have my back in the 'paybacks' department. Many of you expressed concern that the Curmudgeon had not adequately paid his debt to society and had somehow gotten off easy at Needlework Unlimited with the measly Jitterbug and J.Knits purchase. Fear not! This girl took your words to heart. Before leaving the Twin Cities, I high tailed it over to St. Paul to the Yarnery and picked up the three skeins of my new bff, Pagewood Farms St. Elias sock yarn (pictured above). This yarn is so utterly gorgeous that I might even cast on a pair of socks right away--yes, it's
that good.
Kiri in 1855 Fiber Company Alpaca-Merino
I am very pleased to note that Kiri is finished and in the can. Is there anything more satisfying than blocking a shawl? To watch it unfurl, inspect it in its final form and look out on the great expanse of it and think that over series of weeks that you somehow managed to follow the pattern and made that gigantic thing, well, that's quite a feeling, isn't it? I strongly recommend this pattern--at any given moment, you always know where you are. This might be the case with other shawl patterns and I have just revealed my shawl ineptitude, but Kiri is by no means intricate and thus very likely to not lead you astray... Thanks to Ashley for suggesting this pattern--as usual her recommendation was spot on!
Kiri in 1855 Fiber Company Alpaca-Merino
The Specs:
Pattern : Kiri by Polly Outhwaite
Yarn: 1855 Fiber Company Alpaca Merino. Three skeins in 'Sweet Pea'. I purchased this yarn at Maryland Sheep and Wool this past May and since I am hell bent on knitting all of the yarn purchased at that event, it was a good choice for this pattern and allows me to continue with my 'knitting shawls out of counter-intuitive fibers' drill.
Time: October to January, off and on.
Kiri in 1855 Fiber Company Alpaca-Merino

My next knitting endeavor is going to truly blow your minds. The teaser title : A Series of Small Knitted Accessories Not Made Out Of Malabrigo...