Monday, October 30, 2006

Best F.O. EVER!!

This here is without a doubt my best knitted garment (that is not a sock or wrist warmer, which is incidentally a bizarre item indeed, and caused the DRMC to say that I looked liked 'the Artful Dodger', but let's move on) ever. The Klaralund is a perfect example of a project that you grow so sick of, you put it away far out of sight, even though you only have--get this--5 inches of one sleeve to finish. Yes, this was my Knitting Olympics project, and you'll notice that I proudly display the Gold medal nowhere on my blog!! In any case, a few weeks ago I decided to pick this baby back up and knock it out.

Now, I cannot take all the credit, as my best pal Babs' mom, Big Babs, did the finishing on it....yes, you knew there had to be a catch somewhere, right? She did a phenomenal job. I went over to knit with the two Babses, who are the most fun knitters anywhere to hang out with--you enjoy their conversation so much that you forget you have a family and stay for hours and hours, and also to have her show me proper finishing techniques. Now, most people who know me will say 'Oh, right, once again trying to manipulate others with abusive emotional passive/agressive techniques into doing things for her', but I SWEAR that my primary aim was for her to show me, which she did...and then she offered to do it for me....and I am very, very happy with the end result and thank her again for her lovely work that is allowing me to sport my Klaralund with pride. Thanks Bib Babs ! And thanks Little Babs for lending her to me!;)
I did it out of Noro Silk Garden #84, which is a beautiful yarn. My only complaint about this pattern is that the errata sheet contains some pretty serious modifications, like, you need about 4 more balls of yarn than the pattern calls for. After I busted a** trying to obtain the same colorway, dye lot, etc., I finished the sweater only to discover that I had 5 balls of yarn left over. I have found that patterns tend to overstate the amount of yarn needed, or maybe I am a tight knitter. In any case I am very happy with my Klaralund as it is the perfect combination of japanese-swedish ingenuity!
This 9 month delaying technique was sort of perfect in that it allowed me to experience the thrill of finishing something with only a 1/2 day's worth of toil. Picking it up again makes me wonder what my problem was in the first place. I have a lot of projects in the delayed finishing queue, waiting to experience the last several hours of work that will transform them...Green Gable, there's hope for you yet!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fetching cont'd

This pair of Fetching is brought to you courtesy of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, a luxurious blend of wool, cashmere and silk. Luckily I happen to have a ton of this stuff in my stash, and I can eek a pair out of just one ball. I am loving this pattern and am planning on making this my default Christmas gift for one and all. This weekend my peeps and I went to Pittsburgh and I finally got my grubby little hands on the yarn that this phat (sorry, my kids were watching Yo Mama! on MTV) pattern was intended for, some killer Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and it was 35% off to boot!
When I was there I also picked up my newest fetish object--Blue Sky Alpacs 5" DPNS! From the moment I laid eyes on them I knew that they would be mine all mine (insert Lon Chaney Halloween laughter here). What was it about them you ask? Was it the special handy decorative tin with alpaca motifs and Taj Mahal designs on it? Was it the fact that they've been featured in every even slightly hip knitting mag this season? Was it the soft, sleek wood? Their diminutive stature? Was it their shocking price? (I won't reveal the actual number as the DRMC does read this blog from time to time and while he would be all in favor of the free trade practices of the company--these needles are "made in India by people who are treated well and fairly", he would faint at the price, let's just say they're the Colinette of the knitting needle world --wink wink!) Yes, it's all of those things. And they are the best dpns I've ever had the pleasure of using and now I want them in every size. Yes I always was a bit of a Veruca Salt type. Anyway, I am working on my third pair of Fetching in the DB Cashmerino on them and it is by far the most enjoyable pair so far. The gauge is smaller and the stitches have great definition. If you are experiencing a lull between projects I am strongly recommending this one, it's so fast and the payout is satisfying. I will be moving on to bigger things soon, like finishing the Top Down Cardi for the above-mentioned Marxist, but for the time being I am really enjoy these as they're making me feel like the kind of knitter that often finishes things...

Sunday, October 15, 2006


When this pattern came out in the summer Knitty I couldn't have been less interested. However a combination of the chill in the October air and reading other people's blogs has given me a serious attack of the lemmings and so I just had to try Fetching. The directions state that you can get the yarn after work on Friday and by Monday morning have a nifty pair of hand warmers for your Monday commute. I did indeed get the yarn after work on Friday (ok, out of my stash, but still!) and these little beauties are ready to go for tomorrow's commute! I used some Classic Elite Lush #4415 that I got on remainder last spring at Purl and that I'd completely forgotten about. I really enjoyed this pattern a lot, although the thumb was slightly tricky. I somehow need to figure out how to do this better on the next pair. On the left hand I stupidly did a knit cast on: You'll notice that it's curling at the bottom, hopefully blocking will take care of that. I did the recommended cable cast on (which happens to be my favorite cast on anyway) on the right hand and you can see what a nice edge it gives. Live and learn to read the directions more closely is the take home message... I love this pattern and can't wait to try it in the recommended Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blue Ribbon, yee-haw!!

Let me just say right up front that I positively live for any type of competition. If the opportunity exists to beat someone else out, rip their heart out of the their tiny chest and stomp on it, well, I am so there. Much of this intense desire to win comes from several foundational moments in my childhood and adolescence.
1. Coming in dead-last in every event at Field Day in elementary school, and feeling so ashamed about it that I brought home the 'participant' ribbon and telling my parents that "I won". Yes, how sad.
2. Never being the top seller of anything, EVER. Mainly because I hate selling things. But still.
3. Making it all the way to the finals of the Minnesota State High School French contest. Grand Prize: trip to France! Blanking out on stage in front of at least 500 people, forgetting lines of Jacques Prévert poem and suffering utter and complete humiliation. Added bonus: getting beat out by the &*!$*&^* drama people, you know, those over-achieving over-actors that feel they must participate in any possible performance, even if they don't even particularly LIKE French in order to showcase their thespian ways...bitter much?
4. My family inexplicably winning a year's worth of Clark Candy bars when I was about 11. This meant that for one year every day after school, my brother and I ate about 7 each of these things. I know this seems like winning, but trust me, this had negative outcomes on the waistline and kept me in husky jeans throughout junior high.

Yes, these events have turned me into one twisted sister. But all I can say is this: Today the losing stops, because I am a blue ribbon winner. My hat won first place at our local community farm show! Yes, I beat out crocheted toilet roll dolls and kleenex box covers and brought home the bacon. So exciting. My prizewinnings top an impressive $4.

This was my first forray into the world of the community farm show, and let me tell you, it's serious business. People get VERY wrapped up in it. There are people there that you didn't even know existed in your town until seeing them set up their displays of giant gourds and preserved beets. I am not making fun of this event, but it was not at all anything I have ever experienced. I happen to know of two personal relationships that have disintegrated as a result of unhappy outcomes in the judging. These people are not fooling around, and even though my category was nowhere near as competitive as the Angel Food contest, I am still holding on to that ribbon for a long time!

Monday, October 02, 2006

A new fall romance

I have always loved the change of seasons, and perhaps no season augers better for knitters than fall. I am loving the new projects I've been working on and am so relieved to put some of those dastardly summer projects away. Green Gable, you were a gas for about 3 weeks in July, but frankly the romance is over and we'll have to pick up where we left off next spring--seeya! Ditto for you Lisa Knits Ribbed Shell. You're offically on ice and out of the rotation. Casting aside these erstwhile projects has given me time to devote to more long standing relationships. During the past several weeks I've rekindled my affair with Klaralund (where there's only remaining about 5 inches on one sleeve) and last year's Christmas sleeve is now a full-grown sweater, just delivered today to the finisher. Yes, I am an aristocrat... No seaming for me! I am really excited about my newest technique--Fair Isle knitting. I took a class at my LYS on Friday and made both hats over the weekend--yes, I said both hats. Both are in Peer Gynt, that retro Scandihoovian classic yarn that has not changed its label in about 50 years. Need less to say I am gaga over Fair Isle. I know that part of my interest stems from the fact that my great aunt owned a yarn shop in Manchester, England and was supposedly a master Fair Isle knitter. My mom says that as a child she remembers sitting at her feet watching her work all of those different strands without looking at her hands. In any case, I feel like suddenly my brain has opened up and knitting is brand new again. We learned the Philosopher's Wool yarn technique, which requires your left hand to knit Continental and your right hand to knit English. Sounds kooky, huh? At first knitting continental felt like driving on the wrong side of the road, but now I am in love with it. Out teacher was so patient and her kindness reminds me of one of the things I like best about knitting--the transmission of knowledge that happens between knitters. I enjoy being part of that. As you can see, I'm super excited about this new development and I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I become a major Kaffe Fassett hag.