Friday, September 28, 2007

Shedir, Betch!

Between spending the last few days obsessively watching 'Kelly' videos on Youtube (Text Message Break-up
to be precise. Yes, I'm 13.) and getting my act together for the Mirepoix kal (Louet Gems? Check. Pattern? Check. Needles? Oops...), I have managed to finish Shedir, a hat which is nothing short of a sheer delight. This project required two solid weekends of don't-talk-to-me-I'm-busy knitting as there is a fair bit of attentiveness required. I love the pattern and have been marveling at this little gem ever since finishing it. The Rowan Calmer is a true fetish yarn, and I already have a dirty little attachment to it. It is so soft and cloud-like...
The Specs:
Pattern: Shedir, Knitty Special Issue Fall 04
Yarn: Calmer in sh487 'Refresh'. 1 ball exactly with none to spare!
Needles: Size 3 circs
Louet Gems for the Mirepoix!
Next up for me (after finishing le Clapotis, bien sûr!) is the Mirepoix. Doveknits jokingly wondered in a recent comment if I'm 'in enough kals already'. . . A valid question, as I seem to be joining them left and right. I am indeed a joiner par excellence. I mean, yes the Silver Belle is in the attic far from my sight and I will probably pick it up again in 11 years or so when Alzheimer's is in full swing and I'll have some vague recollection that I used to be a crocheter, but until then, hey, I'm staying in the kal, you know, to give the impression of actually working on the project.

Exciting news: Babs has a blog now! Please welcome Purlfriend to our ranks. She's the knitter who taught me everything I know, except the bad habits, which I picked up all on my very own. Her mom, Big Babs, is also an amazing knitter herself. They are the real deal. Her first post is hilarious, check her out!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Power of Suggestion

I just love the Internet. I really do--because it has proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt the sheer force of the power of suggestion. Who needs a behavioral psychology lab to tell you that if you see something, you will want it. B.F. Skinner would have delighted in the utter predictability of my stimulus/response mechanism. My mother always jokes that for my dad and me, need and want are collapsed into the same thing. And she is so right! Somewhere right now there's a former Soviet scientist from a top secret lab who is keeping tabs on my Internet clicks and is recording data about how all that needs to happen is for me to see a project on Ravelry for me to add it to my queue, and that certain yarns have a high suggestablilty quotient, meaning that if the name of the color way is something like 'Handsome Park Ranger', the statistical probability of me buying it is very, very high.

Sophie's Toes in "Handsome Park Ranger"

Above you see the most recent data to support the 'Power of Suggestion' research, Sophie's Toes 'Handsome Park Ranger'. Just go ahead and TRY to pretend that you wouldn't have purchased it, too!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Summer of Socks: le bilan

High Energy Baby Sock in Dream in Color 'Cool Fire'
After seeing Ms. Flint's utterly adorable EZ Baby Sweater in the ever so luscious Dream in Color 'Cool Fire', I was motivated to get my remnants of that very yarn and color way out and have another go-round with it. This yarn has million dollar yardage. After a pair of adult and baby socks, I still have enough left over to make a pair for my daughter. Hot damn! I completed the High Energy baby socks yesterday. If you are a sucka for a picot edge like me, I say give this pattern a whirl.
The Specs
Pattern: High Energy Baby Socks
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in 'Cool Fire'
Needles: size 2
Summer of Socks
From top, left to right: Embossed Leaves in Fleece Artist 'Moss', Jaywalkers in Opal Handpainted, and Monkeys in Brooklyn Handspun 'Jungle Canopy, High Energy Baby Socks in Dream in Color 'Cool Fire', Thujas in Artyarns Supermerino, and Chevron socks in 'Cool Fire,
Thujas in Artyarns Supermerino, Conwy in Colinette Jitterbug, and Toe-Up Socks in Sundara 'Cherry Blossom'

The Summer of Socks escapade is drawing to a close, so I thought it would be useful to faire le bilan or do a final tally of where we're at with the whole sock thing. One of the unexpected outcomes is that I am massively over socks at the moment. But I loved doing all of these beauties this summer and recommend joining something like this to everyone. I just need a break from the whole sock drill, but when I get my enthusiasm back I'll cast on for the Firestarters. Hecky, I joined the kal so that means I have to, right?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Tasty Cake and Foliage...

Fig and Plum cake from Fig and Plum!
Occasionally knit blogs will talk about things other than knitting, and this I don't mind. In fact if I like a blog, I am willing to read just about anything they fancy talking about. It could be sewing, something of which I know nothing but can nevertheless enjoy the visuals. It can be fabulous vacations to unexpected places--if the blogger is a great writer, I particularly enjoy such postings. It can be blood feuds with other bloggers and family members, I love having ringside seats for that. Or it can be about the most stupifyingly cute baby nursery in the history of the world. And sometimes bloggers post about things that immediately captivate me and I must try for myself. Now since I suck at sewing, don't have a sister-in-law who hates my blogging pal, don't plan on hitting Peru anytime soon and am not preggers, the Fig and Plum cake had my name written all over it. I love figs, the plum is in my top 5 fruits for sure, and my love affair with cake is well documented. What a delicious treat to enjoy right now! Babs made it and gave it her highest recommendation. You must act with alacrity as these ingredients will no longer be at their peak in several days, seriously. The DRMC says that he is now my slave for life after tasting it. Mwahahaha!

My creation

This weekend I was feeling the need to start and finish a project all in one day. Sometimes it just needs to be that way, and so I perused the new Knitty, hoping to find a dish on the side to complement my current Cobblestone/Clapotis/Shedir main course. Enter Foliage, a super quick project that only took several hours to make. Even the disaffected tween thing looked up from her manga obsession long enough to say "Hey, cool." If you feel the need to crank out holiday projects (which I don't), meet your new best friend, Foliage.

The Specs
Pattern: Foliage, Knitty Fall 07
Yarn: Rowan Cork, oh how I miss thee! 1 skein of Very Berry
Needles: size 10.5, hot damn!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Playground Pusher...

Knitting Pals
Knitting pals!
Peeper-Lou and her pal joined me in the back garden yesterday for some afternoon knitting. Her pal called and asked to come over because "...your mom is fun, she knits....'. So after a cup of tea we sat down for a knit, only disturbed once by the old bag next door who crankily complained that 'our laughter was disturbing her'. I am normally deferential to elderly people, but I have recently given myself permission to act out my rage and hostility toward her and it feels GREAT. In any case, here's a transcript of our conversation once we got down to the matter at hand:
Me: "So, why do you like knitting?"
The Pal: "Well, it's just so much fun I mean when you're on the airplane and you're knitting and someone says 'hey whaddya doin'?' and you say 'hey I'm knitting' and you think to yourself, 'wow, I'm knitting' and you start with a bunch of yarn and then after a while you make something and you think to yourself 'hey I'm a knitter' and it's so much fun to hear the needles clicking, too."
When we were driving her home she suddenly realized that she'd forgotten her knitting at our house. I suggested that my daughter bring it to her tomorrow and she said "Oh please, please can we go back and get it? I just won't be able to sleep knowing that it's not with me, and I'm planning on knitting tonight after dinner, after swim practice, and before bed". Ok, so she's an addict at age 10. I hope I don't get hauled in on some corrupting a minor charge. First one's free, kid!

WIP update
Clapotis in Brooks Farm Duet
I am experiencing a major love affair with my Clapotis. This is my first one ever and it is a sheer delight. It turns out a lot of other knitters have rediscovered this old chestnut from waaaay back in Fall 04 as there is a new second-time-around KAL for the Clapotis, called The Second Wave Clapotis KAL, thanks to Tiennie for pointing this out!

From the Lemming Dept.
Fleece Artist 'Somoko'
Apparently all I have to do is see a yarn mentioned on a blog and I will madly search the web until I get my grubby little hands on it. Luckily the Loopy Ewe is equipped for such moments, and in less that 48 hours and I had some Fleece Artist Somoko in my possession. It's gorgeous, natch! And a lovely combo of merino, kid, silk and nylon. The color here is fruit punch, and I can't wait to give it a whirl.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chocqua FO alert!

Knitting Maven Kathy Zimmerman and Babs!
What is the only appropriate course of action when you are awash in newly casted-on projects and struggling to keep your head above water for fear of drowning in a sea of WIPs? Why, going to a yarn store with your best pal and buying more yarn of course! Yes, Friday Babs and I made a seasonal sojourn to Kathy's Kreations in Ligonier, PA. See the sensational designer extraordinaire Kathy Zimmerman and soon-not-to-be-blogless (nudge, nudge) Babs pictured above. Yeah--we came, we saw, and one of us spent waaay too much money. It wasn't my fault, you see...
I have three LYSs in my geographical region and I am trying to share the love between them. There is one located less than a mile from my house, one right on my route to work, and this one, Kathy's Kreations, which is at the very western border of the arbitrary boundary I am calling my geographical location. Like any good polyamorous knitter, I love each one for its own special reasons. But oh how I love K2, not only does it have copious amounts of Rowan and other non-available yarns at the other two, but Kathy Zimmerman knows how to sell some yarn. She has a knack for making great recommendations and is patient and helpful when substitutions are necessary. She is ultra talented, and I highly recommend her store if you are in the Pittsburgh/Central Pa./Northern West Virginia area.
Zitron Lifestyle (color 1861)
Kathy clued me in to the fact that my favorite color combo--brown and blue--is actually now known as 'chocqua'. Ok, well I guess if it has a specific name now, that means I need to buy it, right? Pictured above you see three skeins of Zitron Lifestyle, a yarn I first saw at MD S & W and had to have both then (in green and yellow) and now. This weekend took a break from my Cobblestone/Clapotis/Silver Belle knitting chain gang and made a simple pair or fingerless gloves:
Zitron Lifestyle Fingerless Gloves
The Specs:
Pattern: Knitting at Knoon Fingerless gloves
Yarn: Zitron Lifestyle, color 1861 (MC) and Rowan 4 ply soft, color 389 (CC), 1 skein MC
Needles: Size 2 dpns
Mods: Because the pattern is written for a worsted weight yarn, I cast on 48sts rather than 36
Zitron Lifestyle Fingerless Gloves
If the heavy burden of all your Big Projects is weighing down upon you, I highly recommend doing a jaunty pair of these fingerless gloves as it will restore your knitting soul to begin and complete something so useful so quickly!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September Cast-On Mania

If August was Take-Those-UFOS-and-Make-Them-Your-B*tch month, apparently September is Maniacally-Cast-On-Everything-in-Sight month. Yes, the major gains that I made in reducing the obscene amount of WIPS last month have been wiped out by the amount of new projects I now have on the go. Who knew that knitting and the financial markets would so closely mirror one another? Well, you're not going to finish anything if you don't cast on, right? Let's take a look at our new contestants in September Cast-On Mania, shall we? Beginning of Cobblestone sweater from Fall IK Cobblestone Sweater This is the ultimate auto-pilot knit. I will log some major hours with this while screening films for my class. At first the Classic Elite Skye Tweed felt, as dear Babs put it, chalky, but once you start knitting it, the fabric softens quite a bit. The pattern is amazing and I am loving it. Beginning of Silver Belle from Fall VK VK Silver Belle All I need is to see a KAL set up for a project and I am immediately in. You'll help me and hold my hand? Okay. I can copy off my lab partner? Count me in. Actually I got some super helpful advice from Kim at Chronic Ennui, and now I am rolling along with this project. I was intially daunted by having to cast-on 480 stitches for this, but I decided to move up to an aran weight and size 9 needle, so I am doing the smallest size, despite the fact that I am in no way, as one person on Ravelry put it, a member of the Itty-Bitty-Tittie-Committee. Because of the extreme chart action, this is high cognitive-load knitting, so I envision this being worked on without the disractions of tv, the DRMC and the junior units and their incessant demands for clean clothes, three squares meals a day and my attention. You can get the pattern here for free. Brooks Farm Duet Clapotis It was only a matter of time, people. I mean, I've done the Jaywalkers, the Monkeys, and the Ball-Band Dishcloths, so only a few obligatory patterns remain. I'm breaking out the Brooks Farm Duet that I got at MD S & W last year, and Babs has promised to do this with me.Clapotis in Brooks Farm Duet

  • Mirepoix Bodice
    I am still waiting on the yarn for this one: Louet Gems, one of my all-time faves. This sweater is appealing for so many reasons. I love being able to do a pattern out of the exact yarn the pattern is written for, the fair isle action on the bodice is just the right amount for my tastes, and the colors are stupendous. PLUS there is a kal, which always sweetens the deal with added enticement. I won't be starting this one until October, so hopefully I'll be casting on for this in a month or so with a clear conscience. This is far and away the Fall 07 Knit that I am the most excited about! What fall project are you most excited about??
  • Saturday, September 01, 2007


    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    I am new to the whole lace shawl game, so it was with much trepidation that I cast on for the Shetland Triangle. But I was encouraged and motivated by all of the beautiful examples I saw on Ravelry (if you're not on, you will be soon) and figured I'd try my hand at it. One in particular--that would be Jared's of Brooklyn Tweed--really captivated my attention. Yes I seem to be in permanent paean mode regarding our dear friend Jared but this guy has some seriously impressive talent and killer, subdued style.
    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    In a fit of inspiration I cast on for this in July, worked on it intermittently and finished it earlier this week. One of the joys of this pattern was that light bulb moment when you mentally exclaim 'aha!' because you see and get the pattern. This moment seemed to come midway through, but I was happy to have it all the same. I highly recommend this pattern as a first time shawl, because if a major league knitting knucklehead such as myself can do it, you surely can.
    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    The Silky Wool was from my stash and repurposed from an earlier project, which felt like a frugal and organized thing to do. The yarn seems twine-like in the hank but knits up nicely into a soft fabric, so I would recommend it for this project.
    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    Everything I read assured me that the magic of lace was in the blocking, and I am here to tell you that it's all true. After breaking out the gigantor Le Creuset soup pot, I set about the soaking process and let it sit for several hours, during which time I cast on for the Cobblestone (Jared I SWEAR I'm not stalking you!). After a night of blocking, Peeper-lou and I were ready for our photo shoot.

    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    I am so happy with this project. The difference pre-and-post blocking is unbelievable! Once you get the pattern you can truly knit this on auto-pilot, and it is a relatively quick knit, so any of you holiday knitter types out there, keep this baby in mind.
    The Specs:
    Pattern: Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style
    Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
    Amount: 2 skeins
    Time: July-August, intermittantly
    Modifications: I didn't pin out the yos on the edge because I wasn't strongly attracted to the pointy edges. Neither did Jared.*
    Shetland Triangle in Silky Wool
    *What Would Jared Do?