Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Personal Yarn Store yields pleasing results--film at 11.

December Lights Tam
I think we all can agree that the Holiday Gifts 2007 Interweave Knits issue will go down in history as one of the legendary, epic events in the world of knitting. Hello--the Koolhaas hat, Socks for Véronik and the Candy Stripes Kerchief, all in the same place? Well I can now add the December Lights Tam to my list of projects that I can mark 'done' from this magazine--not that I keep such a list, but I am now imagining myself doing so and a feeling of calm satisfaction is overtaking me.

This pattern was the whole reason I bought the mag in the first place. And since Babs and I have this thing where we obsess about doing patterns in the yarn for which they are written, I went ahead and ordered the yarn from Nordic Fiber Arts as well. And then a year went by...
December Lights Tam
A week or so ago I recalled this project and sent Peeper-Lou upstairs to my own person LYS on the third floor so she could fetch it for me. Hip hip hooray--I hadn't sold it in some rash fit of destashing. Score! Personal Yarn Store, I love you, you are my horn of plenty.

The Specs:
Pattern: December Lights Tam by Mary Jane Mucklestone
Yarn: Finullgarn by Rauma, 8 colors (red, fuschia, rose, chartreuse, lime, green, olive, blue)
Needles; size 2 and size 3, addi turbo
Time: about a week
December Lights Tam
This hat is also fulfilling some ancient desire to wear tams. My great-grandmother's sister Auntie Lumsden used to knit these for me as a child by the dozen--all fair isle, never even so much as glancing at her hands while doing so. Did I appreciate them as a child? I'm sure not. Youth is wasted on the young.

Luckily I have a willing model to sport this tam for a fo photo shoot, despite the fact that she let me know that I smelled like strawberry hand sanitizer (wtf?). She demanded to model the tam as my large head was "taking the poof out of the hat". Umm, aren't you the person wanting me to take you shopping at the outrageously priced Halloween store for a blonde wig? Yeah, time to zip it. Although I can't say that she's entirely wrong--my big Irish head actually gives the impression that I am not wearing a tam but rather a brioche (the bun, not the stitch) loaf on my head, but I'll never give her the satisfaction of knowing this.

I am so crazy for stranding that I have immediately cast on for the Selbu Modern pattern. You must check this out--not only does the pattern come printed in the coolest font ever, but it is considerably easier than most projects of this nature. Perfect for that sock yarn you have in your own Personal Yarn Store!

Friday, October 24, 2008

October Baby Surprise Jacket

BSJ in Koigu Kersti
I finally got around to doing the ever-popular Baby Surprise Jacket and I'm in a bit of a quandary--what took me so long?? This is such a pleasant knit, and the end result is so old school boho chic, I love it. Luckily Babs' mom Big Babs came to town and let me watch her dvd which has charming scenes of Meg Swansen wearing a wind breaker knitting in the woods. You know you are hard core if the sound of that makes your heart skip a beat, right? The dvd is absolutely compelling! She knits the BSJ along with you and gives you little tips for doing ultra-special modifications, like not putting the button holes on both sides and adding a collar. Loved it.
BSJ in Koigu Kersti
The Specs
Pattern: The Baby Surprise Jacket by EZ
Yarn: Koigu Kersti, #663 two hanks plus some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK #18027 for the stripes
Needles: Size 7
Time: about a week

This was the perfect 'on-the-go' knitting and I forsee a lot more in my future. I want to make like 9 more of these. Isn't that what the whole EZ drill is about?
BSJ in Koigu Kersti

This particular knit is going to the girls' baby sister, little Aifric. You might recall that they were visiting her this summer in Dublin (where they hilariously refer to our beloved candidate as O'Bama!) . Well, she and her mummy are finally moving to New York, the whole family is being reunited. It's very exciting--we've been keeping up with her on Skype. Yesterday I had the immense pleasure of watching her puke all over her daddy on camera. Heh heh. See I'm not all sweetness and light.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October sweeps


Thanks to all of you nice blogpals for the very kind well wishes. I wish I could send you all some yarn. Wait, don't look at my Ravelry stash, because technically I could...but I'm on a new 'austerity plan' these days and if I go down financially, it sure as hell isn't going to be on postage. You know I'm probably not taking this new plan very seriously if I already have quotes around it, but supposedly marriage is about compromise and not remaining in a permanent adolescent mode where want and need are collapsed into the same thing. This is what I am told. But you didn't click on this blog to read about all that, now did you?

Peeper-Lou has chosen two winners from the long list of commenters. And she has done so based strictly on geographical location. Being from Alaska has its advantages, and so Alli from Knitosauras is the winner of the Koigu. Check out her blog because she has a pair of Koolhaas hats that are true stunners. The winner of the Lorna's Laces Argyle is Sarah from A Girl's Life, a Minnesota knitblogger and brand new to boot! Show her some love. She was chosen because "she lives near Grandma". Yes, we are parochial around this joint.

Stay tuned for a series of killer FOs, people. If October were sweeps month in blog land, I'd be blowing the lid off the Nielsen ratings! But as "Grandma" says, "...that and a dime will get you a cup of coffee."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mid-October Sock Report...and a gimmicky blog anniversary contest!

WIP wall of shame

It is sock WIPs as far as the eye can see around this joint. From the top, left to right: Monkeys in STR 'Spacedust', Jaywalkers in LL 'Grumperina', Canal du Midi in STR 'Nyame', Blueberry Waffles in STR 'Lagoon', a sock that I can't identify and Nutkins in Jitterbug 'Wasabi Squeeze'. Apparently I am very fond of the casting on part...but you might notice that all of the above socks are in a state of not-finishedness. And guess what? I am tired of pretending to feel bad about it. I've decided that knitting over 40 means doing whatever the hell you want and not deceiving yourself about it--so no more hand wringing for me. I'm leaving that to my better half who is experiencing a kind of dystopian bliss (but mixed with horror,too) at the current state of the economy. His entire world view has been confirmed! Oh shit . . .

Prize yarn
My contribution to Socktoberfest is not a viral hit sock pattern (I don't have the genius skills for such an endeavor) nor is it some super-impressive output of really hard, Yarnissima socks (I bow to her acumen). No, my contribution is a gimmicky contest in honor of a. my blog anniversary--3 years of hootin' and hollerin'--and b. my love of sock yarn. Of all the yarns it's hands down my favorite to hoard buy. It's relatively inexpensive, comes in enticingly perfect amounts and for these reasons, I have way too much of it. So my over-acquisitiveness is your potential gain. Above you see some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Argyle (left) and Koigu KPPPM (right). Just leave a little comment here and tell me which one you want, and the random number generator Peeper-Lou will choose two winners, probably based on the sound of your name, on Monday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Things you might see and hear at a Farm Show...

Hollidaysburg Farm Show
1. Conversations between judges and entrants that go something like this:
"Look, Choke-berry is a jelly, not a preserve. It's not my fault if you can't tell the difference when you're filling out the forms."
"Are you saying that I don't know an English walnut when I see one?"
"For Angel Food cake to have a shot in hell at this competition it has to be really, really moist. Like almost too moist but not at the same time."
But my favorite is the following: "Corn relish is a separate category. Read the directions."
Miniature house, part of Farming in Pennsylvania display
2. Very detailed displays on things like "Farming in Pennsylvania" and "Pollination: What You Need To Know". The amount of work that went into these is truly astounding. I think the kid who made the display whose house is pictured above was slightly weirded out by my intense fascination.
Excuse me?
3. Was this directed at me? That sign is hitting a little too close to home.
4. Heartbreakingly sweet puppets. The elderly woman who makes these told my daughter that she does so for the kids in her neighborhood because she doesn't have any family. I know I'm getting all sappy as I age because this made me want to burst into tears (of joy and sadness) at the same time.
Beeswax made to look like candy
5. Every imaginable honey by-product you could possible imagine. Don't these waxy thingies look strangely delicious?
Blue Ribbon, Y'all!!
5. Yes people!! THAT'S what I'm talking about. Peeper-lou made a mad dash for the needlework table, spied that coveted blue ribbon and began shrieking "Mommy you beat everyone!", thereby causing several people to look disapprovingly in my direction. Didn't I read the part in the program that said that the farm show "is people working together, people fraternizing with their neighbors, people ...who take pride in their community and are determined to share that pride with each other"? Oops! Yes, I was a bit chastened at that moment.

My next moment of realization re: my own ass-holitide came when I saw the disappointment of the lady picking up her fun fur scarf (it came in third place). She was showing her son the ribbon and said "oh well, at least I like it." Ok, could I feel like more of a schmuck right now??

At the needlework table I saw two very talented local knitters and chatted with them. When I complimented one of them on her stunning fair isle mittens and and prize-winning Flirty tank, she said that she entered them in the show because she wanted everyone to see what a person could knit, how much the craft could defy expectations and perceptions. Wait, you mean it's not about crushing people? Looks like someone needs to reread the farm show objectives before next year...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Vaa vaa vaa voom!

Canned Goods
My life would be a lot easier if I were a mature person who was able to put something like 'winning a blue ribbon at a farm show' in its proper place. You know, given that it's an election year, our economy is in the toilet, and I have things like my shrinking 401k, paying off student loans and worrying about aging parents to think of. But apparently I'm not, because when I walked in to that Quonset hut to enter my precious Malabrigo Beauty in the 'Garments, knitted hat, adult' category I had one thing on my mind: total annihilation of everyone else in my category.

What's not helping so much right now is that every other garment on the 'needlecraft' table was either a. a crocheted kleenex box cover made to look like a princess doll, b. had a beige pom pom on it in a totally non ironic 'air quotes' way or c. prominently featured 'fun fur' as a primary component. Again, I'm not trying to go negative à la recent despicable political ads, I am merely setting the scene for you and hopefully giving you some context for my anxiety. Yes, I go through life thinking I'm better than everyone as defense mechanism. It's a problem.
*fingers crossed*
Luckily all my eggs aren't in one basket at the moment as I have a fun pattern that is controlling my mind and making me make it in multiples. I am speaking of Nova's Birthday Cowl, a little gem of a hand knit whose delightful qualities is almost making me forget about the farm show mishegos.
Birthday cowl in Malabrigo 'Vaa'
Pattern: Birthday Cowl by Nova
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Vaa
Needles size 8
Mods: None!
Birthday cowl in Malabrigo 'Vaa'
Vaa has to be one of the more enigmatic of the Malabrigo colors. Not only is the name a conundrum, but the color changes colors, kind of like a mood ring. At times it is full on pine-y teal with hints of blue and deep green, and then the next instant it goes all turgid and murky. So inscrutable!
Birthday cowl in Malabrigo 'Vaa'
I made this pattern for a friend and was so pleased to give it to her this weekend. She was pleased to become an initiate into the cowl fold, and I was happy to find a cowl pattern that is easy yet interesting. A win-win situation--could this been a sign that things might be going my way at a certain ag-fest?

Friday, October 03, 2008


MadTosh Socks in 'chamomile'
To claim that I am somehow now on a sock knitting roll or in any way imply that I am 'gaga' for socks would be a gross exaggeration. My relationship with the sock seems to follow the same predictable trajectory. It's a story of extremes. I am either heavily, heavily into it and can think of nothing else or have low-grade feelings of resentment and loathing. Weirdly right now I seem to be between these two extremes, and I have Through the Loops' Mystery Sock KAL to thank for that. Somehow spreading the task over an entire month seems entirely doable, so much so that I am doing both at the same time. Jump back!

Normally joining a KAL is the surefire way for me to guarantee that I will not actually finish the intended garment (Mirepoix anyone? Project Spectrum flame-out?), but if I can't finish sport weight socks on a size three needle with a cast on of 58 sts, well it's time to hang it up and delete the blog, right? Part of the reason that I foresee actually finishing is that I am LOVING the yarn--Madeline Tosh Sport Merino in chamomile. This yarn has been in my stash for a while and I am so pleased to have a reason to break it out. The sheer yellowness of it all is making me very, very happy however I am slightly concerned that although the yarn looked identical in the hank and is from the same dye lot, somehow not in its knitted state, one yarn cake is a little more tweety bird than the other. If this is the case, we'll just burn that bridge when we come to it...