Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The A.D.D. Knitter--now with 100% more complaining!

Morehouse Striped Mittens
I don't know what my problem is these days, maybe it's because I reside with a curmudgeon who just has his first colonoscopy (Good times--luckily men are such stoic patients. Heh.) or because the economic downturn is making me wake up at night imagining myself as a hobo eating beans out of a can, huddled around a burning oil barrel, but I seem to have turned into quite the complainer. Nothing is quite good enough for me these days in my knitting world, I'm rapidly becoming a Leona Helmsley-like figure where my knitting is concerned. Or maybe I'm just off my game. Not quite sure. But all I know is that I might not finish the above picture mittens.

The Backstory: I bought the Morehouse Merino Striped Mitten Duo kit at Maryland Sheep and Wool in May, 2007 and recently found it again on the third floor, a geographical location that is soon to be deemed 'where perfectly respectable yarn goes to die'. I took it out earlier this week and thought it would be fun to make some mother/daughter matching mittens, because I still have one daughter that doesn't tell me things like "when we're in public, don't speak to me".
Morehouse 2-ply
Well right away I knew there was trouble--winding the yarn went at a snails pace as the yarn kept breaking. Upon further inspection it seemed fine, but once knitting with it, even the slightest tug made it come apart. I also noticed that the yarn felt drier than usual, almost as is if had decomposed and broken down, composition-wise. If you look at the green ball up close, doesn't the texture seem moth ball-y? Is my scientific vocab just flooring you at this point? In any case, this little incident has me wondering whether yarn has a shelf life or not. I remember my grandma drinking Tab from the late 1960s in the early 80s and there not being a problem, so I guess I'm just wondering whether yarn has the Does it?

I will finish this post with another little riddle for my American friends who are getting ready for family funtimes at Thanksgiving.

Q: What's the only thing worse than spending Thanksgiving with a right wing relative after an Obama defeat?

A: Spending Thanksgiving with a right wing relative after an Obama victory! Happy Thanksgiving everybody...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Small Knitted Malabrigo Accessory to the Rescue

EZ Mitred Mitten in Noro Silk Garden #252
The above pictures mitten represents a minor misstep, half of a project that is so underwhelming it will neither be completed nor put on Ravelry. Sometimes you see someone else's project, realize you have the yarn for it, cast everything else aside and go for it. And the end result is not at all what you had hoped for. This is the EZ Mitered Mitten, a project that I am so theoretically down with, but rather than looking funky and free-wheeling, this garment looks like something that would have been found next to the preserved cadaver of a Viking in a peat bog. Not a look I am going for normally, although I do give major props to the Lindow Man whenever I can. Something about the shape is bugging the shit out of me. Sometimes the Noro is just too rustic looking, you know?

What better antidote could there be to this slight fiasco than a small knitted accessory in Malabrigo? Thanks Leslie for this pattern, it was just what I need to set things right again in my knitting world.
Toasty in Malabrigo Worsted Sealing Wax
The Specs:
Pattern: Toasty by Leslie F.
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Sealing Wax. Lord Have Mercy.
Needles: Size 7 Addi Turbo
Mods: As if!
Toasty in Malabrigo 'Sealing Wax'

These are for my friend Sandrine who wears fingerless mitts year round in order to protect zee hands from zee damaging rays of zee sun-isn't she a knitter's dream?
Toasty in Malabrigo 'Sealing Wax'

Pictured below you see another knitter's dream: Three skeins of Silky Malabrigo in Burgundy, perfect for another Forest Canopy Shawl, maybe?
Silky Malabrigo in Burgundy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Selbu Modern, Malabrigo Sock Yarn and I might have bought some more yarn in Chicago...

Selbu Modern in Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Solid
Remember that post earlier this fall where I was all "omg I'm so busy blah blah"? Well now I'm looking back on that halcyon period and just WISHING that my life were as carefree as it had been back then. Because right now I am so overwhelmed with work that my family has basically had some variation of cereal and/or ramen noodles for dinner every night this week. Don't you wish you were my kid? Luckily I finished my new favorite hat before the onslaught...
Selbu Modern in Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Solid
The Specs
Pattern: Selbu Modern by Zeitgeist Yarns
Yarn: Shelridge Farms Ultra Soft in 'Brown' and 'Robin's Egg'
Needles: Size 2.5 and 3 addi turbos
Time: about a week
Selbu Modern in Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Solid
This pattern has "obsession" written all over it. If you're a stranding newbie, the two colors are super manageable and the pattern is quite easy to handle. I seem to say that about every FO, don't I? The finished size fits my giant melon head, and the pattern looks, well, totally bitchin'. I am so happy to have used some yarn that I purchased last year at Stitches East from the nice Canadian Shelridge Farm booth. This yarn is deceptive--it looks quite ordinary in the hank but knit up it is at once ultra soft (heh) and quite sturdy. Go Canada!
Selbu Modern in Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Solid
Many were interested in the Malabrigo sock yarn. Here is my review: it is everything you love about the regular Malabrigo (mind-bending colors + nice price point) plus an unexpected sturdiness and shimmery sheen à la Silk Garden Sock yarn (minus the caterpillar poo). So--big thumbs up! Pictured below are several repeats of an Embossed Leaves Sock:
Malabrigo Sock Yarn In Violeta Africana
Nice, right?

One of the reasons I just love this conference in Chicago is because I get to see my pal Dolly who is one of the funnest people to pal around with. She is the total package of super smart, make-you-wet-your-pants hilarious and very kind. As a non-knitter she was good humored enough to accompany me to the new Loopy Yarns location AND helped me justify my purchase. Added bonus? These words: "You really didn't spend that much...". Yes, she is a gem. Below you see a portion of my booty, just some really predictable Malabrigo and Jitterbug.
Malabrigo Worsted in Paris NIght
JItterbug 'Lobster Pinch' and 'Vatican Pie'

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Birthday (Cowl)!

(Artist Brett Yasko at "When I look at Barack Obama's life story, I see America")

There has been so much to celebrate 'round these parts this week. It goes without saying that this household has been over the moon since Tuesday and doesn't look like it will be coming back down to earth anytime soon. There have been so many memorable images of election celebration (Jesse crying and Oprah unleashed to name a few), but my favorite just has to be the elementary schoolers from Obama's elementary school in Indonesia jumping for joy. Yay kids!

We are also celebrating another auspicious occasion: the birthday of Peeper-Lou. She's 11 today, double hockey sticks! Our full-on party won't be until Sunday as I'm going to Chicago for a conference today and tomorrow, so there is no doubt that she'll be milking it from now until then. Miss Thing did agree to model my newest FO for me, the appropriately titled Birthday Cowl.
Birthday Cowl in Malabrigo 'Damask Rose'

The Specs
Pattern:Birthday Cowl by Nova Seals
Yarn:Malabrigo Worsted in Damask Rose
Needles: Size 8 addi turbos
Birthday Cowl in Malabrigo 'Damask Rose'
This pattern is my favorite cowl ever as the stitch pattern is easy (you always know where you are, instantly) and the end result is ultra-gorgeous. If you haven't made a cowl yet, this is your next project! Might I also suggest making it out of Malabrigo as well? It's just too soft to resist.

Malabrigo Sock Yarn
Speaking of said luscious yarn, guess who got a shipment of highly coveted Malabrigo sock yarn from Mr. UPS man in the brown and yellow socks? Yes, people. Was there any doubt in your minds that I would be in on the ground floor with this one? Linda at Yarnzilla was lightening fast (as usual) and these wee lovelies were delivered just moments ago, just in time to be wound and put into my carry-on. Yes Leslie, airplane knitting, your favorite!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Drop Spindle, the new Kiddie Gateway Drug?

Peeper-Lou and Her New Drop Spindle
Enthusiasm for hobbies runs in my family. My dad (pre-Alzheimer's) turned almost every one of his hobbies into some sort of career: fooling around with typefaces and ink and printing a neighborhood newspaper called 'News in a Nutshell' (St. Louis, c.1934) gradually led to owning a print shop on the side during the 1970s and 1980s where my brother and I did more collating and stapling than most Kinkos trolls will ever see in their lifetimes; collecting oddball medical devices quickly turned in to founding a museum devoted to quackery; and collecting old cars like Studebakers, Rovers and Mercedes...was really expensive and didn't exactly turn a profit, but it sure was fun!

Luckily the newest hobby in the McCoy family isn't mine, as I am currently maxed out at the moment (although Babs thinks it's hysterical to remind me of my brief time as a stamper, complete with ink pads and rubber stamps of leaves and stars. What can I say, sometimes AC Moore just calls my name). No, Peeper-Lou has finally actualized her dream of becoming a spinner. She took a private spinning class from Shelly (a super talented spinner, knitter, dyer and all-around fiber maniac) at a local yarn shop and she is now a bona fide drop spindle FREAK!

Yeah, she's way, way into it. Her birthday is later this week and just guess what she asked for? Yup, that's right...a wheel. Well that's so not happening unless there is some sort of Easy Bake Oven spinning wheel equivalent out there. Is there?
Selbu Modern in Shelridge Farm Ultrasoft
While she has been spinning away I have been working away on my Selbu Modern. I just love this thing! I'm finally using some Shelridge Farm from my stash, and while it might not seem like a thrilling yarn in the skein, it is way soft and has a certain 'x' appeal while knitted up. Stay tuned. I'm not quite sure that this project will be appropriate for election return watching, maybe something more mindless might be in order. In any case, I will see you all on the other side...