Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pre-retreat update

So, before I jet off for another exciting stitching retreat, I thought I'd post what I'd been up to. In my defense, I've kept up my Ravelry statuses a bit better. But actually, I've been mostly stitching throughout october, which means a lot slower progress than I'm used to reporting. Additionally, all blogging sites have been blocked from work, so drafting entries on breaks or over lunch is a lot harder than it used to be. So, what have I wrought of late? A whole lot of starting, that's what.


Andes Charity projects: Pair o' socks #3 left me with juuuuuust enough yarn to make a Karlchen top-down hat with the leftovers.

Charity leftovers hat

Aurora Borealis Scarf part Deux: I'm wearing it as a fall scarf with my coat.

Noro Aurora Scarf 2

Sherwood: I improvised a hat to match, and made my boss very happy. She's threatening to put the boys in their sweaters for her Christmas card, which would be cute indeed.


Oak Leaf Coasters: So it's my turn to host supper club, and, over-achiever that I am, I get the genius idea to make coasters with leaves on them, in fall colors. Borealis had some beautiful autumnal colors in Plymouth Tweed, so how could I say no?
Double knitting would be the key--reversible, no zillion fiddly ends like intarsia, and I've been meaning to get more comfortable with the technique.
It felted down beautifully, but rectangularly--I made two more with the extra length to end up square, post-felting. Those two were done juuuuuust in time for dinner on Saturday, which meant they missed their photo op.

Noro Entrelac Hat: My community knitting buddy Judy worked out a nifty entrelac hat pattern that we community knitters have been bothering her to write up for ages. I finally sat down with her over dinner one week, and we wrote it up. This is what I used to test my own pattern-writing skills. I had so much fun, there's another one in the (lengthy) WIP queue below.

Entrelac hat

On the Needles:

Shadow Shawl: Languishing in obscurity at present. Alas.

Lacy Dolman Sweater: Put a few more rows on it before I got distracted by Entrelac hattery and Oak leaf trivet-making.

Kid's Puzzle Cardigan: My current "big" charity knitting project. I picked up the pattern at the MN Knitters Guild Yarnover fest in April, and thought I'd try it out with the leftover yarn from Matt's Boundary Waters sweater. The folks at Borealis affectionately call it the Baby Surprise Sweater on Crack--which it is. It's knit in one piece like an Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise sweater, but it has a whole lot more zigs and zags in it. I have a sinking feeling my stitch counts may be off somewhere, as I approach a critical juncture--we'll see. Right now, it looks like a crumpled mess on the needles, with a TON of safety pins in it, so no picture.

Entrelac Hat #2: When Borealis Yarns puts their odd-lot balls of Silk Garden and Kureyon on sale, what do you do? You buy one to make another cute entrelac hat, that's what.

Red Rainy Day Scarf: I fell prey to another Borealis free clinic. And it gave me an excuse to buy the awesome merino/silk Sheep Shop Sheep #3 yarn I'd had my eye on. It's my new interstitial project.

Scroll Lace Socks: I have to have some socks available for knitting at all times--though they're pre-empted for other knitting right now, I'm eager to put more work into them--they were my first foray into a picot edge cuff, and I love 'em.

Silent Auction Socks: I decided to put my handiwork in the silent auction at my office this year--my friend Lindsay won my handiwork, and I've cast on "Rainbow Socks" from the October MagKnits. If the pattern doesn't work with the yarn (the striping may be too long), I might have to pick another pattern.

Stocking on Commission: As a favor for Liz's coworker, I agreed to finish a Christmas Stocking for her co-worker. It's knit flat, so it's interesting, but who am I to deny a new grandchild a stocking that matches the rest of the family's?

In the hoop:

Marion Scoular's Blackwork Acorns: No change. I think I'll take it on retreat with me, however.

Bless this Child Sampler: I've ventured back into the land of stitching thanks to the recent addition to the Miller family--I'm about halfway through a lovely traditional sampler for the wee new lass. That's why my knitting throughput has been so low. :)

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: Still The Monk, but I finished a bunch of other books since I put it down.
Listening to: Cracker. I loves me some Dave Lowry, oh yes I do.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rowr! Turbo powers activate!

August means my Needlework Guild's annual retreat, in Buffalo, MN. Wednesday-Sunday, nothing but blissful, uninterrupted, stitchy-stitchy time. I accomplished TONS, and got caught up with some of my favorite fellow stitchers/knitters/crafty gals. What did I accomplish, you ask? Well, behold!

Butterfly: Seamed and button attached! The collar needs to be re-blocked, and it came out a wee bit big (the sleeves are quite long), but it's gorgeous. I acquired the perfect button on one of my Madison shopping trips with Madam--pressed iridescent glass, that reflects blue-purple. Yummeh.

And yet still more socks: Also complete! They're orange, they're happy, they're mine, all mine. I'm going to have to speed up my sock turnaround time, though, if I'm ever going to knit all the socks I want to knit.

Andes Charity projects: I finished the first pair of shortrowed-heel socks, followed by a pair of "class socks" from Sensational Knitted Socks--they come out to perfect toddler sock size. Still burning through the yarn, though.

Loons at Night: I started and finished a counted cross-stitch project at retreat! I KNOW! It's a cute, simple project with loons silhouetted against a night-time lake--all done in negative space, so you're stitching on black fabric with white thread. Clever and simple.

On the Needles:
Shadow Shawl: No change to speak of, but I refuse to apologize, because--look at all the rest of the stuff I did!

Lacy Dolman Sweater: No change. It's next.

Andes Charity projects: Pair o' socks #3 from this yarn is a full-size pair in "Vertical Waffle" from More Sensational Knitted Socks. Top-down, with a traditional heel flap. Decreasing the gusset on sock #1.

Aurora Borealis Scarf part Deux: 6-8 inches of scarf so far. It's a good "interstitial" project because the rows are so short--perfect for waiting rooms, etc.

Sherwood: Well, my boss-lady's in Russia now, taking care of the final paperwork. I bound off the shoulders last night, and once my size 6 dpns come out of the Andes sock, it's sleeve time!

Moved to Hibernation:
Rambling Rows Baby Afghan
Bear Claw Blanket

A bit of a false alarm on the expectant family member, so I don't have to commit to my insane plan of completing those blankets in short order. Someday. Oh yesss precioussss . . .

In the hoop:
Marion Scoular's Blackwork Acorns: My retreat class project--a lovely blackwork piece in gold and green. It's filling patterns are all stitched, and I just need to complete the outlining. I LOVE blackwork.

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: The Monk and The Bourne Identity.
Listening to: Cake.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wait, it hasn't been anywhere close to six months yet!

Ah, yes, but rediscovering the wonders of your blog through Ravelry means more updates. Whee. In short, I'm still a project-starting fool (so many babies, so little time), and I'd like to get some of those WIPs out of the queue so I don't have quite so many projects on the needles. Since it's July, I'm starting with the smallest stuff first. :)

My Ravelry stash organizing pointed out that, although my Ikea cube storage thingy is indeed full of sock yarn, when you pull it all out to catalogue it, it really doesn't seem like all that much yarn. (Shock! Horror!) So, my temporary sock yarn diet got thrown out the window, thanks to a new shipment of Great Adirondack Silky Sock arriving at Borealis. (So pretty. The most recent acquisition is "Sugar Maple", which reminds me of nothing so much as rainbow sherbet or spumoni ice cream.)

So, what have I been doing lately?

Finished: Nothing finished. But progress is being made, dammit!

Requiring Finishing:
Butterfly: Still in the seaming pile.

On the Needles:
And yet still more socks: I am in the process of turning the heel on Sock #2. This is the project I default to after completing my "required" knitting on the baby blankets. (Read on for the most anal-retentive plan in all of knitting.)

Shadow Shawl: No change to speak of.

Lacy Dolman Sweater: No change. It's in line for finishing behind the sock.

Rambling Rows Baby Afghan: Fourteen out of fifty-five units completed. My plan is to do one unit (Rectangle, or Large or Small Square) of knitting per day on this afghan, stopping to weave in the ends after every ten blocks. That way, I should be done with it by Labor Day. Even though it's cheap acrylic, it's starting to look really cute. I'm hopeful I calculated my yarn needs appropriately, but we'll see. It's a quick trip to Michael's if I need more, anyway.

Bear Claw Blanket: Well, I got word that my white yarn has shipped from where I ordered it (yay!) and it should arrive today or Monday. In the meantime, I've made all the little center squares (3 green, 3 yellow, 3 purple), so I'm ready to go bonkers as soon as the white yarn arrives. I'm hoping to follow the same kind of "one unit per day" rule on this blanket as well--though once Rambling Rows is done, I'll probably pick up the pace, as the individual pieces on this one tend to be made out of fewer stitches.

Andes Charity projects: I finished sock #1 of pair #1, and cast on sock #2. The pattern I chose is why I'm glad I understand sock mechanics--I stayed with the short row heel, but instead of doing a short-row toe and grafting 36 stitches together, I did a traditional toe and only had to graft 12. :)

Aurora Borealis Scarf part Deux: Still a lonely row or two.

And yet another started project!

Sherwood: Out of some lovely robin's-egg blue Cool Wool--my boss who adopted the baby (Recipient of Pea Pod #2) this past winter? Is adopting another little boy in a few weeks! Evidently, the paperwork came together more quickly than anyone expected it to. So, I can't let this baby go unloved by handknits! I chose Sherwood from Knitty, because its construction results in a super cute result with fairly simple construction. And, since this little dude is 22 months old, it had 4 year-old sizing. :) It's just a few rows off of cast-on, but it will need to see regular rotation as well.

In the hoop: Nothin’ much.

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: The Monk and The Bourne Identity.
Listening to: Interpol.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Ravelry Effect

Boy, there’s nothing like an invitation to participate in the Beta of a website that allows you to catalog all of your past, present, and future knitting to turn up the volume on your hobby. (And remind you of all the things you’ve knitted.) The Yarn Harlot has gone on in more entertaining detail than I could about the wonders of, so I’ll just link you instead of attempting it myself. It’s had a wonderfully rejuvenating effect on my desire to document and blog my knitting habit, so you may be seeing more of me here—at least for a while. As I was cataloging my works, I found this blog really handy for answering the “so, when did I knit that?” question. Also, I’ve had a TERRIBLE attack of start-itis since I last updated—you’ll see why below. If (by some chance) you’re reading this, and you’re also on Ravelry, I’m PirateLemur. Friend Away!

Aurora Borealis Scarf: The Wednesday evening clinic at Borealis on June 6th was a nifty lace scarf that also ends up long enough to be a keen belt. The Noro Aurora was so pretty, I had to buy a few balls (okay, four), with the intention of making them be Christmas presents for my various and sundry nieces.

Requiring Finishing:
Butterfly: Still in the seaming pile.

On the Needles:
And yet still more socks: Sock #1 complete. Sock #2 underway, and we’re tooling up the foot.

Shadow Shawl: No change to speak of.

Lacy Dolman Sweater: On a sleeve-to sleeve sweater project? Those body rows get reeeeeeeally long. Luckily, I just divided for the front and back, which makes things a bit more manageable.

Rambling Rows Baby Afghan: I have a pregnant immediate family member! Yaaaay! I’m using my acrylic stash to make a modular afghan that’s pretty much baby-proof. (Pastel shades of pink, blue, purple and yellow.) I foresee many more projects for this wee one in the future. I have four out of fifty-some units completed. . . .

Bear Claw Blanket: I think this might actually be proof that I’ve lost my mind in excitement over my pending niece or nephew. It’s a beautiful finished project, but it’s a lap quilt. Knit out of fingering weight yarn. Can you say “heirloom”? It will be, if I ever finish it. Three center squares so far, and my white yarn is still on order.

Wool of the Andes Charity projects: One Mason-Dixon baby sweater completed—used just about one ball. Next up? Socks. I cast on for the first of the pair this past Sunday. I’m using a pattern for Children in Common, and was bummed to discover it was a short-row heel—I was looking forward to a turned heel. I think I just might turn the heel anyway. :)

Aurora Borealis Scarf part Deux: I cast it on so I could take a picture of it for Ravelry. I’m kind of sick that way.

In the hoop:
Nothin’ much.

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: The Monk, the first horror novel ever.
Listening to: iTunes on shuffle. Right now, The Communards.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Long-overdue update

So, I'm rapidly discovering that I'd rather actually be knitting than update a blog. Ah well. It's not like I have a readership to disappoint, anyway. I do like this for a tracking mechanism, though, so I can look back on what I've done. Since I last posted, I've been busy! Let's get to it.

Hey, I’m adopting a baby! Peapod Sweater: So, the VP of my department called us in for an emergency staff meeting. Staff meetings with less than 24 hours notice rarely mean anything good, however--this one was to let us know she and her husband were heading to Russia to finalize the adoption of their new son, and that she'd be out of the office for at least eight weeks on parental leave. I cranked out another Peapod with matching hat as quickly as I could so that the I could have a proper "welcome to the US" gift for the little dude when she brought him in for a visit.

Cabled Malabrigo Hat: I picked up some gorgeous green Malabrigo in PA over Christmas, and made an adorable cabled hat out of it. Donated to charity, where it will doubtless make some kid look really cute.

Yet another pair of sox: After languishing sadly at the bottom of my bag for weeks, I decided that they needed to be done already. Thanks to a verrrrrrrry long Needlework Guild Board meeting, I got most of the leg done, and a weekend with a head cold pretty much finished them off. My sister-in-law, the intended recipient, claims they fit beautifully, so no reknitting for me!

Beaded Amulet Bag: This year’s Yarnover project—bright green perle cotton, slightly deeper green beads, with a COOL millefiori bead as the charm. While restringing the beads to the perle was a total PITA, I have to say, the actual knitting process was really fun. I ended up knitting on it obsessively until it was all finished—which took all of two days, really.

Charity Alpaca Sweater with hat: I bought some local PA alpaca when I was home over Christmas, and had enough to make a warm kids’ sweater—to liven up the very neutral grey of the alpaca, I bought some muted rainbow hand-paint thick-n-thin for a stripe in the chest area. It knit up super cute—the “Ryan’s Avalanche” Sweater pattern is a winner. I had enough yarn left to improvise a hat—though I did have to call in some of my leftover Malabrigo as reinforcements.

Vintage Diamond Baby Cardigan: Louet Gems, in eggplant. Holy CRAP, this turned out cute. My only beef is that the pattern comes in precisely one size, so you can’t choose the size of baby you want to knit it for, but . . . great pattern, well written. I bought an extra skein of yarn on purpose--the pattern (Winter ’04 IK) warned that there would be little yarn left over--so I was able to improvise a matching hat and make Christine’s Booties to go with the sweater. I managed to get Chris (the dad to be) all choked up, so go me!

Requiring Finishing:
Butterfly: Ready for seaming! Yay! I joined the shoulders and knit on the collar before a full wet block. Now I just need to get my seaming mojo on, which, with the weather getting warmer, seems like it might take a while.

On the Needles:
And yet still more socks: Foot complete, heel turned, thanks to some air travel. It’s the sock I only work on on planes! Actually, it’s a pain to knit in coach, so it’s really the sock I only work on in airports and miscellaneous hotels.

Shadow Shawl: Finally started! The written description is a little confusing, but once you get it going, it makes a ton of sense. I’m using an impulse-buy skein of Schaeffer Anne (green/blue/purple), and some gorgeous aubergine linen yarn from Louet. I had it nearly 25% complete, when I had to frog back to correct a grievous error in my shadow patterning that I hadn’t noticed sooner. It’s still going to be lovely, but it’s spending some quality time in the “time-out” box right now.

Lacy Dolman Sweater: So, the first yarn I think I ever bought at Borealis was this weird, pseudo-novelty yarn from Schachenmeyer, called “Rainbow”. A white and color (lime green, for me!) cotton core is wrapped with a thin, variegated rainbow strand of rayon. It’s been discontinued since 2004 at least, but it’s kinda cool. had a great dolman sweater pattern using it—it will require a camisole underneath, or will be used as a swimsuit coverup, but it’s really neat. Being a dolman, it’s knit from sleeve to sleeve, and I’m just to the point where I’m casting on stitches for the front and back. Pictures promised, as it's not a gift. :)

Wool of the Andes Charity projects: From the “tourist yarn” collection (again), I picked up three skeins of yellow and grey WotA at some point—right now, I’m knitting the garter-stitch baby kimono from Mason-Dixon knitting, to be followed up with some toddler/children’s socks.

In the hoop:
Nothin’ much.

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: I finished all the James Bond novels, and heartily recommend 'em if you like spy thrillers. I've moved on to Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl, which is kind of Secret History-esque, in that it deals with private school scandal, but this time with a wonderfully sympathetic protagonist at a high school, rather than Classics students in college.
Listening to: iTunes on shuffle. Right now, The Decemberists.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sorry for the delay . . .

I've been a little busy on the weekends. Here's a quick and dirty update:

Charity Tank Top: Huzzah! The end of the Cotton Twist! Though, I gotta say—the top is SUPER cute. .

Super Boring Shawl: Finished it in time for Christmas, and didn't die of boredom. Sister-in-law was pleased, so I can't complain. Too much.

On the Needles:
Yet another pair of sox: One done, one to go. The 2nd sock is about an inch long. The relative inflexibility of cotton might be a problem in these socks—they’re quite tight as they go over my instep. If they don’t fit the intended recipient properly, they’ll have to be unraveled and re-knit from the heel out.

And yet still more socks: Thanks to my paranoia about taking metal knitting needles on planes (technically, I know they’re allowed, but I always get Mister/Miss SuperSensitive TSA rep as I go through security), I started another sock on bamboos in the airport on my way to PA for Christmas. It’s in some nuclearly bright orange/red/yellow/blue Trekking, and I love it. Generic toe-up pattern a la WendyKnits.

Butterfly: My next sweater, out of Noro Silk Garden. It’s a long, open cardigan from the Debbie Bliss/Noro book that was all the rage a year or two ago. It’s really working up beautifully, though I’m near sick to death of the chevron pattern after doing the back. Good news is, I don’t even have to look at my hands any more as I do it. One sleeve left to go. . . .

In the hoop:
I finished all the stitching on my CA Wells bunny pendant. I really need to have a bit of a finishing day—I might actually get something accomplished one of these days.
I also spent some time stitching on the Barn Kitties picture, and cranked out a Subversive Cross Stitch pattern that says "Candy Ass". I'm such a card.

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: James Bond novels (I'm up to From Russia With Love, and am just eating them like candy.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oh, for the love of Clearance Sales!

Three Kittens Needlearts had a clearance sale over Thanksgiving weekend that put all other clearance sales to shame. I'd always liked Three Kittens, because they always had whatever I was looking for. I didn't like Three Kittens as much as I wanted to, because it was always so darned difficult to find whatever it was--it was floor to ceiling yarn, with aisles that were so narrow I could barely squeeze through. I picked up some novelty yarn for 75% off, so I can make some lovely garter-stitch thingies for the non-knitters in my life who are easily impressed by such things. ("Oh, what a pretty shawl!" "Wouldn't you rather have this cool cabled sweater?" But the colors are so pretty!" *headdesk*)

Noro Transitions Short-Row Rib Scarf: All done! Transitions is expensive, so I used every last bit—and ran out about 2 dozen stitches from the end. I fished some coordinating Silk Garden out of my stash, and completed binding off, just in time for it to get cold enough to wear it.

Peapod Baby Sweater: Heavens, this is a cute, CUTE pattern. Of course again, in my enthusiasm, I didn't take a photo of it before I gave it away. You'll just have to trust me.

Felted Squirrel: From the geniuses who brought you the ubiquitous felted hedgehog, there’s a squirrelly equivalent, too! This is for my brother, for Christmas. (He likes squirrels, despite us telling him they’re really just rats with cute fluffy tails.) Next time I make one, I'll put the ears up higher on his head, but he's cute anyway.

On the Needles:
Yet another pair of sox: Managed to snap a Size 1 Brittany Birch during an enthusiastic SSK, so I switched to my cheap-o Susan Bates metal needles. Poking along happily—the heel turning is in sight.

Charity Tank Top: Whaddya know? I actually finished the back at knitting on Sunday. Only a front left, since tank tops don’t have sleeves. Nifty!

Christmas Shawl: I'm turning some of that novelty yarn into a shawl for my sister-in-law--triangular, on size 15s a la the Grandma's Dishcloth pattern, in a peacock-ish colorway of blue, lavender, and lime. It's pretty, but oh so boring. So very boring.