Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teeny Weeny Finished Object

I've been knitting at the speed of light this week, trying to finish the Henly Hoodie so I can show the blog some pictures - also because I wanted to wear it to our big sale this weekend - but it's not going well. I have a little blue line across the tip of my finger actually, where I tension my yarn, but I still don't have a sweater.

Anyway, I thought I would show you the little shop model I knitted up last weekend for the store: Tilli Tomas's Grommet Bag #153 using her Rock Star beaded silk, one of my favorite yarns.

It's a pretty ingenius little pattern actually - under the flap there are grommets and you pick up stitches through them and then knit down, but the bag is already fully lined, so there's no finishing whatsoever. It was a cute, quick, enjoyable knit. And as you can see - the colors are completely gorgeous!

Other than the Henly, work continues most vigorously on the Ireland Boot Socks. I've been knitting them and lurking in the Socks that Rawk group on Ravelry. The more I knit, the more I fall in love . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Knitting Recognition

I meant to post this earlier, but it slipped my mind -

My during the week job is at an After School program, and I work mostly with 2nd and 3rd graders. On Thursday one of my kids came running up to me on the playground with a 1st grade friend of hers shouting, "Miss Jennie, Miss Jennie, show us your socks!"

I duly lifted up the legs of my jeans to reveal plain white ankle socks. "Why do you want to see my socks, Maria?"

A sigh of disappointment, "You usually have knitted socks on. Why don't you have your knitted socks?"

"None of them are clean."

"Well, wash them, okay? Geez." and then they sprinted off.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Love Sleeping with the Windows Open

because I can hear the trains go by. I've never lived by trains before, but for some reason hearing their "whooooo" over the noise of the fan at night makes me feel safe.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Since my last post I have made almost no progress with the Henly Hoodie or the Gold Shell Socks. I had a bad day at work and came home and decided that the only prescription was more Socks that Rock. I actually have a soft deadline - I want to be finished with the Hoodie at least by May 1st - but what have I been doing for the last three days?

This my third attempt with this yarn and I'm finally loving it - the Uptown Boot Sock from Favorite Socks, which I long to own, and IK Winter 2003 which I happily do own.

Initially I was going to do the Blackrose Socks with this yarn, but the CO number made the yarn pool in a very weird way. Jorah really liked it and I was tempted to go with it, but you couldn't really see the lace, and then I went and perused the Ravelry gallery for County Clare Lightweight and they were just all so lovely I couldn't stand it, so I ripped. Uptown Boot has a CO of 80, which makes for a lovely spiral striping.

I still want to make the Blackrose Socks of course, I really enjoyed the pattern while I was knitting it and it was super fast, but I'm going to need a different yarn. The pattern suggests using something from the Raven Clan and that's the way I'm leaning. Probably Pallas Athena or Rauen.

I tried something else in there too, but it has vanished - I don't remember anymore. Anyway, I'm on the heel flap for the first sock after doing quite a short leg and that's essentially the only useful thing I've done since Tuesday.

I'm in a hurry to finish up some UFOs because the next semester of the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup is starting May 1st and I want to be able to sign up for some classes. I've been lurking in this group since early March and am really looking forward to participating in the summer term. I need to finish the Henly and these two pairs of socks because I want to be able to cast on a new project guilt free!

Speaking of Ravelry Groups - I started my own this week. I'm now the moderator for the Lakeside Fibers Love Group- yes, Lakeside is my yarn store. So far it's small, but we have lots of fans, so I'm sure it'll be as big as the Facebook group soon.

So, self: Henly Hoodie, Gold Shell Socks, Ireland Boot Socks, Wisconsin Heartwarmer! Time to buckle down!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Progress with Little to Show for It

I ended up not doing much sewing on Sunday - actually the only thing sewing related was that I bought a pattern for a maid of honor dress. I found some GORgeous fabric but I want my bride's approval before I shell out for it, so I haven't purchased it yet.

Most of the day on Saturday was spent knitting on the Shell Socks. It was a lovely day and I wish I could have been knitting outside, but at least I got tons of progress done on the socks. Took some pretty great pictures too, if I do say so myself.

These are the Child's First Socks in Shell Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. These are the ones I made back in January for my mom - you can tell I like this pattern because I knit three complete socks for her (the first didn't fit and I had to reknit) and now I'm making some for myself. I have had to alter the pattern though - my gigantic feet require a less dainty and more manly sock.

The last couple of days we've had a cold snap here in WI. Well, it's normal for this time of year, but it feels like a cold snap this year. It's been all wet and rainy, and so the work forges ahead on the Henly Hoodie.

I must admit, all this stockingnette is somewhat tiresome, but I have Hercule Poriot to help me with it, and the color - the color is lovely. I'm really tailoring it to myself too, so I hope to have a really flattering final product.

I love a nice overcast day when you can get good photos. Hopefully the Hoodie will start zipping along - I want to be able to wear it this spring! Until this blessed cold snap, it was getting too warm!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stash/Mood Enhancement

It was such a Jonah day today. Started bad, continued bad, ended sort of bad. Went out to dinner with Jorah and got a little cheered up - a lot, actually, he's the bee's knees - but the great thing about today is this:

My Blue Moon Fiber Arts package came today!!!

And here are the goodies:

A set of large sock blockers (I have surprisingly large feet - they are beautiful, but large. I'm actually kind of vain about them.) These are my Pirate's Booty Socks modeling for you. They're the STR the bosslady gave us all for Christmas, and I'm glad she did, because Pirate's Booty is on hiatus right now. These sock blockers are completely gorgeous by the way, even more beautiful in person.

County Clare Socks That Rock Lightweight

Blue Brick Wall Socks That Rock Lightweight

The photos are awful, it's true - it's already after dark here so no natural light. But still - beautiful new yarn and sock blockers! I'll be able to take pretty pictures of all of the socks I'm going to knit for my lovely feet. I think Blue Brick Wall are going to become Pomatomus Socks based off of these beautiful ones by jhelanee. I've been admiring them for weeks. I think County Clare are going to become these lovely socks I just found today - Blackrose Socks.

To think that seven months ago I had never knit a pair of sock weight socks. Now I find socks to be basically a mood-altering drug.

It's too dark to see it really well, but I snatched a picture of my Big Bad Baby Blanket too. I'm going to need some more yarn - need to call Hilton Hacienda tomorrow and see if they'll ship me some. I'm loving this blanket. It's more green in person, and not at all orange as it is sort of appearing in that picture.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Summer Project 2008

So last summer I decided that it was the perfect time to knit a big wool blanket in my apartment without air conditioning. It was a secret present for Jorah, who was out of town doing math. His secret passion (not so secret, he has a blog too) is baseball, especially the Chicago Cubs.

I worked a chart out using Excel (took forever) and knit the center part back and forth, and then picked up stitches and knit the border out. The blue section is basketweave and then the red/white stripe around the outside is garter stitch.

This was a really great project and I'm super happy with the finished result. It's made of O-Wool Classic, which is a beautiful, beautiful, lovely, soft, well spun organic wool. I'm really quite sad that we're not carrying it anymore - I vowed after I knit this that it was going to become my smooth-textured multi-ply solid-colored wool from here on out. It's a little more expensive than something like Cascade 220, but it is head and shoulders nicer and worth every penny.

This is one of my favorite projects, and one of the ones we use most frequently. Oh, it's finished size is about 47" x 58".

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sundays are for Sewing

I've decided to declare Sunday a sewing day. I quite like sewing, when I do it, and I have a short queue of projects I've been planning on sewing for awhile now. Since I started the Cathedral Window last Sunday and had picked up some more fat quarters, I thought today (yesterday at this point) would be perfect.

I always said when I was teaching Sewing I that sewing is about 70% ironing, 30% sewing, but really, this Cathedral pattern feels like about 99.9% ironing. In reality it's not - all I did today was the machine piecing, I have hours yet of hand work to do on the little sample you see - but the truthiness of it (as Colbert would say) is that I have spent the day ironing.

There was a little more to my day than that, of course. Jorah and I went for a mini-bike ride, my first in maybe two and a half years. It was really quite fun - it was a beautiful day and we rode out to Tenney Park and looked at the lake.

I also knitted a teeny bit. Right now I've got that Henly Hoodie going, a pair of gold Child's First Socks, the Heartwarmer (stalled, need to pick back a bit to change needle size), and last night I started a baby blanket. It's based off the Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch & Bitch, which I don't have and haven't read, but I love that blanket, so I've unvented it.

I bought the yarn for it at the Hilton Hacienda Alpaca Farm outside of Plymouth - a friend and I went up to visit that friend who moved last summer, the one I made the Latvian Mittens for, and stopped there on the way back. The yarn is an alpaca blend sock yarn, and I'm quite loving the combination of holding two colorways together. I'm loving it so much that it's pretty much all I want to work on. But as I have now declared, Sunday is for Sewing.

The other big news! Someone on Ravelry bought my Kidsilk Night that I've been hemming and hawing about for the last almost two years. I finally realized I was never going to knit it and let it go. With the money she's paying me, I'm finally placed my first order from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Not telling what I got - but I can't wait for it to get here!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Squeal of Geeker Joy

If you heard some squealing coming from South Central Wisconsin at about a 1:15 on Friday morning, it was me finding this: Buffy & Angel Sock Yarn.

My favorites and, I think, the best ones, are Lorne and Angel. Overall though, I love the Team Angel set. As the Furies would say, "Mmmmmhhhhh, Angel . . ."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Henly Hoodie

Well, the Henly Hoodie has begun and I just had to put up a picture of how beautiful the Dream in Color is looking. So far it's easy-peasy, and I'm writing everything down this time so that I"ll be able to write up a pattern for it at least in this size. For now I must just adore the Dream in Color. Beautiful.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Long Awaited Photoshoot

Yay, it's the Christmas Tree of Life Pullover, also known as the River Forest Gansey from Handknit Holidays, possibly my favorite knitting book ever.

In spite of all of the complaining I've done over the past three months about this sweater, it really is great. I have to thank one of my friends at the yarn store for the assist on picking out the Harrisville Highland. I was leaning towards some Ultra Alpaca (which I love), but thinking about the Harrisville, and she convinced me that Harrisville was the way to go.

I was afraid that this color, while it is Jorah's favorite, would be too dark, but in the end I think there's great stitch definition. He really seems to love it too - he's worn it several times since it's been ready, including to that conference last week. He has also referred to it as "classy."

I made the smallest size, but at a slightly larger gauge. Jorah himself requested the slightly short arms (he has slightly short arms anyway) and I am expecting them to grow a teeny bit with use. I wince a little at the short arms, but he likes them, and since he most always has the sleeves pushed up anyway, I am determined not to worry about it.

Work continues on the Wisconsin Heartwarmer (I've started the suns) slowly but surely. I'm at the point where it's taking me about an hour to do two rows. This weekend I took a break from that and started a little sample Cathedral Window Quilt, using this tutorial on Hyena in Petticoats. It seems to be the industry standard - all the quilting blogs link to her. I'm certainly not about to give up knitting, but this Cathedral quilting is pretty beautiful.

I don't know what I'll do with it, but I've been thinking about it for a while now and I thought I'd give it a try. Honestly, I'm pretty enchanted and could see this becoming a long term project - it would probably only take me two or three years of dilligent, uninterrupted work to make a king size . . .

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Process vs. Product

For most of my life so far, I've been a process knitter. I knit because something looks interesting or fun to knit or I'd like a challenge or want to learn a new technique. Lately though, I've been finding projects I want to knit because I want the finished product.

I know I've mentioned that we're doing the big Ireland trip this summer, and I find myself with all of these things I want to knit before Ireland so I'll have them. There are also some things I want to knit before Kate's wedding. I think making the Bleeding Heart Raglan has really changed how I see my knitting - now that I'm knitting for myself I want to make things that I want. Does that make sense?

For summer I really want to have:
  1. Enough socks to wear handknit socks the whole time. (This is a pipe dream. I have three pairs of handknit socks right now.)
  2. The Henly Hoodie - I have the yarn for this but it otherwise exists solely in my head. This is what I bought that Dream In Color Classy Deep SeaFlower for the other day.
  3. Wisconsin Heartwarmer. The first one took me about 4 months - if I'm going to finish I really need to start cooking. I haven't shown the blog a picture of this yet, by the way, because I'm still in the plain purple part.
  4. Hey, Tomato. This sweater makes me sad . . . but it could be so cute!
  5. Electric Blue Lenpur Linen top to go over that white dress.
  6. These stockings from Eunny Jang in the leftovers from the Wisconsin Heartwarmer. (Which means I have to finish it in order to have leftovers.)
All of these things on the list are for me, because I want them. I do think they'll be fun to knit, but more than that, I think I'll enjoy having the finished products.

There are other things I really need to knit too - those two sweaters I said I'd finish for a friend, (I really don't want to do it anymore though). Some sweaters for my folks I promised . . . I would need to order yarn to do that though. I also want to experiment with some Cathedral Window quilting and make a new double pointed needle roll.

Fortunately, it's spring break so I have reduced hours this week. Bring on the knitting!