Saturday, November 29, 2008

rock on

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and has stuffed themselves accordingly as a kick off to the "eating season": the period between Thanksgiving and the New Year when you constantly have a mouth full of food.

Thanksgiving was a little stressful for me this year. I offered to host, so my Mom could have a break and focus on her health issues, but she refused--so my sister and I ended up trekking over to her house several hours early on Thursday to do the cooking in her tiny kitchen. Of course, despite strict instructions to kick back and relax, she insisted on fussing about the kitchen, snarling at us when we tried to do something the "wrong" way. Not really relaxing for anyone. But the food was good and there was plenty of it--so much that I couldn't even manage to scarf down any pie after dinner.

So after that nonsense, I was happy to return home from Thanksgiving #2 (at the in-laws) last night to find my third package from the Falling for Ewe yarn swap. Check out the awesomeness:

The dark yarn, I'm quite happy to say, is Socks That Rock! I've been dying to try it, I'm so psyched. The lighter yarn is a delightfully squishy wool/silk blend that I can't wait to knit something snuggly with.

In other knitting news, I'm slowly slowly slowly working on un-knitting the last row of the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I have very limited patience for it, so I give up every 10 stitches or so.

I did manage to finished a project, I'm happy to say: the Through the Loops Mystery Socks are complete.Lovely pattern, interesting but not overly complicated.

And I've managed to actually get started on 2 Christmas gifts!

Classic Gloves

Using some KPPP I originally bought to make socks for J and then realized didn't have the necessary yardage.

Shifting Sands

Using this GORGEOUS Manos del Uruguay silk blend in pewter; I just adore this shade of gray/blue.

Shifting Sands, I'm delighted to report, has me using all kinds of new techniques. First, I decided to try Jared/Brooklyn Tweed's mods to create a hem, so I did a provisional cast on. Then, after finding the constant cabling too fiddly, I decided to try cabling without a cable needle. I got the hang of it very quickly I'm glad to say (I've knit about 2 more inches since I took the picture), and it really makes this a much much easier project--I knit through Home Alone this afternoon. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Remember how I said this cable didn't look too difficult, and I would definitely have the sweater done by Thanksgiving? I'm sure some of you tried to stifle a giggle--and you were oh so right.

I just finished row 3 of the cable chart, and had an extra stitch at the end. So, where did I go wrong? I don't know. I assume I miscounted stitches somewhere along the way . . . and I have no idea how to fix this. If I rip out the row, all the stitches will be out of order, and it will take approximately eleventy jillion years to get them back on the needle in their correct order and then do the row all over again.

Sigh. With so much Christmas knitting to be done, I really don't have time for these kinds of knitting hijinx. Grrrr.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

tangled up in heather and tweed

Well, it's been a long time coming, but we're finally at the crucial point: the tangled yoke of the Tangled Yoke Cardigan (cue trumpets, loud cheering, general fanfare.).

The cable doesn't look overly-complicated, just time consuming. I'm still not sure about the bobbles--I'm not really a "bobble" kinda girl--but they're small and unassuming, so perhaps it will work. (I've also read ahead in the pattern a bit and am quite confused by the instructions for the neckband--something about picking up stitches, and folding something over something else and doing a three needle bind off and then, ta-da! a neckband! so if anyone has any insight on that segment, please let me know.)

Still plugging away on the second TTL sock, but making good progress, and also cast on for the famous chevron scarf for my sister for Christmas, which is easy peasy, but slow going all the same (and since it involves two balls of yarn, not very portable).

Unfortunately I'm way, WAY behind on a bunch of other Christmas gifts, despite my best efforts not to be "that knitter" this year. So i may be cutting down the list a bit.

And I'll admit, until right this very second, I'd completely forgotten that I even have the henley perfected on the needles as well. Oops. Needless to say, no progress there.

And no--no hat, scarf or gloves for yours truly either. And it's really getting chilly here--snow flurries yesterday (that I missed, stuck in a boring meeting). Hopefully I can squeeze them in between gifts--I really don't want to wait until after Christmas to finally have cozy knits of my own.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Falling for Ewe Question of the Week #7

What foods do you like to bake this time of year?
Are there any that are traditional to you?

I LOVE to bake, I'm definitely more of a baker than a cook. This time of year it's anything pumpkin--muffins, bread, cheesecake, etc. (but no pie until Thanksgiving!) Pretty soon it will be Christmas cookies, and probably foodie holiday gifts for people in the office. I usually try a few new, creative cookies, but always stick with a few traditional ones too. I'd like to try chrusciki (Polish angel wings) again, but they're quite a handful!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stitches East: Review

Well, that's it. That's my haul from Stitches. I was positively restrained, I tell you (no, not physically, although in retrospect some kind of shocking device wouldn't have been a bad idea . . . ). Left to right we have a skein of laceweight from Knitting Notions in Pumpkin Spice, Malabrigo lace in Brillante, Tornado Sock from StormMoonKnits in I Kissed a Girl (LOVE her colorway names), Malabrigo Sock in Impressionist Sky, and another skein of laceweight from Knitting Notions in Dark Rose. How'd I do?

Additional yarns were calling out to me, of course--I could hear their whispers as I wandered the aisles, it was a touch disconcerting--but I managed to pull my grubby little hands away from the Manos del Uruguay silk blends, and some beautiful blue-faced leicester sock yarn (which, at $28/skein, I really didn't need--ok, I really didn't need it at any price!), not to mention all the Koigu and Dream in Color and Cherry Tree Hill and . . . well, the list goes on, there was certainly no shortage of yarn.

I got to the Market around 10:30 yesterday morning. The nice thing about being a Baltimore native is that I knew where to park on the cheap, so I got street parking for $1/hour instead of being sucked dry by a garage near the Convention Center. Since I'm usually in the city for baseball games and nights out, I was surprised by how quiet it was in the morning. It was downright enjoyable, meandering the streets in peace (without fearing for my life; I don't want to scare anyone away from Baltimore, as it is an awesome city, but it's tricky--there are some pretty unsafe neighborhoods in very close proximity to the tourist traps). Here's a random shot of the Bromo Seltzer Tower I took on my walk:

As I set foot in the market, the first thing I did was make a beeline for WEBS, where I picked up the Malabrigo. I'm sure my Falling for Ewe swap partner was well-intentioned in sending me a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo a couple months ago, but she's created a monster. Now I'm obsessed with it, and truly felt that if I didn't get a skein of their sock yarn, I was going to off somebody--and with so very many pointy knitting needles around, well, controlling that impulse may have been difficult. Fortunately, I was placated early on. (Not to mention a bit weirded out being rung up at the WEBS booth by Steve, whose melodious voice serenades me via podcast while I [pretend to] work.)

After accomplishing that task, I mostly wandered about looking at, petting, and occasionally buying yarn. To be honest, I was a little disappointed not to see more "young" (hardy har har) knitters my age. Perhaps they decided to wait until the afternoon to shop--nursing all those Friday night hangovers! After a quick trip to feed the meter, I trotted back to the Convention Center and took a spin around the concession area looking for the lunchtime Ravelry meet up, but didn't spot anyone. I abandoned the yarn briefly to peruse books, but didn't happen across any of the Norah Gaughan volumes that I so desperately want/need. As the day wore on, the market grew more and more crowded until it was virtually impossible to monopolize a skein of yarn to pet, so I went on my merry way. I'm sure I would've enjoyed taking a class or two--hindsight is 20/20--and of course, rumor has it that next year Stitches is moving to Connecticut, so I guess I missed my chance.

What I really enjoyed was seeing so many people wearing handknits (despite it being a rather unseasonably warm 65 degrees in Charm City yesterday). Almost everyone had something on their person, and while there were certainly some What Not To Knits (oh, the fun fur, the overzealous ruffles, the bizarre color combos, the sheer itchiness of it all!), for the most part the various sweaters, shawls and socks were fashionable and inspiring.

However, please note, things I will NOT be knitting: the February Lady Sweater. I spotted 3 of them in the first hour at Stitches, it was a virtual parade.

Question of the Week #6

What seasonal knitting projects are you looking forward to?

I've got plenty of Christmas gifts waiting in the wings, does that count as seasonal (one of my coworkers said he wants gloves--but I'm sure he meant mittens, right?!?)? I don't think I'm going to get around to Christmas stockings this year either, but I am hoping to do a few of these knit Christmas ornaments. And of course, I'm still working on a collection of winter accessories for myself--I need a scarf, a hat, and some gloves. I've got the yarn . . . just not the time!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cowl Me

I know, I know, I promised to blog this past weekend and I didn't. That's me, I just don't keep my promises. Shame.

But look what I do have:

One sock! This is the Through the Loops Mystery Sock-along sock--so far it's a single sock without a mate, but I hope to finish the second one by the end of the month so I can post it to the group and be entered in the contest for more sock yarn. Because who doesn't need more sock yarn?

Not sure if I'll keep this pair or pass them along to my sister--I'm behind on Christmas knitting (of course!), so making them a gift seems the most logical thing to do.

Still plugging away on the Tangle Yoke sleeves (1 sleeve down, 1 to go), but I came down with a bout of startitis the other night and just had to knit something new. I've been meaning to knit myself a scarf (and a hat, and some gloves and . . . ), but haven't gotten around to it yet, so I decided a quick "transition" accessory was in order. I went with A Noble Cowl, and used my beloved Manos del Uruguay silk blend:

You can't really see the lace pattern very clearly here, but it's pretty and warm and not itchy, and that's what counts.

I did order the yarn for my scarf and gloves from The Loopy Ewe earlier this week--after which they promptly added some Malabrigo lace and sock yarns to their stock. Bummer. It would just be ridiculous to order from them again so quickly. So I keep reminding myself there will be plenty o' yarn to buy this weekend at Stitches!