Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Smooth Operator

A friend of mine called last night. She strongly hinted that she would like another Silk Scarf for Christmas. Ok, she came right out and told me that is what I am giving her. We are close enough, that this doesn't bother me. Instead it frees my mind, allowing me to focus on other areas. So off I trotted to LYS to start the scarf.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk
Needles: US 6 bamboo
Pattern: In the Pure Silk book by Debbie Bliss

The yarn is so supple. To me, it almost feels like feathers. As with most silk, there is the tendency for my yarn to slip off the needles, thus the choice of bamboo. The pattern is very easy to memorize, with purling every WS row. A great commuter/waiting in line project for me. Total length is 68 inches. I have 12 inches done. Borderline on my decision to knit the scarf that long. When washing, this silk likes to stretch (I have already made this scarf once. Sadly, no pictures). In a perfect world I would knit a sweater out of this yarn. But for my "well controlled" budget, a sweater is a luxury, not a reality.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Pilgrim Needs Socks Too

Well, here I go again. Just finish a pair of socks and cast on for a new pair. I am going to use this beautiful blue, hand painted yarn from Artyarn to make Anastasia socks by Pepperknit.

The yarn was purchased at the end of September, see here. I was going use Wendy's Toe Up pattern and get a quick, happy knit. Now, I love Wendy's pattern, but felt this yarn needed a little help. My gauge swatch showed me that the color variation is very subtle. So, to add a little oomph, I began a search for the right pattern. While doing my daily blog reading, I stumbled on Pepperknit's blog and pattern. Love it!

I started these on Thanksgiving evening and was finished with the first one by Sunday night. The pattern is easy to follow, and she has left you with lots of options for customizing. I had to alter the amount of stitches cast on from 30 to 25; otherwise RM would be wearing lace spiral socks. Not a good look for him.

Also, I used my new Addi Turbo, size US2 circular needle to knit the sock using Magic Loop. I have only knitted socks on Magic Loop one other time. To be honest, I don’t have a preference between Magic Loop and DPN's. Each has their own merit. What I did discover, is that I love the Addi Turbo's. Definitely will explore these needles further.

Watch for pictures of my finished Embossed Leaves Socks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wool In Arizona?

Well, my mom's left Michigan.
For good.
I am the last one on that side of the family to remain here.

Health wise the move will be good for her. Mentally and physically she is in a better place. Less weather fluctuations mean improved mobility and pain free days. Yea mom! She has never lived outside of Michigan, and only traveled on vacations. Very brave, indeed.

Now, I am happy for her. But I have always had a parent close by to lean on in tough times. Some, definitely not all, examples:

1. Pop in the car and boom 25 minutes later they are here/I'm there.
2. When yard work got too big, Pooh-Bear (my Dad) would come over to help.
3. During the divorce from He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, parents would show up with gifts like toilet paper, toasters, or a Christmas tree. When you are down, these are more precious than a skein of pure cashmere.
4. I would stop by their house on my way to soccer games.
5. Free babysitting! Soccer Chica didn't have a real baby sitter until she was almost 9 years old because my parents were always there.
6. Holidays with family in my childhood home.
7. TP-ing the neighbors with mom as the get-away driver. Did I just admit to that? Nah.
8. Sunday evening boat rides

So now what do I do? Soon to be celebrating the 12th anniversary of my 27th birthday and I'm feeling a little lonely. I want my mommy. . .

I ask, "How the Hell am I supposed to knit a wool sweater for someone who lives in Arizona?"

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saturday Yarn Quest

Saturday, Soccer Chica had early morning training in Grand Rapids. I decided that while she was practicing, I would go on a short quest for new yarn. I visited two shops, City Knitting and Thread Bender.

City Knitting is a super shop, about 4 miles North of 28th Street. I only reference this because that's where the training facility was, hence my starting point. When you walk in, there are flyers for each class offered, plus knitted samples. The yarn selection is good. I was impressed with the use of plain brick walls, warm paint colors and contrasting black display boxes. The color of each yarn shows up beautifully against the black. The center of the store boasts a couch, some comfy chairs plus a rocker. To boot, there was a coffee table with muffins and goodies set out! I arrived just after they opened. Two knitters were already settled in and knitting on projects (can you say green with envy). There is a nook for felting, needles, and patterns. City Knitting also had a nice selection of hard to find needles. A second room that houses sock yarn and sport weight yarn with a big comfy chair. I think this is for the reluctant spouses that get dragged in here. The staff is friendly and very willing to help. Scored two skeins of Cascade 220. One in red (already gift to Heidi - the non-blogger) and one in plum for me. This will be another Sophie purse for a Christmas gift. I will definitely return to this shop.

The next shop is the Thread Bender (they do not have a web site that I could find) on 44th Street. This shop had a lot of yarn. I was very impressed with how light and open it felt. They had a large selection of Koigu in yummy-yummy colors. I wanted to buy it all! You know that feeling you get while looking at yarn? The haze begins to engulf you and you say to yourself "I could charge it. . . Do you think if I called the credit card company they would up my limit?" Well, I had that haze. Thank goodness Soccer Chica came in to the shop to save me. Thread Bender will be my next stop because I've wanted to knit socks in Koigu for a very long time. The shop also had looms and weaving supplies. The staff was friendly and very helpful. Plus, there is some Debbie Bliss in the sale bin! Rush in if you can. I am returning to this shop next week.

Note on both shops - keep an eye out for the outside shop signs. I think that city restrictions have hindered them, so the signs are small.

Also, visit Elliphantom Knits to see hers and then where she got inspiration! Very chic.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I Know A Warren Miller Film Star

Want to know my relationship to a Warren Miller Film Star?

Well, RM & I are in Warren's movie Cold Fusion. Yup, it's true. We are skiing down the hills, looking great with the sun glittering off the snow. (Don't we wish). No, we are not in the film for our skiing ability, but for our falling abilities! RM saw the crew at the top of the lift and wanted to see if we could get them to film us falling. RM, myself and four of our friends did just that. We all fell getting off the lift, causing it to come to a complete halt. The film crew were laughing. Hard. The lift crew was not. But in the end, our fall made it in the film.

What? You haven't heard of Warren Miller? Check out his web site here. He makes great skiing films. We go see them every year. Off the Grind is playing in Kalamazoo this weekend. If you don't like skiing or loud music, then this film is not for you. There is a lot of cheering, yelling and beer sales. Yup, beer at a movie. Love it!

We also have friends coming to stay for the weekend. Boo-boo is so excited to have more little ones his own age in the house. RM will be watching "the game of the century" with all his friends on Saturday. Soccer Chica and I will be at soccer training, then an indoor game. After that, I hope to get some knitting in with my friend Heidi. She is bringing her needles and yarn with her.

Bring on the knitting!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Any Guesses?

Did you figure out the problem here?

Note the very small amount of yarn not yet knit.

Yup. Ran out of yarn before the first sock was complete. Wasn't even half way through the foot! There was definitely enough yarn in the hank. In a moment of shining brilliance, I split the hank into two balls instead of one large one. Maybe measuring yarn after 11 pm and two glasses of wine is not a good idea?

So, I have made some progress on the Embossed Leaves socks (dark green). Used a Russian Join to splice in yarn so I could finish the toe. Good tutorial here. The Sleeping Dragon yarn is superwash. Consequently, I am a little worried that the join may fray. Only a good wash will tell.

The other sock (light green) is The Betweener from Socks, The Basics by Jaye Quadrozzi, knit in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK. These are soooo soft. Definitely a bed sock, not something I would wear in shoes on a daily basis. But very comfy!

Before you ask, I am upside down (feet straight in the air) on the couch. This is to get a shot that doesn't make my legs look like 100 year old tree trunks. Heaven knows the legs look that old because of how dry they are. Why complicate things more by adding fat, I mean water retention, to the mix? My thought was maybe gravity would help pull all the fat, I mean water retention, away from the ankles. Allowing you to focus only on the bark I have for skin or the socks. You choose.

If you want some new ideas, check out the Winter 2006 Preview of Interweave Knits. I am in love with the Equestrian Blazer. If there is hope of finding yarn already in my stash, the blazer may get knit before the wrap.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Frantically Finished Fetching

Say that five times fast!

Pattern: Fetching, Knitty - Summer 2006

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino DK
Wedgewood Blue

Needles: US 4 dpn Bamboo

Start/Finish: October 29, 2006/November 7, 2006

Modifications: Tried to continue rib pattern on thumb. Not sure if I will do that again. Also, in blocking, I left the bottom to roll - kinda like that effect. Gracefully (in a manly way, ofcourse) shown on Boo-boo before blocking.

It's quiet here this morning . . . RM and Boo-boo are off to church. I have a date with the recliner and Sunday paper. Should pick up some knitting. Want to pick up some knitting. Can't find a pattern I am in love with that will use up some stash yarn. I have a yearning for a cardigan. Plain with some ribbon and no buttons. Anybody know of a good pattern? Maybe I'll go with a cable hoodie with a zipper. . . hmmmmmm.

This is on my mind today. Now, we are all skiers. Yes. Everyone. Even Boo-boo, who by the way, has been skiing for two years already. Both kids also skied one season in the warmth and comfort of my tummy! In fact, I found out I was pregnant for Soccer Chica on a ski trip! Each winter weekend possible we go here. RM even proposed to me on the slopes of this resort. Between RM and I, we have skiing at Boyne Mountain each weekend for more than 10 years. So there are a lot of memories connected to Boyne. I know this year will be no exception.

So, I say, bring on the snow!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Something's Clearly Wrong

Can you figure it out?

Go on. Take a guess. I'll post the answer in a few days.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Progress . . .

Don't forget to vote. Your political views don't matter to me. That's the beauty - you get your views, I get mine. What does matter is that you cast your vote and be heard.

Well, here is the progress on my Embossed Leaves Socks. See how quick this is moving along? What do you think of the cuff? It is rather large. Not sure if I want to make it smaller and add an additional repeat or leave as is. I am knitting these on US2 bamboo dpn's. So far, the size is ok, but my hand knit socks always end up with a loose toe. Now, when I was younger that might sound interesting in a weird-o kind of way. But today, I just want the socks to fit properly. Only time will tell. Maybe a couple of decreases in the side purl stitches? This would decrease the total stitch count by, um, two whole stitches. Not sure that would make much difference. Hmmmmmm.

*Photo Removed* On to another progress shot. Our model is wearing my third pair of fetching wrist warmers. Sorry about the blurry photo, Little Man was not a willing participant in the shoot. I can't say enough about this pattern. It knits up quick. All have been intended as gifts. I admit to keeping the cashmere set. My picot bind-off seems "frillier" (is that a word?) than the pattern photo. So, I prefer not to drive in them. But they are great for soccer games! This pair is knitted with Debbie Bliss' Merino DK in a Wedgewood Blue. I purchased it here. If you are in Kalamazoo, MI this is a good place to stop. Large selection of yarn/supplies and very helpful ladies.

An additional reminder here. . .

Monday, November 06, 2006

Raking in the Leaves

I have been working hard in the yard raking leaves. Even in the snow! This week it's going to be in the high 50's, so this project is my first priority.

Must. Set. Yarn. Down. Eeeeek!

I have also raked in a different type of leaf. I love the design of these socks. Just for the record, they are Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt. Pattern is found in Interweave Knits, Winter 2005. They knit up fast with just enough variety to keep you interest. Easy to memorize repeats make them a suitable travel/communiting project. But what I really love is how they feel on your feet. The wool is warm, but the lace allows for air circulation around the piggies. Heaven, I tell you, Heaven. Soccer Chica has a pair in hot pink that I made a month or so ago. Now if she will wear them for comfort, you know they must be. A 14 year old girl wears nothing for comfort. Getting ready to cast on another pair in Sleeping Dragon's Mossy Frog Colorway. The greens are so yummy and will remind me of spring during the cold winter.

Off rake more leaves . . . 6 bags done, 100's more to go.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cashmere . . . Bliss

Now, I admit I don't know enough about this subject yet.

But I have a love affair with Debbie Bliss designs and Yarn. Her designs tricked me into knitting my first project. So when I began hearing the rumors of no cashmere in her yarn (here and here), I was shocked. Jumping to her defense (hopefully, not to be proven wrong) I trust her.

Simply stated, I will continue to purchase her yarn and design books.

Ok, that's done. Now here is the next project I want to begin from Debbie Bliss' Alpaca Silk Two. I have the yarn in my stash, just need to get the pattern book.

See it here. It is simple and classic. I love a wrap sweater because it is flattering to most figures. You can dress it up with a silk cami and skirt or down with jeans and t-shirt. Plus the ribbon detail is so feminine.

I have been searching for the pattern book for almost two month's! All three local yarn stores do not have it. So, on my trip to Grand Rapids, I thought I could check out the Yarn Shops up there. Worse case scenario, I will order it on line.

I am thinking of joining cmeknit's KAL. It would be my first KAL, so I am a little nervous. It's the whole commitment thing (story for another post). . . so we'll see.

There are several other Debbie Bliss designs in the queue, but first things first. Started Fetching, in a Debbie Bliss yarn (see previous post). Also, casted on for Embossed Leaves Socks in some Sleeping Dragon yarn and need to finish a Sophie purse. Busy, busy, busy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fall is Blue

In Michigan we have a lovely Fall. I could wax poetically about the trees, color of the leaves and the crisp air. Gently winding and twisting this theme into a woven tale of autumn. It could make you yearn for a visit to our great State to experience the beauty yourself. But I won't.

This fall has been odd, to say the least. One day it was summer. Temperatures were in the mid-70's and we were swimming every day. BAM. The next day it was (insert what you want to call it, I can't write the words I want to use here) rainy and temperatures were in the high 30's! Now, I like Fall. But this indecision by Mother Nature drives me insane. You try standing outside for two hours to watch Soccer Chica "warm-up" and then play a whole game in driving rain the temperature of ice-cubes. She sometimes has three games a weekend! This is how I have spent the last few weekends.

There are positives. Yes, if I look closely I find them. This time of year the lake is almost silent. Sitting on my couch and watching the swans swim by, with a background of autumn colors is breath-taking. Watching Soccer Chica play a game she dearly loves and win (I am all about the "w") is worth every minute in the cold and rain. I forgot to mention that during her warm-up I get to sit in the car and knit.

You would think with the fall colors, I would be into oranges and browns. Nope. Right now I am buying blue yarn. Proof in point, latest prize from LYS. Notice, some of the blue theme peeking through? Starting at top and working clockwise:

Yarn: Ella Rae Superwash
Fiber: 100% Wool
Use: Not sure, I just love the color!

Yarn: Debbie Bliss
Fiber: 100% Merino Wool
Use: Odessa and Fetching as gifts for Christmas

Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino
Fiber: 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Use: Wendy's Sock's with my own lace pattern added

PS - Will you be voting next Tuesday? I will.