Saturday, December 30, 2006

surprised me

I got my Vogue Knitting in the mail - apparently before it's hit the stands!
and then was surprised to read comments that the issue was not well recieved!

I actually like a few things.

the construction for this pattern involves quite a few strategically placed pieces and has short rows! I like it very much!

I'm not a big fair isle fan, but the edge color detail on the front pieces of this sweater are very cool.

There is also a piece not shown in the preview - it has a knitted top and crocheted bottom - it's VERY pretty - I would really like to do that one - I am thinking of doing top and bottom in different colors!

and finally this piece, in the crazy roses section - is very cool. it's an impressionistic version of roses and the black and blue color blocks on the shoulder and bottom right go onto the back - it is actually very pretty. I would consider doing this at some point.

I agree - they did go cable crazy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

knitting has been interrupted

by working two days a week
but I finished the urban aran, sans zipper, which is on its way from the zipper stop

knitting was completed in 11 days
the hardest part, besides following three patterns at one time, was the collar
the length is a lot longer than prescribed and the arms are a little longer as well, but it is very comfy and I can't wait for the weather to get cold enough so that I can wear it without sweating

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

personalized gifts

I didn't think that I would have time to knit wine bottle cozies for my friends, so I decided to knit something with their initial on it.

It could be a coaster.

It could be a doohickey.

It could be a forget-me-not.

I don't know what it really is.

I put felt on the back to cover up the running strands of yarn.

I used KnitPro. I used my photo/image editor IrfanView to create the image of each letter.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

itchy is subjective

Elann yarn arrived Saturday around noon.
I was in the middle of the persimmon cardigan and immediately put it down with the intention of skeining the new yarn and giving it a Eucalan soak.

But it was completely unnecessary.

Maybe the other knitters had itchy skeins, or maybe their itchy factor is lower than mine, but in any case, I find this yarn to be VERY soft in comparison with a Lopi or some other heinous yarns I've felt (and felted).

This pattern is not for the faint of heart.
For 48 rows you've got to track three different patterns/panels. I've got 18 left.

I've ripped out several times.
And have kept my eyes glued to BrooklynTweed's pictures as I've gone along. I don't think I could have kept going without them.

Also thoughts this morning as I was completing my very own designed last minute knitted gifts, how grateful I am that I was taught at such a young age to sew, knit, crochet, thread a needle. There are people who are completely amazed at these skills, which I take for granted. Thanks grandma and mom, wherever you are....

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Why I love blogs

2. obtaining needed information on what to do when the elann yarn arrives
3. metablogs
4. a place I can document my work and learnings

Friday, December 15, 2006

It will be a Channukah miracle

I am on the toe of the second sock and have been very worried for two days that I won't have enough yarn. I even emailed the cashmere yarn seller to see if he had more - and he checked his stock, had sold the last of it, and there is no more to be had.

I've ripped the toe out once, and need to again - so I'll have the final pic tomorrow.

Here is my new yarn balled, I'm dying knit it (can I at least get one pun in?).

But this is a better picture of the actual color.

And here is an object that was finished last month. This was done in a mohair/acrylic blend - it's a Japanese knitting pattern. The stick holding it together is a sweater closure that I asked my father, who is a wood carver, to make for me. Do you like it? I can't decide...

My Elann yarn has not showed up yet - probably because the postal gods knew the sock wasn't done yet.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

always designing

Last night we watched a portion of the Steven Colbert Report - and I couldn't take my eyes off of his tie!

I love the colors.
This morning I perused Vintage Knits and saw an argyle pattern. Dave had asked me to knit him an argyle vest for golf. I instantly saw the tie colors as the vest.
Knitpicks has some great colors.

Sheree was working with this yarn last night - it looked thick - but I think it could be compressed and look good on a US 6.

I'm getting more and more interested in learning about designing knitting patterns.
I found this book and may get it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"I'm a glugger."

I decided to forgo the usual punny post titles and just let you know that Melissa is not exact measurer when she dyes. I got to learn all about dyeing yesterday and dye my own yarn for this project:

I've talked about this cardigan before, and I'll be talking about it more in the future, and not just because I'll be knitting it!

Melissa just started her yarn dyeing business. She works out of her home.

Here is her assortment of dyes and equipment.

Here are two of four skein winders that she has.

This is where she sets up the dyes she will use, next to the stove.

I decided to use 100% Alpaca (Misti Alpaca) {and not cashmere or cashmere silk or merino silk or wool/angora/cashmere}.

I put each skein on a winder and added two more cotton ties to make sure that it wouldn't come apart when it took the dye bath.

Then I added each skein to a tub of warm water to soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour. They sunk automatically.

Here are all skeins submerged in the tub.

I picked out the color I wanted.

She showed me a sweater that was exactly the color I wanted - a dark aubergine!

We chose ProChem dyes Persimmon and would add Raven (black) to make it darker.

We needed to make some dye, so we boiled water, put on the haz mat gear (so as not to breathe any of the dye dust), added just enough water to a beaker to make a paste. It was very gritty. Then added more water.

We filled a squirt bottle then put the remaining liquid dye into a separate tub.

Below is the HUGE pot that contained water. Melissa added some vinegar to the water to make sure that the dye would stick to the yarn.

We added the liquid dye to it.

We took the tub that the yarn was soaking in and poured the water out of the tub.

Then we dropped the skeins into the pot and stirred and stirred and stirred.

We kept adding more dye to make it darker.

We increased the temperature gradually to almost a boil. At the end we added more dye, so we let it cook longer. I think the whole yarn in the pot process took about an hour. We turned off the heat and let it sit for a bit.

Then we poured the pot's contents into a strainer. By this point the fibers weren't felted put were sticking together quite a bit. "This is normal for alpaca," she assured me.

We rinsed off the yarn and let it sit for a bit. Then took each matted skein and worked to separate it from the others. Rinsed each one of those off, straightened out the skeins and placed each one into the black tray.

Her husband made her a wood frame that she could dry her skeins on. We put each skein on a peg.

Here is a close up of the yarn while it's drying.

I have a whole new appreciation for this process. It was SO labor intensive! That process took about four hours. And my work isn't done yet! I still have to untangle the skeins to wind them into balls!

I'm suck a dork, I love this kind of stuff. I begged her to let me take home a tangled skein of yarn so that I could make it beautiful again. It took two hours - it was 420 yds!

In knitting news: I finally received my urban aran pattern. So I ordered the elann yarn plus some more Eucalan. It will most likely be here by the end of the week. I have to finish my sock and am VERY close to finishing the special project - so the few days will give me time to be ready to start a new project.

I am now starting to search online to find yarn stores in Italy and France. We'll be traveling there next year and would love to check some out!

Friday, December 08, 2006

morning surf scarf in morning mist

I've said it before

and I'll say it again.

I am a sucker for suggestion.

I just saw this post.
In particular the cabled cardigan and it looked so nice - I was instantly on a search to see more of the inside of the book from which it came and find the book at the price (which I did and know I'm tormented over a $5 book purchase). It turns out it's a how-to on knitting:

The illustrated pages containing over 200 photographs teach readers how to read a pattern, determine gauge, and accurately shape each project. A helpful stitch library and discussion of color encourages increasingly confident knitters to design new looks. And the benefits, warm hand-knit pieces and an outlet to relax and refresh the mind, are irresistible. 30 projects include shawls and ponchos, floor cushions, baby blankets, mittens, and a dog coat. This book offers an informative and fun look at the history and development of knitting.

I don't want shawl, poncho, mitten, and dog coat patterns. But lord knows I could use help on determining gauge.

My father's scarf was posted on Wednesday and now I'm working on finishing the second Hedera sock, a second scarf for a special project, and I'm awaiting my urban aran pattern to arrive today - and as soon as it does I'll be purchasing the elann yarn.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I've joked...

that Canada will be the new California.
It is December 6th and 81F degrees outside right now.

Tomorrow I will be getting the Patons Street Smart pattern book for the Urban Aran - but will I really want to buy the wool yarn that it calls for and knit it up?
I really like wearing my finished objects. Today I'm wearing the steel grey wool boucle wrap cardigan sweater and SWEATING.
When will I be able to enjoy the things I've knit?

Monday I'll be heading over to my long-time knitting buddy's house to watch and learn how to dye wool! She just started her own business selling hand-dyed 100% cashmere. It's VERY NICE.

When I'm not knitting, I'm reading about knitting online.
When I'm not reading about knitting online, I'm thinking about pattern ideas.
I think I would like to get a sketch book and keep it handy - I would definitely like to learn more about designing knitted garments.

My style is very simple and elegant. I don't get into all the colorwork - I like stitching details that make an ordinary design unique.

I get inspired by so many things. On the 405, on the way north for Thanksgiving, I saw a truck driver's sleeve - can't get the image out of my mind. Y&R's Ashley's shirt 3/4" sleeves and the neckline was wide, not too deep - perfect.

Monday, December 04, 2006

very pointy

I know it's just a scarf, but I'm amazed that I did it one day.

the colors are, nicely put, controversial, but I'm hoping that since my father is color blind, he won't notice.

now I have a skein of nutmeg leftover. it's not worth the postage to send back.

and those knitpicks options are way too pointy for a pusher like me.

I was in the process of developing a bit of callus on my first finger, right hand.

I also bought these blocking pins at knitpicks, I love that they're made out of piano string and such a cute container!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I couldn't resist

I know that this has may seem to have nothing to with knitting.
But since I read about it here and here, both knitters, and since I have been doing some freelance, emphasis on the FREE, work about how to get one's website noticed, I decided it was important.

If you are reading this and have a blog, he askes you post and link, too.

awake, thinking of ripping

It was all I could do to no get out of bed on Thursday night and run to check the gauge on the vest pattern from knitsimple fall 06. I had already taken back the buttons that I bought for the Japanese vest cape pattern and knew in my hear that it would be ripped soon. ill-fitting.

but it didn't stop there. consumed with a yarn choice for sahara, and feelingly extra miserly, I decided that I would rip out a sweater I made two years ago.

it contains a very nice taupey merino silk that is the perfect weight. this sweater is very bulky anyway.

when I told Dave of my plans, he balked, "I like that sweater!"

Ummm, yeah, no.

the cape vest was unraveled first thing on Friday morning. the front of the vest is knitted and I'm working on the back now.