Tuesday, January 30, 2007

fo: lichen ribbed socks

i finished my second complete pair of socks! hooray! and i love them so. my jaywalkers will always have sentimental value as my first pair, but these...these i will actually wear, and wear often.

you might recall that i started these way back in november. i knit the first sock almost entirely during the week we spent in the uk, and then when i got back to seattle, i never quite got around to starting the second sock during the holidays. january came around and i was finally able to start the second sock. i significantly picked up the pace on this pair: the first sock took basically a week, and this one probably took a week and a half? two weeks? not a world record by any standards, but still an improvement over last time.

so the pattern is nancy bush's lichen ribbed socks from knitting vintage socks. the only thing i didn't like about this pattern is the welsh heel - it has a weird seam down the center of the heel that i just don't find appealing. but since you can't really see the heel when wearing them, it's hardly a problem. the pattern was so easy to follow, and i love how the finished socks fit - the three-point star toes look a little weird, but fit great. i will be knitting many more of nancy's sock patterns, for sure.

and the yarn! this is yarntini's cherry cordial self-striping sock yarn. it was my first experience using self-striping yarn and i think i'm hooked. plus, my stripes match up! i stupidly started decreasing for the toe about three rows too late on the second sock, so the very tip of the toe has slightly mismatched stripes, but i'm just going to call it even.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

madrona stash enhancement

yesterday i went to madrona and had lots of fun in the marketplace! i think i did pretty well - i can comfort myself with the fact that my friend spent way more money than i, and i came home with some dreamy stuff! i even spotted a yarn harlot while i was there, so i think the day was a success.

one of my new year's knitting resolutions is to try out a more complicated lace project than i've done before (which isn't saying much - orangina is about as complicated as i've gotten). so to get me started on that, i picked up some handmaiden sea silk. i loooooooove this yarn. i keep petting it. they were running low on this stuff by the time i got there, and they only had a few colors left. i almost wish i'd chosen the red now, because i'm a little scared that a lace shawl in white is going to look too bridal, but we'll see. regardless, i am in love with this yarn.

apparently i plan on making TWO lace pieces this year, because i also picked up some of this italian cashwool yarn as well. it's by zegna baruffa, which i'd never heard of before, and it actually doesn't have any cashmere in it at all - it's 100 percent extra fine merino. it is the skinniest yarn i've ever seen, and so soft. and a bargain at $13 a skein! i think i'll have to use two strands of this stuff together, but i loved the color and think it will make another pretty shawl. now i just need to pick out some good shawl patterns! the frog tree stuff shown with it is to make the beret from the winter interweave knits issue. i am such a sucker for that shade of green. other than that, i just picked up a few issues of knitscene, which i'm excited about. i was good and skipped the str table and some nature's palette sock yarn. go me!

and finally, i didn't buy this at madrona, but i bought it recently and it deserves showing off. it's some blue skies alpaca royal in the color 'spanish leather.' it's so soft, and the color is perfect. i'm not sure what to do with it yet - i was thinking some full-length arm warmers but when i shared that idea with one of my friends, they said they thought that wouldn't be very practical or wearable, so now i'm kind of undecided. i want to do something special with it. any ideas?

and here's where spike decided to join the photo shoot...

i'll have pictures of my finished socks later this week - i just have the toe left to do so they should be done very soon!

Monday, January 22, 2007

fo: not-so-green greenaway fingerless gloves

on friday evening, i was overcome with the NEED (yes, NEED!) to make some fingerless gloves out of some malabrigo that i had kicking about. so i put aside my sock (which is past the heel! it won't be long now til i can wear them) and picked up the malabrigo and some size 6 dpns, and whipped these babies up. the whole thing only took a few hours, spread out over the weekend, and before i knew it i had some fingerless gloves. i have to say, even though i love the yarn, and i like the pattern in theory, something about these just aren't right to me. i feel like they are a bit of a let-down, a bit too easy maybe, or perhaps it's just that there aren't any real bells or whistles here to be excited about. i don't know. i will certainly wear them - my living room gets cold cold cold in the winter, and my fingers often get stiff while knitting in such conditions. so they'll get a lot of use i'm sure. and i actually might even make some more - i have a lot of this malabrigo left, and i think some fingerless gloves would make some nice birthday/no occasion gifts for some people, so maybe it's just a matter of tinkering with the pattern a little to make them more exciting? i don't know.

i can say this...i'm not done with the fingerless glove, that's for sure. this project didn't really satisfy my craving for them, so i think there will be several other pairs made in the coming months. please don't get bored when i post a picture of yet another pair! i know i will be making eunny's endpaper mitts soon, and i have some gorgeous baby alpaca that i think will turn into full-arm fingerless gloves. plus, the gifts i already mentioned. perhaps this is my Year of the Fingleress Glove?

anyway, here are the specs on this first pair (please ignore my grubby pjs!)

pattern: greenaway fingerless gloves, by purl bee
yarn: malabrigo, in red mahogany, about half of one ball
needles: brittany birch dpns, size 6

also...is it totally bad form to gush about the fact that i won a blog contest?! i WON! i'm so excited! and not just any blog contest...yarntini's! she emailed me last week to tell me i had won her last contest, and my goodies arrived on friday. she spoiled me big time. not only did i get some of her gorgeous sock yarn in a new colorway (pomtini!), she also sent me what is actually one of my favorite chocolates (dark chocolate with crystallized ginger), a pretty journal, and some yummy smelling sachets which have already been put to good use in my closet and underwear drawer. thanks again jessie!

Friday, January 19, 2007

madrona fiber arts fest

anyone going to the madrona fiber arts winter retreat next weekend? i'm getting really exited about it - it will be my first yarn fest, and it's only a week away! i decided not to take any of the classes (though i may change my mind before next weekend - i think there are still spots available), but my friend and i are going to go on saturday and check out the marketplace. if you are going on saturday, let me know - i'll keep an eye out for you!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

snow days

seattle seems to be getting the rest of the country's cold winter weather. we had yet more snow last night and this morning! it means that i got to work from home again, which is nice. and the snow is pretty, but geez! i'm ready for some normal seattle winter weather: wet and mild. bring on the rain and mid-40s temps!

still, look how pretty this is. it's my office park, taken on monday. note the frozen-over duck pond. where do the ducks go when that happens?!

i don't have a whole lot of interest on the knitting front. i started my second lichen ribbed sock, in the yarntini cherry cordial. this yarn is sooo lovely. it's so vibrant, and i love the gradual change in colors, and the stripes. i'm happy to say that so far, my stripes on this sock are lining up exactly with those of the first. i can't wait to wear these!

actually, i've been spending a lot of my free time lately working on this:

it's a log cabin quilted throw pillow, design my lisa congdon. a while back, i got this book, and this pattern is one of the projects in the book. i am by no means a strong sewer; i'm still fairly terrified of my sewing machine. but i decided that this year i would get better, and i thought that lisa's pillow pattern would be a good learning project. i'm about to start the quilting part - we'll see how that goes! - but i'm really enjoying the sewing part this far. i can see myself making many of these pillows as gifts! it's a fun way to use a lot of different fabrics, both vintage pieces that i've found over time and new fabrics that i've been dying to put to good use.

pictures of both projects when they're done!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

fo: cashmere cowl

yay! my first finished project of 2007. i finished this sunday evening (it's just been too dark to take a picture), and i think i like it. perhaps slightly less than i thought i would, but it's still really nice. i think maybe if i make another, i will make it a little wider, and maybe a little longer - i wish it was a little drapey-er than it is, though my finished dimensions match those of the pattern. it should be the perfect size though to fit nicely under a cardigan or coat, and it really is very cozy. and i can't overstate how nice this yarn is - so wonderfully soft, and the color, with its subtle variations in shade, is lovely.

i have quite a bit of the yarn left - any ideas on what to do with it? it's fingering weight, and the project would need to be fairly small, as i don't have that much left - probably about 200 yards of the original 400, maybe a little less? it seems a waste to let it languish in my yarn stash, doing nothing, when it's so beautiful and deserves to be seen!

pattern: purl bee's cashmere cowl
yarn: jade sapphire's 100% mongolian 2-ply cashmere, color: tourmaline
needles: denise needles, size 8

even though i loved using the cashmere, my mom showed me this article and it made me sad. i don't know what to think - is it bad to buy cashmere yarn? the article refers to cheaply manufactured sweaters, but i would guess cashmere yarn contributes to the problem, though the demand is surely not as great. does anyone know anything else about this? i'm really curious now.

anyway...enough of that. in better news, i have a new camera! ever since i started my blog, i've become painfully aware of how crappy my camera is. i've had the same tiny 2 mp camera for like four years now. this new one is much nicer. hopefully you'll see an improvement in the quality of my images here, though i realize that a nice camera can't completely make up for lack of photography skills!

now that the cowl is done, i've just got my baby blanket that i'm working on. i definitely need a project to do when i'm sick to death of double-knitting white stockinette, so i think i will either cast on for the second lichen ribbed sock that i started in november, or else start these (yes, i am on a total purl bee kick!), with some pretty malabrigo.

p.s. i'm home today because it snowed so much here last night. exciting!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

fo: my so called scarf

so now that kristie has received my scarf that i sent her for our swap, i can show it off here! i decided to go for the ubiquitous my so called scarf, both because i was curious about trying that stitch pattern and also because i just think it looks so cool! it was a fun scarf to make. you can memorize the pattern almost effortlessly after two pattern repeats, and it's one of those patterns that is super easy yet gets exclamations of how hard that must be by all who see you working on it. it was also my first time using manos del uruguay. it definitely won't be my last! the color i chose is SO beautiful. you won't be able to tell so much in my photo, but it's red swirling into baby blue swirling into plum into maroon into sage green. i saw it and was in love.

so, i think i mentioned before that i conveniently forgot to take a picture of the completed scarf before sending it off to kristie. that was smart. but luckily, i did take a picture of the scarf halfway through. this picture is pretty poor (in fact i'm embarrassed to even post it), and you can only see a little bit of the scarf here, but i can assure you that the rest of the scarf is about five feet more of the same, only much less blurry.

pattern: my so called scarf
yarn: manos del uruguay, color: bramble
needles: some random size 11s i had lying around. i have no idea where they came from!

the only downside to this yarn with this scarf is the fact that the yarn has some really skinny bits. this caused some seriously uneven edges in places. i really don't know if there's a way to get around that, but if there is, i don't know it. i did give it a light steam blocking and that helped some. hopefully you won't be able to tell when the scarf is all wound up around a neck!

nothing else to report really. i have a few inches left of my cowl. i'll spare you another picture, since it looks exactly the same as the last picture, only longer. oh! and i started a baby blanket for one of my friends, who is having her first baby in february. which gives me about a month to finish it. i'm not too optimistic that i'll make that deadline, but hopefully i can rise to the occasion and have it ready by the time the baby arrives.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

a slippery slope

uh...so i thought i'd try to pretty up my blog a little, and now i've somehow switched to one of the new beta templates, and i've kind of messed some things up. so please be patient while i mess things up even more for a bit! comments should be working but please let me know if they aren't.