Thursday, May 7, 2009

MDSW and French Girls

I attended my very first Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival! And I had a blast. There were seven of my knit circle that drove down from Delaware. After waking up at 5am and meeting in Elkton MD at 6:30am, two cars caravaned down to West Friendship, MD for some sheep & wool goodness. Luckily, I "accidentally" didn't give the DBf Gene my GPS and had it in my car. Thank GOODNESS too because I probably never would have found the place.

I found some fantastic skeins of loveliness that I didn't buy... like Tess's 50/50 Wool & Silk blend that was WONDERFUL but a little more than my budget. If the yardage was more I might have bought it. I did end up getting some 50/50 wool/silk from Brook's Farm in Texas. After the solo silk display tried to fall on me, of course. I also found a lovely etsy vendor Made By Ewe with GREAT prices.

I considered for a good long while about picking up a spindle and some gorgeous roving and doing some spinning... and I think I might put it on my wish list for birthday and Christmas. It wasn't in the budget for that weekend, though. I wouldn't have been able to get my solo silk!! Plus the drop spindle (well, trindle, actually) that I wanted was $40... and I know that I can find one for less than that. I also want to try some undyed roving first. I know that I can always find lovely handpainted stuff on etsy later on after I get better. I don't like being bad at things. I picked up knitting the first time in about 15 minutes, which is probably why I've kept up with it for so long.

I haven't been neglecting my projects! I was working on the Louisa from French Girl Knits for a while, but I kept screwing up the lace pattern--and it's the simplest lace pattern! I instead have started working on Wrenna using some lovely Cascade Magnum. I took off for the sleeves and am starting the hip shaping now, so it should be done soon. I did take pictures, so I will post those. I've also finally picked my socks (ok, sock.) up again... and it's starting to look like a sock!! I've finished turning the heel and I'm almost finished the gusset! Soon I'll be working on the foot and the toe. And then i get to start the second one...

After Wrenna.. I have a ton of things I want to do:
* ZickZack Tunic from Interweave Knits Spring 2009 in Cascade Heritage
* Sophia from French Girl Knits in Emu Superwash DK (if I can figure out that wacky seamless side construction with a crochet provisional cast on...)
* Little Blue Sweater from Interweave Knits Fall 2008 in Berroco Cuzco (what I was making my Louisa out of)
* Something out of my KnitPicks worsted High Peruvian Wool. I have about 1100 yards of it. I had a sweater in mind originally, but I think it's kind of boring now... so...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Second Sweater, fini

I've pretty much completed my second sweater, Rusted Root. I haven't taken pictures yet but will soon. I pretty much followed the pattern, but ran into a few mistakes. I had to start over three times. BUT! My third time I started on March 29th and finished on April 13th, so I think that's PRETTY DARN GOOD. Two weeks to finish a sweater? Granted it's short-sleeved, but whatever! Two weeks to finish a sweater!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way the yarn knit up (cascade sierra) And I have almost 2 whole skeins left. I bought four because the pattern called for 3 of another yarn that had 215 yds and the cascade only had 191, so to be on the absolute safe side, I got four skeins. And I've barely used the 3rd skein. I basically did the bottom ribbing (about 15 rows), the ribbing along the sleeve (4 rows) and the ribbing along the neckline (4 rows). Maybe I have about 2/3 of the skein left. But that still leaves me with almost 300 yds left! What the heck am I going to make with about 300 yds maybe of worsted weight cotton yarn?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Onto Sweater Two

Now that Feb Lady is finally complete (and once the weather is not rainy and crap, I'll take a picture inside. I took one inside, but the flash made the color all distorted and gross.

I've fallen in love with Zephyr Style's Rusted Root sweater. LOVE. One of my knit girls made it in two weeks (she's freakishly fast and her work is amazing... I'm a little jealous sometimes) and she wore it one Monday night at our meeting coffeehouse. I fell in love immediately and had to make it. I've been reading up on it on ravelry a bit, and I'm really scared of this lace pattern now! I've done a few things in lace now (2 scarves and Feb Lady Sweater) and this will be my first sweater in the round, since Feb Lady is a cardigan. I cast on my sts yetserday on my 24" Denises, and I could not join it in the round to save my life! And I know that I have the correct cord in my interchangeable set.

Maybe I'm joining in the round wrong? I've always flip-flopped the first and last stitch on the needles. How do you knit in the round?? I guess the yarn I chose (Cascade Sierra... it's a pima cotton and merino blend... 80/20) doesn't have much give because it's cotton. I really wanted to start it yesterday... but I couldn't. I get some quality knit time tonight for a few hours, so maybe I can try again... I'm just super excited about this sweater. It's probably bad that I'm slightly a perfectionist when it comes to my knitting... I want everything to be beautiful and look amazing.

I've also fallen in love with the book "French Girl Knits" which is fairly knew. If you haven't checked it out yet, oh my god the sweaters are flipping gorgeous. One of them was featured in the spring interweave knits. I think there are only maybe 4 sweaters in the entire book that I'm not crazy about. I just absolutely love it. And I need it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

February Lady Pictures!!

I finally remembered to take pictures! I have one sleeve completed... and one sleeve 1/3 finished. I've already sewn in my ends.... for some reason I like to do that before I block, because I'm always afraid that the ends are going to catch on something.

Oh yeah, and I forgot that I'm a really realy loose knitter when I bought my size 3 Hiya Hiya 9" sock circulars that can't be returned... so my socks were HUGE when I tried them on last night. So I had to frog them. So I need to get either 0s or 1s. And a new pattern, because other tight knitters have had problems with these socks being huge and slouchy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sock Challenge

Now that the end of the February Lady Sweater is in sight (ONLY ONE SLEEVE LEFT! Still no pictures... I'm a slacker) I decided that it was time that I did something with my beautiful skein of Rio de la Plata multicolor sock yarn. At my final FLS class, I had to buy US 6 12" circs for my sleeves...since my Denises don't go that small, and I didn't think of that. While looking for my circs... I saw Hiya Hiyas 9" circs... and decided to splurge a bit. DPNs are fine, but I love circs. Plus my DPNs are 8" long and for socks, that's a bit large. Right now, I'm doing just a basic 3x1 rib sock. I thought tackling lace socks was not a good plan right off the bat. My first sock is 3" long right now. And the pooling is just fine... no weird pooling!

The colorway is fuschia, evergreen, and blue violet. Absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to wear my first pair of hopefully many socks. And I promised Gene my second pair of socks... we're going to go to my LYS and pick out some sock yarn for him, and a simple pattern off of ravelry. I'm just busting through my resolution to challenge myself this year!

Monday, February 23, 2009

February Lady Update

After frogging the yoke once... and panicking over putting my sleeves on waste yarn... I'm finally almost finished the body. At the moment, it *just* hits the top of my jeans, so I'm going to do probably another 2 repeats of the gull-lace pattern and then start my garter border. My favorite part of this project though is going to be binding off the body, because since I'm using my new Denises I can just change the ends of the needles to a larger size! Whenever I have to switch needle sizes, I always get panicked. But it's so easy with my interchangeables. I love them.

Linda (who is teaching the class, and owns the LYS I go to) suggested putting stitch markers every few multiples of 7 so when you mess up on the lace pattern, you know right away. I've been meticulously counting my stitches every time because I'm terrified of screwing up. The lace pattern is pretty easy...and it's very easy to read, but I'm always paranoid that I'm going to get confused and messed up. The one time I took it to my knitting night on Mondays (yay Presto!) I screwed it up pretty bad. well, not pretty bad... I was able to tink and fix it while still in the same row, but still. I've learned my lesson.

My goal with the sweater was to be finished the body by Saturday, and I really think that I'll be able to accomplish that. My plan is to do the rest of the gull lace pattern tonight, and possibly start the garter border. Maybe by Friday I can bind off! I still need to take pictures of my progress. I took pictures pre-frogging, and decided not to post them since I started over. Maybe tonight I will. Though my camera always messes up the color. I really need to remember to take photos outside without the flash, but it's been so WINDY lately that I'm afraid to.

Monday, February 16, 2009

February Lady Sweater

I've been taking a class at Stitches With Style on the February Lady Sweater... and this will be my first sweater. I took pictures a while ago, but then I frogged the sweater because I misunderstood directions and ended up with 9 extra stitches. I'm probably about 30% done... the yoke is finished (MAN THAT YOKE TOO FOREVER!) and I've been working on the body in the gull-lace pattern. It's really beautiful, and I LOVE the yarn that I picked! Brown Sheep superwash worsted weight in this bright blue called Bon Vivant Blue. I'll have to take pictures again to post.

I'm really glad that I picked this pattern up because it's a lot of fun, and I love the baby pattern that it's based on. Maybe one of these days I'll knit that for someone I know who's having a baby. But I'm also definitely happy that I am taking a class for this. The extra support is much needed and much appreciated. I've never picked up stitches IN MY LIFE so I'm terrified of the sleeves. Right now they're just hanging out on their waste yarn, waiting for me to finish the body and knit away. I think that once I'm finished and I have a sweater that *I* made that's just for me, I'll be really happy.

My little knit-group and I are also organizing a NYC Yarn Crawl for April, which I'm really excited about. I can't wait to review and see all of these yarn stores in Manhattan. I'm most excited about Purl Soho. Last Minute Knitted Gifts is one of my fave books, and I'm very excited to see the store that produced that book. We're actually hiring a limo service to take us up there. That way we won't have to deal with any taxis or subways... and it's actually less per person to rent a limo than to take a train! I think it'll be about the same price if we took a bus, because we'd have to deal with taxi or subway service all day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So far so good on the new challenges

I've project overloaded again. My ISE7 scarf is completed, just unblocked. And I can't wet block it because it's merino DK and a lace pattern and I'm afraid that wet blocking would mess that up. I'm torn between steam blocking (which I'd have to take the scarf over to the future MIL's house for that because her steamer is much nicer than my iron with steam coming out of it) and using a spray bottle and stretching. I also had this board that would have been GREAT for blocking that the future MIL gave me when I was sewing in my tiny tiny tiny apartment and no space. I haven't sewn anything in so long... I want to bust my machine out and take it for a spin so it doesn't forget how to work. Anyway. I can't find the board. So I've been using my spare bed and just sticking rust-proof pins in that. Whatever. It works just fine. I guess I could use the futon also, since the bed is a pillow top and sometimes things don't lay flat.

My first sweater that was SUPPOSED to be the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts has turned instead into the February Lady Sweater. The yarn I picked is SO PRETTY!! It's Brown Sheep Superwash Worsted in Bon Vivant Blue, which is this bright royal blue. So far I'm on the ENDLESS yoke. I've completed the 3 buttonholes and am about to add the final increases for the sleeves before I start the gull lace pattern. I'm taking a class on the sweater at Stitches with Style in Newark DE, and at my first class I learned 3 new things! I learned how to cable cast-on, how to M1, and how to make a buttonhole. The buttonhole that this pattern uses is awesome. My only wish is that I learned the cable cast-on when I was casting-on so that I could have that nice edge. Linda (the store owner) taught me the cable CO when I needed to re-CO during the buttonholes. I did use the cable CO for Lea's Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch N' Bitch. I'm using a bare undyed superwash yarn for that from Knitpicks and it's SUPER soft. I'm so jealous of this unborn sexless baby. Lea is due in July, so I have plenty of time.

I don't know why I'm so addicted to making baby blankets. I guess because it's mostly mindless knitting and it gets such a big wow factor. There's no mistaking that a lot of time was put into it. I did adjust the pattern for the BBBB. Since I'm using a chunky weight instead of a fingering weight, I only CO 100 stitches and I'm using sz 11 instead of sz 9. I tried using 15s because it would go really fast, but the border looked too loose. I like a tighter seed stitch.

And I promise to try REALLY hard to add pictures. I'm really bad at that. I also haven't done the socks yet. I tried casting on with 2s and it was WAY tight, so I may move up to 3s. Also my dpns that I have are big. I wish I had 6" DPNS instead. It would make it a lot easier. I really want the harmony DPN set, but those are 'spensive.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Challenges

I made a resolution this year to challenge myself. I've already listed some things that I'm going to try. Some of them I've completed, some I'm still working on. I've starting the International Scarf Exchange 7... and so far it's going well. I'm doing my first lace-ish project, I'm working with a new fiber, and I bought far too much of it... so when I'm finished with this project I'm going to make a camisole for myself out of my left over 3 skeins (I bought far too much... I got a little excited because it was 100% merino for $5 a skein.)

I also bought SOCK YARN. I'm all kinds of excited. When I finish the ISE scarf, Olivia's scarf (which I'm almost done, actually... except I'm not crazy about this yarn. I will never buy it again. Lion Brand Microspun. It's DK weight and very stretchy for acrylic, but no matter what my gauge is or what stitch I use IT CURLS LIKE ITS LIFE DEPENDS ON IT and that upsets me), and Brian's scarf if he ever gives me yarn for it I will make socks for myself. Oh boy!!

I also bought a crapton of yarn from knitpicks... lots of bare superwash merino for a baby blanket... and 10 skeins of this wool blend that was on clearance for $1.99 for my first sweater! If only the book I needed to buy (Last Minute Knitted Gifts) wasn't sold out of every Barnes & Noble and Borders in Delaware. Balls.