Friday, June 29, 2007

Something Cute (Adriana)

I recently found out that a friend is expecting a baby this summer so naturally I hit up the stash searching for some good baby yarn. I had a fair amount of Rowan Pure Wool DK left over from the latest OSW so I decided on to make Twinkletoes baby booties in the toddler size. Unfortunately I underestimated how much yarn I had left and I ran out halfway through the second sock. Rather than buy more, I ripped back the first sock and put the heel directly after the ties. Miraculous this worked and I was able to finish both heels before running out of yarn (I was knitting the booties simultaneously from either end of the yarn so it looked like they were joined by a little umbilical cord :P). I wasn't able to bind off so instead I used a contrasting colour of DB Cash Aran to make little ties around the top which should help with the fit if they are too big.
Enough rambling, on to the pictures!


I call these the Baby Ballet Booties! I hope my friend and baby likes them.

Rachel commented on my Candy Socks that we can expect many more testimonials about how Ravelry helps knitters see old patterns in a new light, and it has happened to me again! I was searching to find a tank top pattern for my Classic Elite Classic Silk and I came across Lelah. I really liked what people had done with it in summer friendly yarns but it didn't seem right for my yarn. Then when I was thinking about picking up some Birthday Calmer I remembered that pattern and was inspired. I'm going to need to do some serious math to make it work (since the original was done with Lopi lite) but I think it's going to be lovely. I'm planning on casting on this weekend.

I hope everyone has a great long weekend! (Is this a long weekend for Americans too?) I'm helping my parents move into their new house tomorrow! I am so thrilled. I'm also hoping to finish my Coupling-at-Sea sock so I should have pictures to show you soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hot and Bothered (Heather)

Not a lot of knitting being done Chez Heather, for various reasons. It's been a busy time, not the least reason being that my husband Mike formally received his teaching degree last week!

I gotta say, I enjoyed the UWO ceremonies better than the U of T one, but perhaps that is a bias. Also, the B.Ed hoods? What an awful colour? I think they are supposed to be mint green, but due to there being at least three phases of the same hood, the colour varies from mint to chartreuse to crossing-guard-neon green. But it was neat to walk out of a door and see the CN Tower staring us in the face. And now Mike is a full-fledged teacher of high school Latin! I am very glad that he has found a career that he is passionate about and went and did what was necessary to achieve it. Who knows where this will take us?

I did manage to finish the first Dahlia sock!

Have I mentioned that I love this yarn?

I am rather partial to the finished sock, too.

This being the first sock I have knit without ribbing, I don't find that the picot edge slouches at all. The true test will be when I wear them for a day.

I finished the sock on Saturday and seamed on Amaya for awhile on Sunday, but it has been brutally hot here and the humidity has stolen my will to live. We have an air conditioner, but we haven't installed it because as long as I can live with just a fan (a really big one) I feel like it makes up for me using the electric dryer, not composting, and all the environmentally conscious things that are difficult to impossible to do in a wee apartment in a densely populated area.

I know that some people think we are crazy, but to be honest, I have lived in Southwestern Ontario my entire life and I only have air conditioning for two summers out of that. On top of that, we have poor fuses in our apartment that I am not sure could take the onslaught of the A/C (since they refuse to accommodate the microwave AND the kettle) and we only have two small windows and I am not prepared to give one up for the summer. I do have sympathy for Mike, since before he met me, he didn't really have a working knowledge of humidity (being a Vancouver native) but he seems to have accepted the summer extremes of Ontario as well as the winter ones.

The downside of the muggy state of our apartment is that the idea of knitting seems pretty abhorrent on days like this. I might head over the air-conditioned library if it gets really bad this afternoon, so maybe I will cast something on then. On the plus side, my herbs are growing like crazy!

Oh, I got my Ravelry invite today! I was so excited that I promptly signed up and misspelled my user name. I feel like a total idiot and am waiting to see if there is anything that can be done about it before I start using it. At least I can blame everything on the heat.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sock in Progress (Adriana)

I've been working on some stealth projects lately which I can't show you (all will be revealed after they have been gifted). I have made some progress with my Coupling-at-Sea socks which I can show you :)

I love that pattern. It has such a great texture when it's unstretched. Also, look how much yarn I still have left. I was concerned about Sea Wool's scanty yardage but the lacyness of the sock seems to be helping it last longer.

Top view

Side view

Being me, I had to do some tweaking with the pattern. I wanted to try something different than my usual short-row heel which, while fun and beautiful, can give me some fitting issues due to my high instep. The pattern offers suggestions for people with high instep but they instruct you to do a reverse heel flap and I just don't find them attractive anymore (short-rows have ruined me!). I decided to combine the first part of the instructions from the pattern with Wendyknits' gusset heel which has gotten rave reviews. While not as much fun as my beloved short-row heel, I do really like the fit of this heel and I can see myself using it again in the future.

I think I'll do another 3-4 pattern repeats and then finish it off with a cute picot edge.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Candy Socks (Adriana)

I finished my Candy Socks this weekend!

candy sock4

candy sock7

candy sock6
(Taking pictures of your own feet can result in some funny angles)

Pattern: Spiral Book Socks from Summer 2007 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Deegu in the colourway formerly known as Tulip Garden
Needles: 2.5mm Addis
Date Started: June 2nd (ish), 2007
Date Finished: June 17, 2007
Notes: I fell in love with these socks in the magazine but I'm not big on knee highs. They are a lot of work and I have larger than average calves so that means doing extra math and needing more yarn... Then I saw a shortened version on Ravelry which used STR and I really liked the way the spirals broke up the colours, similar to Jaywalkers in that respect. I decided to do the socks toe-up since that is my way and I wanted to use some of my lovely Deegu. The pattern is really straightforward and lots of fun. This is a very stretchy pattern so I had to adjust my stitch count (to follow the actual pattern. I had sized it up slightly unnecessarily).
The pooling of the yarn was a problem so I had to alternate knitting with both ends of the yarn. It still pooled but people seem to like the swirly effect which was a happy accident.

Since I had faithfully finished the Candy Socks I was allowed to cast on for new socks using some of my fun birthday yarn. With so many choices it was hard to decide but with Heather's nudging I decided to start Coupling from the new Knitty with their recommended yarn, Sea Wool.

All prettily wound up

Toe and first two pattern repeats.
I am in love with the sock!! I'm not certain about the yarn yet (it's different than the 100% merino I'm used to working with so it's taking a bit of getting used to) but I absolutely love the pattern. It is very straightforward and oh so pretty!! I've christened these "Coupling-at-Sea" Socks which is just dirty enough to be fun :)
I foresee this socks knitting up really quickly, which is good because I've got lots of projects waiting in the wings!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Birthday Swag (Adriana)

I had a very yarny birthday earlier this week. I'm so lucky that my friends know me so well to get me such yummy yarns! I feel quite overwhelmed by all the goodness and I don't know what to knit with first!

fleece artist1
From Heather and Gen, this is Fleece Artist Merino Sock in Mahogany. I love that shock of red.

Heather and Gen also gave me this beautiful FA Sea Wool, colour unknown (possibly Origin). I've heard so many good things about this yarn; I'm so excited that I finally get to play with it.

regia strato2
After I admired her Regia Strato socks, The Jane got me some of my own! This is Granite, a discontinued colour, which has a lot of meaning for me growing up as I did on the Canadian Shield. My favourite provincial park had mountains of granite. I'm not really sure why Regia named this colourway that as the granite I grew up with was not navy with steaks of purple and blue, but I still love this colour. I may dye myself some true granite sock yarn one day (my mom has promised me some granite rocks to serve a inspiration).

As a birthday present to myself I bought 5 balls of Rowan Calmer in Plum (colour truest in second picture) from Redbirdknits. I hadn't ordered from there before but it was an excellent experience. Since it was my birthday I got a discount on the yarn (or would have if it hadn't already been discounted) and I got free shipping. The yarn arrived two days after my birthday which was very speedy! This yarn is destined to become a fun and flirty summer top and shrug (if there's enough left over).

The yarn that Heather and Rosemary dyed for me as part of the dye challenged arrived within days of my birthday so they felt like presents too!
I asked Rosemary to try to match the colours of my dress and I think she did a fantastic job, especially given the truly terrible picture I sent her. I think the turquoise section is my favourite.

I was trying to find some colours that were out of my usual comfort zone and I asked Heather if she could try to reproduce STR Azurite. I think she did a great job.

These both used Knitpicks Gloss as the base yarn. That 30% silk definitely gives it a glorious shine.

Just so you know it hasn't been all stash acquisition around here, I have managed to get some knitting done too. I finished the Birthday Bolero (pictures to follow after the recipient receives it) and I whipped off a One Skein Wonder too fast to bother blogging about it.
This is a gift for a friend who may or may not read the blog.

The current project on the needles, and the reason I haven't yet cast on any of my scrumptious birthday yarns, are the Spiral Boot Socks from the new IK. After two friends independently said the yarn looked like candy these have now been renamed Candy Socks. The yarn is my own Deegu.
candy sock2 First sock in progress
candy sock3
Finished first sock

This yarn pooled something terrible. I need to do more experimenting with colour sequence in an attempt to stop the pooling. I even alternated both ends of the ball in an attempt to break up the colours; as you can see, I wasn't that successful. Still, I do love these socks.

With so many beautiful sock yarns at my disposal, it's all I can do to keep plugging away on the Candy Socks. I keep myself motivated by thinking about all the stunning patterns I can make when this is done, like this, this and this. (Knitty came out at the perfect time for me!) I haven't yet decided which pattern I'm going to do next and more importantly, which yarn is right for which pattern. If you have any suggestions, shout them out in the comments.

All in all, this was an excellent birthday :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dye Swap Socks (Heather)

As Rosemary has posted, I participated in a three-way yarn swap in which we dyed yarns according to each person's request. I asked for yarns based off of Kaffe Fassett quilting cottons. Rosemary based hers off of his Dahlia Blooms, the 'succulent' colourway, and I think she is spot on!

Considering I don't think I got too close with hers, I am really really impressed with her achievement here.

I asked for Knit Picks Donegal Tweed as the base yarn... I was curious about the tweedy flecks. I love how they work with the colours Rosemary chose! I particularly love that patch of swampy green there. I am obsessed with this yarn! I stared at it while I finished Mike's socks, and then finally, I got to wind it.

I should have waited for Mike to help me... winding this by myself was a pain! Now I feel bad for the super-long skeins I have given people. This one wasn't even that long! Molly was not very helpful, I must say, though very attentive.

I was all ready to cast on for Coupling, but I didn't know how the colours would show up with the lace pattern, and really, this yarn is ALL about the colour. After a huge test swatch to see how things would land, I just cast on for a plain sock, and spiced it up with a picot hem. I must say, I could have really used a lace Addi for picking up those cast on stitches to knit the hem in. It was a bit of an ordeal with the regular Addi. The end result is very cute, though! In my humble opinion.

Aren't the colours fabulous?

And those tweedy bits?? (Jane, you can't pull them out over the internet, sorry!)

Amaya's knitting is done, she is now very slowly blocking. It doesn't help that the city is so humid that moving around the house feels like swimming... Once she is dry, there is some sewing and a quick trim around the armholes and done!

I also have the lovely yarn that Adriana dyed for me, but it has not yet been fittingly photographed. I suddenly want to knit every nice sock pattern that I can find! Summer of the socks?

Also, speaking of the new Knitty, does anyone else love Coachella like I do? I just happened to notice that the gauge is appropriate for Bamboo Tape. How luscious would that be?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Finished Socks and Kitty Jarheads (Heather)

While not the most productive weekend knitting-wise, I did manage to finish Mike's second sock. I've even sewed in the ends since I took this picture!

Yarn: Regia Canadian Colour
Pattern: My standard sock pattern.
Needles: Addi Turbo 2mm 32"circ
Sleeping Cat: Molly

While Gen and I were shlepping around downtown TO on Friday, we came across Romni's brand spankin' new Fleece Artist shipment. Gen managed to snag a 750m ball of fingering weight Merino for a really great price. The same price, actually, as the 325m skeins.

And it don't look too shabby, either! I am in love with this yarn! Gen cannot resist the lure of potential itty-bitty baby garments. They are like potato chips! Finish your blanket first!

Do you know how long it takes to wind 750m of yarn?

A loooooooong time.

The basil continues to shoot up. I took this picture after I snipped off the entire top leaf growth in an attempt to stop the plant from getting tall without getting wide. Anyone got a good recipe for pesto that wouldn't require garlic?

Now that the sock is done, I am free to start a fun sock. I have so many top-of-the-list socks that I am having a hard time choosing. In the meantime, I am going to finish Amaya.

In completely random and probably unneeded news, the catnip has gotten sufficiently low in the container that Molly has to stick her entire head in to get at the yummy catcrack. This makes me laugh more than it ought to, I suspect.

Phlox won't even try...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Victory is Mine! (Adriana)

Today is World Wide Knit In Public day so naturally I'm showing you pictures of sewing (I did manage some token KIP at the gym).
Taking pictures of your sewing, I find, is different than knitting. With knitting I want to show off the decreases, the increases, the ribbing, etc. With sewing it feels like the overall effect is more important. Plus I really don't want to show off the details of this project. I haven't sewn a garment in well over a decade and I had a pretty steep learning curve with this dress. I had to rip out and resew some parts to make them right, I spent an entire afternoon agonizing over the zipper and it still isn't perfect, and don't even get me started about the front and back facing. The end result is a dress which fits like a dream and which was a great learning experience, but which no real sewer will be allowed to examine closely. I think I did a great job considering that I did it all by myself with only one frantic phone call to Pete's mom (a former sewing teacher) when the bodice didn't fit right.

To get pictures of this dress Pete and I headed to the forested area behind our apartment complex. Pete has an artist eye for photographs and I let him run the show. What follows is a photo journal, of sorts.





Parasol was purchased in Bath, England when I was 16 and has only been used twice for photos

Picture of the back of the dress (my hair really needs a trim)

We stopped on the path to look at the photos on the camera and discovered that the light behind us made very clear shadows

Details on the dress:
Pattern: Simplicity 4531
Fabric: Venetian Glass by Ro Gregg 100% Cotton (printed on the edge of the fabric)
Date Started: May 21, 2007
Date Finished: June 9, 2007
Sewing is so much faster than knitting. I only worked on this project on weekends and even then it was just for a few hours a day.

This was such an intense project that I think it's gotten the desire to sew out of my system for a while, which is a good thing because Ravelry has given me such great knitting ideas!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Drop Dead Exciting (Heather)

Not a great deal of creative juices flowing 'round these parts lately. I have had a fair amount of car/waiting time, which has produced most of a Mike-sock. It is really interesting how much longer it takes to knit a mens size 13 than a women's 6 (and I like them tight). But really, socks for me are just really quick these days... socks for Mike still take less time than my first few pairs took me. And I know he appreciates his handknit socks.

The good news is that I will definitely have enough yarn to finish these. I was slightly concerned when I started the second sock that I would run out. Definitely a downside to the 100g balls of sock yarn. I wish I had access to a scale to help me divide the yarn more evenly.

Speaking of which, the latest issue of Interweave Knits has a handy-dandy recipe for knitting socks toe-up, which I have only barely attempted. Perhaps it is time to give it a shot?

To distract you from the sad amount of knitting going on here, I took a picture of my tropical window garden:

From the front: Mutant Basil, Oregano, Double curl Parsley, Spearmint. The Basil grows a few leaves every single day... I started pinching it on top so that it grows outwards as well as upwards, but I think it just put out more leaves up there. The mint and oregano are just holding steadily, probably putting down more roots now that they have more root space. The Parsley? Well, it turns out that my dear sweet feline friend has developed a real taste for it.

There were originally three wee plants in that pot. I caught her with one of them in her mouth, root still intact, so I replanted it. The next day, only one stem remained. At least she will have fresh breath! I have moved the parsley between the oregano and the mint, hoping that their strong smells and flavours will discourage her. I am not holding my breath...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Delinquent Blogger Returns... footage at 6 (Heather)

Yes, it seems I took a little impromptu blog break. I didn't completely abandon knitting, and I did my best to check up on the blogs every so often, but I didn't have much to say, and in my defense, it was a busy busy month. I am still trying to catch my breath!

I did not finish Salina, nor am I likely to finish the Greek Pullover by June 12th, since I haven't started it. I did finish Evie, so that will have to count as my May sweater:

Pattern: Debbie Bliss Stella/Pure Cotton (This is a great book! I already want to knit three more designs)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Stella Colour 15, 7 balls
Comments: a very quick knit, very simple, but with interest. The bulky yarn really makes the knitting zip along, but the yarn is not unpleasantly heavy. The wet-blocking really evened out the stitches and gave the fabric more drape. This was a sample project commissioned by Needles and Pins.

She is already holding court in the window at Needles and Pins. I have to say, it was a really easy, fun, and quick project! It only took a while because I had other things on my plate and knitting projects oddly don't progress very fast when you don't touch them for a week or more.

I am pledging to do better by Amaya.

This is my next store project, and I am loving it even more than Evie! The yarn is Rowan's new Bamboo Tape, and it is absolutely luscious. The feel of silk, but the tape gives it nice elasticity. This wool adherent has found her match!

The pattern is Amaya, from the Bamboo Tape Collection. At first glance it looks as simple as Evie, but there is some really elegant shaping and a neat neck treatment!

I had the back completely finished in less than two days of knitting... I could have laid it out for you to see the shape, but I wanted to portray the luxurious drape for you. It feels like you could pour it through your fingers. And since it is a tape, there is no splittiness. If my addi catches on the yarn, it doesn't catch. I think I am in love! I have the front done except for one side of the v-neck, and then the finishing (which includes the fancy next twist). I think I can have it done before June 12th, and therefore might fulfill my three sweaters in three months vow after all!

On an unrelated note: what the heck are these?

They came with Mike's new dress shirt, and similar ones came with his last shirt. I am really curious, and I feel like I ought to know, but I am clueless! Any help?