Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yarn Diet? What Yarn Diet? (Adriana)

So I have been on a self-imposed yarn diet recently due to the cessation of work when I went back to school (which is seriously the best decision EVER!! I’m loving my new classes.). I was very good for several weeks but then I fell off the wagon. I discovered that a nice lady on Ravelry was selling Socks That Rock for less than list price (slightly less but still), in one of the Christmas colours (which I’d been drooling over. I’m such a sucker for Christmassy stuff) AND I had some money to burn in my paypal account (just the right amount to pay for this yarn plus shipping!). Needless to say I was delighted. I can’t believe that I’ll get to play with STR!!
So that happened on Sunday and then on Monday while I was waiting for the bus I noticed that the girl next to me was carrying the Barbara Walkers stitch dictionaries from the library. Naturally we got talking and she told me that the local yarn store was having a great sale on Jo Sharp. I couldn’t believe that it was actually as deeply discounted as she’d said but Heather confirmed it so I was off to the yarn store before class (despite my high stress level. You can never be too stressed for cheap yarn). The supply was pretty low (Heather and Sam had cleared out 50 balls between the two of them) but I still managed to find some that I love:

7 Jo Sharp Classic Wool DK Heather in Brocade (to be a shrug to keep me warm in class)

3 Jo Sharp Classic Wool DK in Owl (no purpose, I had told myself I could get 10 balls so I had to see it through :P)

All this only cost me $20!! Now you can see why I broke the yarn diet. This will be it for me for the foreseeable future. I will be making a few treks into Toronto to see various shows (The Drowsy Chaperone and Sweeney Todd for those who are musically inclined) but our schedule will be too tight to yarn shop. I’m almost done the Christmas knitting so I’ll be able to knit for myself once again. I can’t wait (not that school will leave me with much knitting time but I’ll take what I can get).

Hey Heather, when do we get to see the new additions to your stash? ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Miles to go before I sleep (Heather)

But thankfully only a few inches left on my Cap Sleeve Top. It is lovely how fast a top knits up when you don't have any pesky sleeves to worry about. This top is knit as a raglan, with a waste yarn cast on for the sleeve openings, but instead of knitting sleeves downwards you just knit a brief cuff instead. This is the state of the top at the moment:

Until I started the yoke (yesterday), the whole kit and caboodle was still pretty darn portable. I even stopped carrying my coffee to work in the morning in order to double my commute knitting opportunities. I am knitting the small size, but I knit the length before the yoke to medium specifications (14") in order to compensate for my longer-than-average torso. The pattern directions state that the top is likely to grow in length when first washed.

The pattern does advise you to knit from alternating balls of Lady Godiva in order to mix in any dye lot variations, but I decided that knitting from three balls at once would be testing the limits of my dexterity, so I am living dangerously. The first ball of Lady G lasted until the yoke, so it looks like I will have tons left over. It is deliciously soft, perhaps it is destined to be gloves of some sort?

Did I mention how much I love this fabric?

And did I mention how much fun I have with the macro settings on the camera?

I can't wait to see what blocking does for this fabric.

Oh, and congratulations to our friend and fledgling designer SpillyJane, who put up her Sea Mineral Mitten pattern yesterday. Check it out!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Sub for the Clap (Adriana)

Today is my last day of work and I am thrilled! It’s been exhausting and stressful trying to juggle working while in school fulltime. I will be glad to be able to put my full attention on my studies.
Given how busy I’ve been lately there hasn’t been much time for knitting but there has been time for thinking about knitting! (Data entry really doesn’t require that much concentration)
It has gotten quite chilly these days and I’ve been thinking longingly of my Silk Garden Clapotis, which is, of course, much too heavy for this weather. I’ve decided that what I need is a Clap-substitute, a lighter-weight wrap that can double as a scarf and keep me warm and stylish during the fall. I have a few restrictions for the pattern: it needs to be knit using yarn I already have (due to the aforementioned cessation of job), and the pattern can’t be too complicated (no time for following charts) and it can’t be too formal since I want to wear it to class.
Here are the patterns I’ve been thinking of: Wisp in Kid Silk Haze (Question: I haven’t used KSH before and I understand it to be very warm. Might this be too warm for this weather?); Swiss Cheese Scarf in laceweight (this pattern uses 800m of laceweight which might mean I’d be done in time to wear it Fall 2008, though it might work in sock yarn); Travelling Vines Scarf in Pink Koigu (this would mean actually using the most gorgeous yarn I have ever seen. I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that); OR (this just occurred to me) I could make a lighter Clapotis, though I’m not sure what yarn I have that would keep it from being just a scarf.
Please help this confused knitter. I feel like I have an idea of what I want but I just can’t express it (and thus find an appropriate pattern).

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. Whatever knitting I have managed these days has been Christmas presents, hence the lack of evidence (I just typed lace. Clearly I have a one track mind).
Heather and I had made a deal when we started this blog not to post without a picture. Since I don’t have any FOs to show you, I will instead will show you pictures of my absolute favourite colours of Koigu, both of which were selected by Heather, thus proving not only her excellent sense of colour but also how scarily well she knows my tastes.


Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Dum vivimus, vivamus! (Heather)

Ooops! I didn't intend such a long hiatus. I have been working hard, and I am starting to find that when I get home at night I am all communicated out. I have been working on the odd bit of knitting, though. I carry a travel mug of coffee with me to work every day so my hands are full on the way there, but on the 45 minute ride home and on my lunch breaks, I can knit. Provided, of course, that I get to sit down...

My latest project was the Ballet Lace Scarf out of Fiesta Ballet, a lovely tencel-alpaca blend. Like others, I found it a bit splitty, but manageable and well worth the trouble! You get lots and lots of yardage... the scarf pattern called for 14.5 chart repeats but I found I had nearly half the skein leftover at that point, so I kept going. I forgot to count how many repeats I got from it in the end, and it has already gone to its home at Needles and Pins as a sample, but trust me, it was quite a long scarf in the end. The pattern was easy but interesting, and even for me (a notorious scarf-hater) it really hummed along.

Sorry, but the scarf was blocked completely in the cover of night, so it was hard to photograph. I pinned out each point where the waving column of decreases hit the sides. This gave it a really nice waving effect when it was dry. Why yes, I am in fact pretty smug about it. It made its debut yesterday at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair...

Where I was working at the Needles and Pins booth. What a crazy-busy day! Ellen got a fantastic order of Koigu in, and that always inspires a feeding frenzy. I was not immune.

These beauties made their way home with me. I honestly can't decide which ones I love best! I am considering a Syncopated Cap, as I see from Ravelry that some knitters have successfully used Koigu with some gorgeous results. I just hate to break up any two-skein pairs, so we shall see what happens. Maybe some matching gloves?

In the meantime, I cast on for an early fall sweater for me. I picked up this fantastic Handmaiden Cap Sleeve Top kit for a song awhile back, and have been thinking of it ever since.

It is knit with alternating rows of Silk Maiden and Lady Godiva. I tried and tried to take a picture that would show you how freaking soft and deep the colour and texture is, but until you can reach out and feel through the monitor, you are stuck with these pictures instead. Needless to say, I am in love. It is knit in one piece in the round, so it will only make decent commuter-knitting for so long, but I am loving it at the moment!

The textured stitch pattern is simple and quick, but amazingly effective with the soft silk/wool blends.

So firm and pebbly!

And finally, photographic evidence that there is a coherent conspiracy among the squirrels of Toronto to acquire our fibre through any means necessary.

You can look, buddy, but you CAN'T TOUCH!

Friday, September 7, 2007

On The Needles (Adriana)

I am one of those people who gets stressed by having too many projects on the needles. I have a couple of sock mates to work through, my drop stitch lace tank, mom's log cabin squares and some top secret Christmas knitting. In fact, my WIP pile look something like this:
onthe go
That's too chaotic for me. It's time to shelve the second socks and the tank (thought that's for another reason) and focus on Christmas knitting while slogging through mom's blanket (just kidding, mom, you know I love log cabining).
This means that I don't have much to show you by way of knitting pictures so I thought I'd show off some vacation pictures instead.

As I said last week we were off to cottage country for the long weekend. Pete saw his play at dawn and got this great picture of mist coming off the lake at 7am.

The town where we were staying was pretty dinky although it did have an excellent yarn store with Noro, Rowan, Fleece Artist and Collinette (I was good and didn't buy anything). Other than that there wasn't a whole lot to do there. The high points of the trip definitely were spending time with Gen at her cottage (I got to kayak!) and visiting the Haliburton Sculpture Forest. This was associate with the local school of art and was super cool. As we wandered down paths in the forest we periodically came upon pieces of art. The best ones looked organic, like they had grown there.
This is the wire figure of a man reaching upwards

A scene right out of the Chronicles of Narnia, as Beaver and I look up at the lamppost

Pete surveyed his territory from the S-shaped stone structure

All in all it was a lovely weekend, even if minimal knitting occurred. Now I'm having fun juggling working full time and going to school. Luckily work is done in a week at which point I'll be able to relax and focus on the things that are important to me: my exciting new school program and, of course, my knitting :)
Have a great weekend, everyone!