Saturday, April 29, 2006

Happy Day in Bloggersland...

...otherwise known as the Point. Wow, when I went there on Friday, I had no idea I was 1) going to see so many unexpected friends, and 2) meet so many new ones! Well, sort of new ones--does it count if you kind of already know them through their blogs? It was very exciting to meet Jess from Fig & Plum, and Sandra from I May Be Knitting A Ranch House. I hadn't actually read Sandra's blog before, but Jenn had, and I will definitely be checking it out from now on. And Jess was every bit as cool as her fabulous blog! I had such a pleasant afternoon chatting with them and blogless Nancy, who was also really cool but who I cannot link to. Time for a blog, Nancy!
In attendance were my brand-spanking new Falling Leaves Socks:

And on my needles were some toe-up Jaywalkers:

Yep, I'm Jaywalking backwards. I like to live on the edge, people.
And more pics:

Two balls of handpainted and the four freshly dyed skeins of self-striping yarn, two of which I brought in my bag and showed proudly to anyone who was kind enough to humour me. It was funny, I got two reactions to this yarn. The first, and rarer, was, "Wow, how'd you do that, I want to do it too." The second, far more prevalent response was, "You're nuts! Why not just buy some?" Because I just have to do it myself. It's a compulsion. I just wish I had that DIY compulsion when it came to cooking or cleaning my house--two things which I'd love to pawn off on other people.
Anyway, thanks to all who kept me company at the Point yesterday, I can't think of a more pleasant way to spend a Friday!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Busy Yarnmonster

I have been a busy, busy girl!
It occurred to me recently, while hitting that refresh button in hopes of procuring a skein of Vesper sock yarn in the Sweetwater colorway and simultaneously watching the clock for the last possible minute I could leave and not be late to Chinese class (and no, I didn't get it), that maybe it was time to take matters into my own hands. I've done some dyeing, and have a healthy collection of Kool-Aid packets from the airy and well-stocked aisles of suburban Georgia grocery stores. I'd never tried making self-striping yarn before, but I have a Master's Degree, surely I could figure this out, right?
Not having a warping board, I went with the chair method, and I have to tell you, with 4 skeins of ~190 yds., that's a lot of walking! But I got them skeined, and then just went for it with the Kool Aid, using the "buritto" method and stupidly not bothering to check Google for some better ways to do this.
Here are the stripey skeins, steaming in their Saran Wrap cocoons:

And here are two more skeins I decided to hand-paint instead, because you can't just knit stripes all the time, silly!
And later, yummy bathing beauties in their Eucalan bath:
And ta-da! The final product, drying in the bathroom!
My everlasting gratitude to the Twisted Sisters, who instruct the hand-dyer to toss the washed and rinsed skeins in the washing machine, turn off the hoses, and set the thing on spin cycle to get the excess water out. Brilliant! My yarn was instantly transformed from a dripping soggy mess into light and fluffy stuff that will not pull the shower rod off the wall. Hooray!
There were a few mishaps--a bit of orange got onto the blue, and a LOT of orange got onto my [just manicured!!!] hands, so I look like I've had a nasty fight with an orange popsicle. But all in all, a fairly successful day. I'll now spend the rest of my night walking into the bathroom to check and see if it's dry yet.
Anyone up for a little knitting at the Point tomorrow (Friday)? I might stop in sometime in the afternoon....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Toes Up

It would not have looked, to the casual observer, like a very exciting weekend at the Cary house. A little shopping in the rain on Saturday, a whole day at home on Sunday. Much time spent at the computer, planning the trip to Ireland.
But the more careful eye would have spotted this:

My first foray into knitting TWO socks at the same time on one circular needle!
It occurred to me, as I was about to finish this,

the first of my Falling Leaves socks, that it wasn't going to be a lot of fun to be done with one sock. I mean, I wore it around the house, I waved my foot around, but the truth of the matter was that I was only half done, and still had to make another. Which, no worries, I have since started, so we're on our way. But I also wanted to avoid this let-down in the future, so I found this great tutorial for a Turkish cast-on of two socks at the same time, wound up my Vesper, and I was off! And can I take a moment to say that I LOVE this yarn?!? It is too cool, the colors are like candy and it makes such pretty stripes.
So the Falling Leaves socks are, indeed, a little roomy. Making the foot short did help to stretch them out lengthwise, but there's just more fabric than is necessary. But whatever, I'm NOT knitting them again, and they're totally wearable. Next pair of socks will be much smaller.
And then we have this:

Yep, that's a pile of undyed yarn just waiting to burst into color. Superwash stuff for socks, AND some really wonderful merino/silk that seems like the same stuff I used for my Clapotis. It's been several months since my last dyeing session, as I haven't been spinning a ton lately, but then I realized (after buying my Vesper) that I could just buy some undyed yarn, and have all the fun of dyeing without the stress of worrying that I'm destroying my handspun yarn. What could be more fun than that?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Good Things Come in the Mail

What a lovely Wednesday this has turned out to be! Not only is it gorgeous outside, but I returned home from my very strenuous-in-a-good-way yoga class with my lovely friend Kara, to find an array of knitterly delights waiting for me!
My mom sent me a fabulous Easter package, complete with chocolates, an Easter basket laden with classic goodies like Peeps, and the three beautiful shawl pins that she made for me! These atrocious pictures do them no justice, but the Photographer Man isn't home yet, and I was too impatient to wait.


Aren't they great? My mom rocks.
And maybe, just maybe, we'll have a couple more days this spring when it's cool enough to sport my wrap! Not today though, as it is 73 degrees and I am basking in the sunlight of my open window right now.
And then (you thought it could get no better?) I got this:

Oh, yeah, baby, I got some Vesper sock yarn. Aquamelon, isn't it pretty? I was AMAZED at the way this stuff got grabbed up, as she was uploading the skeins to her shop! Fortunately I have a good trigger finger when it comes to the refresh button, and I managed to snag a skein. Now THAT is going to make some purty socks.
In other sock-related news:
The Falling Leaves socks are coming along. They are still sort of big, though I made them intentionally short in the foot to stretch them lengthwise a bit. Which did help. I'm just hoping blocking helps a wee bit too. There was much discussion of these socks, and my feet, at The Point last night, where my foot was declared both "small" and "narrow." Nicole even went so far as to call it "cute." Wow, thanks, Nicole! I always thought my feet were pretty standard-sized, but I have always compared them to my Mom's feet, which are both smaller, narrower, and very much prettier than mine. Guess it's all about your perspective, right? A mental note has been made to adjust future sock patterns for these new discoveries about my feet.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Field Trip in Brooklyn

Today was so beautiful and perfect, I decided to take a field trip to Park Slope. I always forget about Park Slope; it's about a 5 minute bus ride away--I had time to knit a round on my sock and we were there. And suddenly you're in this cheery, family-ish neighborhood with lots of stuff to do.
I saw lots of flowers:
And I even went to the greenmarket, where I was hoping to be practical and get some cilantro and basil plants, but ended up with these instead:

The little guy on the left is jasmine! Mmm, love that smell. The guy told me even I'd have a hard time killing it, but we'll see. Every year I decorate our window ledges with flowers and herbs, and then I kill them. Except my mint plant, which miraculously survived a winter outside on the ledge!
I stopped at Tea Lounge on Union St. for tasty iced tea, and I wished it were just a bit closer to my house, because what a great place it would be to hang out and knit!
So speaking of socks, remember how I said Falling Leaves was going to be reincarnated in Koigu?
Here it is! It's so pretty, I love the pattern and the colors and everything, except... it's kinda big. Like, it would fit a man. I wear a size 7, I feel that's pretty average, and when I searched the pattern for clues, I saw she said they were intentionally SMALL so that the lace would show better. What? I'm getting perfect gauge, so I'm confused. I figure maybe if I make them a bit shorter in the foot, they'll stretch lengthwise and I'll be OK? Anyone else out there who has made these socks? Any words of advice? I didn't really want to phunk with the pattern, as it's a repeat of 12 done 3x across the instep, and 36 sts of St. along the sole, and I wanted to keep is all even....
And no, I haven't forgotten the Organic Cotton Surprise!
That's all you get till it's done and delivered!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Snuggly New FO

I have been a busy, busy knitter. I've had a bit of a fire lit under my arse, realizing that due-dates for some planned gifts are much nearer than they used to be. How time just slips by, right?
So I was in a big hurry to finish this:

which had to be the absolute fastest sweater ever.
Pattern: Berkshire Pullover from Melanie Fallick's Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Morehouse Merino Bulky in Chartreuse, 5 skeins
Needles: 13 US
I knit the smallest size, a 35", which called for 6 skeins. I never had to touch the 6th skein, and the thing is still ginormous! I am afraid it makes me look a little like a green hippo, but that doesn't really bother me, as I obviously wasn't knitting this for a slimming, clingy effect. It was so quick and easy, no seams to sew, and makes me feel like I'm wrapped in fluffy warm happiness when I wear it.
In other news, the Falling Leaves sock is no more, though it is planning to re-emerge shortly in some bright orange Koigu. I was trying it with this Lorna's Laces sock yarn I've had for about a year, and it was just looking awful with the way the yarn is dyed. So now it's just a plain, toe-up sock:
Yep, pretty boring. But hopefully comfy in the end. I can't begin to fathom why I bought this pesky yarn, I think it must have been a moment of consumer panic at Purl. You know, when you've been there for 20 minutes and you just can't bear to leave without buying anything, and so you think, "Sock yarn! I can buy sock yarn, and then I'll only be buying 2 skeins." Even though you don't really knit socks, like, ever.
The Organic Cotton Surprise is coming along nicely, though you don't get a glimpse of it! But I think I am nearly half done. Which is a huge relief, as it is not for me, and thus needs to be finished in a timely fashion.
Next thing to be cast on? Either that Cache-Coeur I've talked so much about, or the orange Falling Leaves socks. Or why not both? Let's see how many projects I can cram into that sidebar!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New FO Photos!

Photo alert! Finally, new finished object photos posted on my Flickr page. The new additions are the last 12 in the set. This is pretty much everything I've made (for myself, at least) since last summer. Having a photographer around does not guarantee prompt photo documentation of one's knitted creations, but when they do happen, they're pretty durned cool:

I'm thinking they were worth the wait. :)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Organizational Skills

I am a listmaker. I make lists for everything; it makes me feel like I am doing something, working to get a chaotic situation under control. I make lists of what books I want to read, and then I check them off when I finish them. I make lists of the books I have recently read, just to keep track. I make lists of things we need for the house, or healthy groceries I ought to buy. I also make terrifying, paralyzing to-do lists, and sometimes by the time I have written them, I have become so overwhelmed that I have to fight the urge to crawl back into bed.
My latest list-making compulsion is to make knitting lists. Lists of works in progress, lists of patterns I want to make, lists of patterns I have already bought the yarn for. So in that spirit, I give you:


The "Inspire" List, projects for the future. Some are just hopeful candidates, others are as "for sure" as future projects can be. A couple are actually just begun.
I love when people share their future projects ideas, because not only do I see lots of things I wouldn't otherwise have known about, but it also makes me think differently about patterns I may have seen once but not given much thought to. "Oh, Yarn-Girly-Girl thinks that Rowan sweater is really great. I wonder what she likes about it?" I tend to look at patterns and imagine that everyone else will like and dislike the same ones as me, but that is not always the case. We all have such different taste (with universal exceptions like the Clapotis and maybe the Hourglass Sweater) and I think that is so cool. Because if everyone liked the same things, we wouldn't have anything new or different. And then where would we be?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Voila!

There is much excitement here in Brooklyn. I have TWO finished objects to display!
First we have the Swing Bag:

Yup, there it is! Finished mere moments ago. Topstitching closed the staps and the final opening was a pain in the butt:

(That's me, stitching) but overall, the thing was easy as pie! Clear directions, no ambiguity whatsover. Of course, I still messed up a few times, had to rip some seams, but that's par for the course when it comes to me and sewing.
So, you might have noticed in the above photo that I am wearing a brown sweater. Need a better look?
Not that this is a much better photo, but it's all I could do with a timer and a box. It's the Huggable Hill Alpaca sweater! Hooray! The real beauty of this sweater is in wearing it; it is literally the softest thing I have ever knitted. I feel like I am wrapped in cashmere, AND it was super-quick and easy, being knit from the top down .
So here's the stats:
Yarn: Huggable Hill Alpaca, about 750 yds.
Pattern: Split Neck T Shirt for Women, from Knitting Pure and Simple
Started: 3/27/06
Finished: 4/3/06 (I told you it was quick!)
Needles: 9 and 7 circs
Modifications: Since it was top-down and I had a limited amount of yarn, I was able to keep knitting the sleeves (they were the last thing and I could see what I had left) and make them long, which I think is more appropriate for alpaca. Also, I took out 8 sts. in the first few rows of the sleeves, b/c the pattern sleeves were HUGE and I had to amend.
So there you go!
Now I have to finish the Morehouse Merino sweater (which really flies right along, there's nothing like 2.5 sts./1" yarn) and I can begin the Cache Coeur. Oh la la, then I will be a tricoteuse francaise!

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Bliss of Consumerism

This Sunday found me at Purl Patchwork once again.
Anyway, some birthday money was gleefully spent, and I came home with a beautiful array of fabrics for the Amy Butler Cafe Apron, which I'm actually going to make into a wrap skirt using the handy pattern addendum Amy has supplied on her website!
So this will be the front, patchwork side of the skirt:
Maybe it's easier to imagine them all mixed together like this:
And then on the reversible back side, it will be this, with the stripe for the main part and the floral for the ties and waistband:
Jolie, non? It was so much fun picking them all out, Purl has got such lovely fabrics, I could have spent all day in there. But my poor, suffering husband was waiting outside in the spring sunshine, so I tried to speed it up. He wanted to get to the bookstore, and who am I to stand in the way of a reader in need?
On a different note, I have a confession to make:
What a surprise that it involves yarn, right? So, here's what happened. I was totally going to hold off on the Morehouse Merino purchase, think about it for a few more weeks, months, whatever. But then I came into a little birthday cash. And then, last Wednesday before going to yoga, I thought, "I'm going to be right by Union Square. I should see if they just happen to have 6 skeins of bulky in chartreuse at their market booth, and then I wouldn't have to pay shipping." Well, they didn't, but the kind woman on the phone offered to send it, free of shipping-charge, in the mail the next day, if I wanted to pay for it by credit right then. I mean, who's going to let that deal slip past her? Not this girl! So it arrived, in all of its free-shipping glory, on Saturday, and has been taunting me with green-bulky-goodness ever since. That center-pull ball is HUGE! Even Jamie was fascinated. I am racing down the final sleeve of my Huggable Hill sweater so that I can cast on this merino. Fickle, fickle girl!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flashing Your Stash Day

OK, here it is:

Fortunately my stash can still be confined to one closet. Fortuantely I have an extra closet that I can devote to this purpose. As you can see, though, the boxes have now run into the bottom of the clothes (switched out seasonally) and I have also run out of boxes. There is also some overflow into the top shelf in there. And what you see on top of that, is my growing stack of fabric. That's STACK, not stash. It's still too small for a stash, and I plan to keep it that way.
Here's a close-up of the yarn boxes:

Almost everything in there is intended for a particular project, if you can believe it. Some of the things I have waiting for me:
Angie from Rowan: It's a Tape Thing
Teva Durham's Ballet Pullover
Multiple cotton tank tops
Phildar Summer '05 Cache Coeur
A red Zara sweater, a hand-dyed orange craft-fair-yarn sweater
Numerous lace projects, though I have yet to knit any lace.
So I have my hands full, so to speak, with my stash. On top of the yarn and the fabric, there's a modest fiber stash, which I neglected to take a picture of because it's all stored unattractively in plastic bags and stuffed in a basket. I told myself quite some time ago that I needed to spin through some of it before I bought any more, and that has proved far easier than making that same requirement for my yarn.
So get flashing, people! I confess that I'm really hoping that Jessamyn flashes her stash today, because I have heard such intriguing stories about its size.
Uh-oh. The postman just left us a package.
And I think it's more yarn.