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Showing posts from September, 2007

September's Bounty

This week as I mulled some important life questions I also was facing up to a glitch in my own behavior over the past month. Year upon year (really decade upon decade) of lean times has made me fairly parsimonious, or so I like to think of myself until I come face to face with my alter ego, Miss Sallie Spendthrift.

Now I am a quirky person. I know this and I work with this. I learned early on, having made my own money starting with a paper route at age 11, that I have a bit of problem with spending monomania. Having little money meant that I wouldn't go shopping very often. So when I did the impetus sometimes was from a sense of compulsion, rather than a concrete need. In other words, I am prone to spending binges.

Even as a young girl I knew what to do and that is let it run its course and then pick up the pieces afterwords. So, I'd buy up all sorts of stuff and then the next day, or week, I'd return most, if not all of it. The money was always needed for more pr…

Done done done done done done done done done!

Ahem. These. Are. Done. Did you get that? Done.

As you can plainly see the toes are green. By Friday night, even without the help of the new scale I could tell I was completely wrong in my assessment that I'd have enough yarn to finish off the socks. And hubby unwittingly came to the rescue yesterday morning when he suggested a road trip to help ease us out of last week. Quicker than one could say boo, I was thinking Patternworks!

It was perfect weather for a drive through New Hampshire and perfect timing because I desperately needed some fingering weight sock yarn to complete hubby's socks. And complete hubby's socks was my mission for this weekend. Patternworks did not disappoint and I was so proud of myself to leave with only having spent $60, $10 of which was spent on a sweater rack, so it doesn't count, right?

I had really hoped to buy some Koigu as I have yet to work with this yarn but their selection of greens didn't work for me so I settled for something tha…

This week in knitting socks...

It was a tough week at Chez Yarn and I'm glad it's over. Earlier in the week I was all revved up about testing pattern ideas on the first knitted arm of Blueberry Moon. I'll leave these details for another day. While my ideas germinated I decided to put some effort into my longstanding sock WIPs.

I took the Regia Striped Sock to work one day and wound up unable to stop myself and turned the heel violating my #1 rule of sock knitting (sorry to be a broken record) "do not knit turn a sock heel until you can knit the second heel shortly thereafter." Unfortunately, the knitting was so addicting and well, I was in a bad spot. I needed the fix. What's a knitter to do?

I just love this striping colorway. I may be fooling myself, but I really hope to start the second sock at the same point and have the stripes match. This is my first self-striping sock, so I should be allowed some hubris? Right?

In other sock knitting I've gotta come clean on something. …

Blueberry Moon Update

My Blueberry Moon sweater has only received perfunctory attention these past few weeks. The cold snap early last week ignited my interest again. Yesterday it received almost undivided attention and I was able to knit about 200 yards, as well as redo the shoulder seam.

I reduced the number of buttons, expanded the button holes from one stitch to two, and used a 1K2P rib. All day yesterday I mulled over how I could add expanding cables on the bottom half of the sweater using some A-line shaping in the spirit of Vogue's Silver Belle. As soon as I'm done with this ball on the body, I'll start a sleeve to experiment on.

If I had knit as many stitches on my socks last night as I did on this sweater I would have had both hubby's earth socks and the regia silk self striping socks done. Well, not exactly. I realize stockinette stitch on a 36" needle goes a heck of a lot faster than mostly stockinette on three size US1 dpns. My inner castigator, she prefers to believe the fo…

Where giving out your email pays off!

I am always loath to give out my info to salesclerks. I think they have some nerve asking me my phone number, though I am polite when I say "no thank you" in response. They are just doing the job their corporate employers pay them to do.

But still. Companies have some nerve. If they want my info then they should buy it on the market like they buy everything else about us. Yet, this acrimony aside, I did give my email to a LYS a few weeks ago and I am so happy I did because they sent me an email saying they had gotten the following in stock:

I've been dying to try these so I drove right down and picked up a pair. They only had about five or six sets in varying sizes so I'm glad I didn't wait. They were so overpriced it's a shame. But a little luxury in a woman's life is nothing to shake a stick at. I'm so misshapen I am loathe to purchase clothes and today's styles in shoes leave me buying these in bulk so I'm only left with handbags a…

One thing done! Whew.

I definitely needed a quickie project to smooth out the rough edges. Ripley's sweater was finished during lunch yesterday and it looks great on him, if I do say so myself.

The pattern still could use some tweaking, but overall it fits him great. Now back to battling the Firestarter...

Me and Patterns, not so good friends...

As to be expected the Firestarter pattern is a struggle for me. First, there are two sets of directions in the packet. So to better my odds I'm reading both at the same time and going crazy for my effort.

One set of instructions says to CO 30 using the provisional cast on; the second says to make a provisional cast on using a crochet chain the length of a little over half the needed stitches. Literal me reads this and thinks the crochet chain should only have 15 stitches plus a few. And yes, I would be wrong. And wrong in an eventual "it'll be funny how wrong I was" way. Yet this funny wasn't evident to me while I was wracking my brain at the seeming contradiction of the two statements. I was not given any pattern reading DNA. None whatsover. And my laugh at myself gene could use a little bolstering as well.

It seems obvious now that the pattern writer meant half the total stitches needed for the full circumference of the sock. But it wasn't even remotely …

Starting Afresh

I've been inspired by the frogging going on over at Chicken Knits. How this actually worked for me is that I decided to abandon the CEY Lush doggie sweater for a new doggie sweater with new yarn I just accidentally picked up explicitly for this purpose.

It couldn't be helped. Aside from today's expected high of 82 degrees, it's been quite chilly. Ripley is in need. I'd be a horrible mother if I didn't keep him warm. And I just happened to need new needles yesterday for the firestarter KAL and was in a LYS. I'd be remiss if I passed over this luscious yarn. Right?

Now the fact is I was also moved by the quickie project focus going on over at dogged. A girl should not be held responsible for blogger peer pressure. Even when she doesn't even know said bloggers, it's still their fault. It is. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

This lovely lovely yarn is fascinating. It goes from roving bulky to sport weight and looks fabulous in cake and…

My first KAL

I'm really hoping to join Peaknits' sock knit-a-long using Yarnissima's firestarter pattern. All I'm waiting for now is an invite!

Seriously, the Lorna's Shepherd Sock cakes I whipped up this weekend are screaming to be firestarter socks. Who cares if I have two socks on needles presently? Not me.

Not having enough needles was quickly fixed by running out to a LYS at lunch and picking up two sets of US1 dpns. (I know the pattern calls for circ's but I'm sure I'll wind up wanting to use dpns.)

This will be good practice for me to face my pattern fear. Really. Right?

Dog Knits

The newest edition to our family, Ripley, our chihuahua terrier mix, came to us in June, shortly after I started this blog. And as the days and nights were cool it became obvious very quickly Ripley would need some hand knits.

I cast on some heathered green Lopi I had lying around and came up with this fly-by-my-seat design which doesn't look half bad. Ripley looks like a little bruiser, doesn't he?

Shortly thereafter I began another off-the-cuff design with a pair of highly discounted Classic Elite Lush skeins I picked up at Patternworks. I've gotten pretty far twice, but my shaping isn't working out. The heat came to squash what little interest I had to refrog and redesign a second time. I'm hoping a post will boost my interest, or at least generate some pressure to get this out of my WIP bin.

The yarn itself is great to work with. It is an Angora/wool blend that doesn't blossom until after you knit it. I thought that was pretty cool.

Socks and Cakes and Changes! Oh my!

I'm feeling just a tad bit corny this afternoon. Can you tell?

I've been mulling over changing the feel of the blog since day one and so it's done. Let's see how long I like it.

I couldn't help but make cakes of the Lorna's Shepherd Sock this weekend, but I did stop short of casting on. I think this colorway will work well with a textured sock, probably another mini cable rib like Jen's xmas socks.

Yet I couldn't resist the pull of starting another pair of socks so I thought the best thing to do was to use the self-striping Regia Silk I picked up at Webs a month and a half ago. A pure stockinette sock is a perfect foil to what I have on the needles right now.

More on my recent acquisitions

The weather just doesn't seem to want to cooperate, both last weekend and now it's been rainy and dreary. Dreary, I can handle, but rainy interrupts the visual itemization of my stash and FOs I've got going on.

I did get all my yarn photographed before it started drizzling again. And since I finally realized how to use the close up function on the hubby's digital camera I had to take more photos of the latest additions to my yarn stash.

My very first Lorna's hand dyed yarn:

This is Shepherd Sock yarn, 80% superwash wool, 20% nylon, colorway Gold Hill. Each skein is 215 yards.

Madelinetosh hand dyed yarn:

This is a superwash merino in the Violas colorway. The one skein I have is 395 yards.

And finally more Cherry Tree Hill supersock.

The yarn didn't have its tag, but I know this is 100% superwash merino and 420 yards. The colorway name remains unknown to me.

It's taking all of my will not to start knitting one or more of these skeins up. I really fear I might…

Necessary Rewind

Wednesday night I decided on the motif to use for Project Stole's white space and then threw caution to the wind and cast on. I felt such an instant relief to be knitting instead of designing.

Designing is fraught with so much fear that it is a wonder I do it. But I do. I'm still struggling with knowing when to stop and just dive in. Yet when I do stop and start knitting and see the following, all the stress is forgotten in that brief moment.

The Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran yarn is so sumptuous. I know I've gone on and on about this yarn but it is so soft and lofty, and it knits so easily. It shows off the texture of the design as well as I had hoped.

Notice how it's not on needles? Well that length you see represents about 80 yards of yarn and it's less than 3 inches long so I'm gonna have to frog and begin again with less of the modified seed stitch if I'm gonna make a length anywhere near 60 inches.

And the yarn isn't that blue, it's more like the gray s…

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

I am Obsessed with a capital O. I hit the books on Sunday and I found pretty quickly I couldn't get this Embossed Twining Vine Leaf pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury out of my mind.

The past three days have all been about finding a way to incorporate this into a pattern for the stole. It has been either what I have been physically doing or what I have been mentally doing while my body goes about without my full attention. Poor hubby has had to repeat himself over and over again as I can't concentrate enough to listen.

Finally last night I put away the Excel spreadsheets and bound off the above swatch and moved on to the simple joy of stockinette sock knitting:

Once I come to the heel turning, I always begin the second sock. That way I don't mess the whole thing up.

Today I'm back at it again and tonight I'll be home swatching the prospective white space.

Yarn Crawl

Last week I had given up on Project Stole. Or so I thought. I found myself trying to incorporate some variation of Barbara Walker's Embossed Twining Vine Leaf pattern into a sweater design. I did find this Lacy Leaf Pullover by Teva Durham on Ravelry which seems to have the spirit of what I was incoherently envisioning:

Somehow it didn't take. In the back of my mind I was still itching to go to the two LYSes in my region that the Jo Sharp website indicated as suppliers of the Silkwood Aran. And come Saturday I was on the road to Wild and Woolly in Lexington, MA and Yarns in the Farm, in Beverly Farms, MA.

I hit Lexington first, and I was not disappointed by their selection of yarn or books, with the exception that they don't carry the Elsebeth Lavold books, one of which has a sweater pattern I'm dying to imitate. According to Jackie, one of the sales associates, stores have to carry her yarn in order to carry her books. That seems kind of strong-army, don't you thi…

Do you smell anything?

I always knew I was full of shitola. Always.

Yes, right there are 13 skeins of Jo Sharp Silkwood Aran in the Empire colorway. The other two skeins are in my knitting basket, as I've already started tampering with them. I just couldn't help myself. And let me add, that's just the tip of my hypocrisy. The tip. I bought three different types of sock yarn. Three.

In my defense I lugged up the entire stash and have put in motion a method of getting rid of the stuff I know I'll never use. The rest I'm going to photograph for Ravelry so that I'll never forget what I have.

Looking for inspiration once again...

With the kinks in Blueberry Moon just about ironed out, I've spent an inordinate amount of time stalling on getting the yarn for the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran stole project. I tried to get to Wild and Woolly in Lexington, MA, which is listed as a retailer of the yarn. I was unsuccessful, they weren't open for the holiday. Pooh.

But that's not the whole of it. I don't think any LYS is going to have 15 balls of the color I want, and I know an online retailer will. So why am I dragging my feet? I think I've finally acknowledged to myself that I'm not ready for a 1,500 yard cable project, especially since the yarn is going to cost over $100. I feel a strong pressure to use up the yarn I purchased this summer before moving on to new projects.

Unlike most knitters I actually hate to stash yarn. I feel prisoner to all the unused yarn I've purchased in the past and never used. My stash is like a proverbial leaded ball and chain. So I've turned my attention to the s…

Trying something new

I had knit beyond the shoulder seam on my Blueberry Moon sweater project by the end of last week.

Before going any further I wanted to knit up the shoulder seam. If I was going to have to frog, I didn't want have to frog more than necessary. So instead of diving right in I took some time to mull over how one does this, since I am winging it.

Sunday night I struggled with the top seam, the one with the buttonholes. Picking up stitches isn't my forte, especially when I have no clue if what I'm doing is going to make sense, much less look acceptable. As soon as I finished the top, buttonhole seam I set it aside.

Yesterday, I picked it up again and immediately realized that I used a k2p2 rib, instead of the p2k1 rib I used on the neckband. Big d'oh. Instead of frogging right then and there I decided to plow ahead with the rest of the shoulder seam and consider the result a test drive, a draft run. This is how it came out.

Not bad, considering. I'm thinking four buttons may…


The cabled shrug project has definitely taken hold. So much so I put the labor in Labor Day this weekend, I wrapped up two outstanding projects, my Rowan Cashsoft Shawl and my burgundy cable afghan. Yipee!

Both projects were begun with a great deal more enthusiasm than was present as I finished them up yesterday. I loved how quick the afghan worked up using two strands of the Paton's Classic Merino yarn. The stitch definition looked far more cohesive than I originally thought. It will look good with the Armoire quilt I purchased for the soon-to-be renovated guest bedroom.

The Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK yarn I used for my first shawl is a beautiful yarn but it was difficult to work with on the bamboo needles I prefer. As I have discussed in a previous post once I put the project on the lone pair of addi turbo needles I own I quickly found it much easier to work with. It is a gorgeous yarn, and supposedly machine washable, but I'll probably never use it again. So glad this is done.