30 January 2007

Little Black Dress... For My Neck

I have two new FOs that I want to share with you, but one has to wait until sis lets me borrow her camera again. It's a lot like this one, though, so you're not missing much.

black choker

This yarn/thread (DMC Senso "Metal") doesn't like cameras as much as its wool/cotton cousin did. It's also a PITA to work with, since it splits and comes off the ball with so much twist that I had to stop what I was doing and let it hang for a minute every dozen stitches. Even with the constant interruptions, I finished this choker in half an hour, using my beloved ivory hook. Here's a slightly better look at the pattern, which is out of the same book as the other chokers.

black choker zoomed

The Intolerable Cruelty skirt is coming along nicely. I'm almost finished with the hip increases (so. much. counting. ugh.), and I managed to splice in a new skein without interrupting the variegation.

Intolerable Cruelty at 7 inches

It's about 7.5" from the turning ridge now. Looking at other people's Cruelty skirts, I'm confident that it will look good, but I'll need to be careful with the lacing loops... it looks like the directions might have them a bit too long.

For the locals, David and I will be at the Yarn Garden for a while Sunday morning to take advantage of the Super Bowl sale, and then we'll head down to the New Haven SnB. He'll have his sweater and kilt hose, among other things. I'm trying to keep from bubbling over with excitement, but it doesn't seem to be working. Eeeeee!

25 January 2007

More Meme

I found this meme at Mind of Winter and decided to post it because, well, there's not much new knitting to report here. Off we go...

What is your all-time favorite yarn to knit with? It has to be the gorgeous orange alpaca from Maple Creek Farm that I'm using for the shawl. So soft, so pretty, so wonderful.

Your favorite needles? Straights: Brittany. Circs: Clover. DPNs: Susan Bates Quicksilver.

The worst thing you've ever knit? There was that hat I tried making a few years ago when I first got back into knitting... let's never speak of it.

Your most favorite knit pattern? Right now, the alpaca shawl. I tend to make things up instead of follow patterns, but I love this pattern.

Most valuable knitting technique(s)? Cabling started going a whole lot faster when I stopped using a cable needle. I can't do it for everything, but for most of the projects I do with cables, it really speeds things up.

Best knit book(s) or magazine(s)? Victorian Lace Today is my current favorite, but as my collection of knitting books numbers... four... yeah. Ask me again in a few years.

Your favorite knit-along? I've... never done a knit-along. I'm always wary of joining because, well, stuff happens, schedules change, I'll end up having no time to knit, and I'll fall way behind. This kind of flux is an inherent part of my life, and knit-alongs just don't fit.

Your favorite knitblogs? There are way too many to list here (which reminds me, I need to update my blogroll), but I think I can manage a top-five list: Casting On and Sunflowerfairy Knits are my favorite locals, the Yarn Harlot and See Eunny Knit are my favorite Knitters-with-a-capital-K, and Sweater Project has been a favorite since long before he seduced me.

Your favorite knitwear designer(s)? I don't think I have a favorite. I'm picky about the designs I like, and I don't think there's one designer who consistently amazes me. Eunny is pretty close, though.

The knit item you wear the most? My toque... I wear it just about every day during the cold half of the year.

Who's next? Eenie, meenie, miney... I think I'll pass this to some of the locals: Sunflowerfairy, Marla, Jenn, and anyone else who cares to do it.

21 January 2007

More Greenery Goodness

Lauren made my hat! I'm so happy that people like this pattern. (Lauren, I'm not sure what's up with the link you posted in the comment... it showed up in the source code but wasn't displayed on the page. Blogger bug, I guess.)

I made an inch or two of progress on Intolerable Cruelty at the SnB today, laughed lots, and finally met Sunflowerfairy! (Post pics of that sweater!) I also stopped at Moka afterwards (the SnB moved to a bigger location so as not to steal every chair in the café) to try their orange spice hot chocolate. It's delicious, if a little expensive.

I've been asked to design Greenery mittens to go with the hat, so I'll try to work on that sometime soon. I still need to finish my sister's Christmas present and maybe make myself a scarf. Can you believe that a knitter doesn't own any scarves? I was shocked to discover this a few days ago. So those are the high-priority projects I need to finish before I can get back to designing.

17 January 2007

Cruelty Begins

Intolerable Cruelty

This is the beginning of Intolerable Cruelty. I love that the yarn matches the stool it's on.

To help me with this project, I made a ball-holder:

milk jug ball holder

Recycling is a good thing, don't you think?

Sorry that there isn't more text tonight. My brain's a little zonked.

15 January 2007

Progress, Phalenopsis, and Pomegranate

You may have noticed that there's something on the sidebar I haven't mentioned yet: "Intolerable Cruelty." I've finally decided to knit a garment (instead of all these accessories I keep churning out,) and it's Knitty's sexy skirt from the Fall 2006 issue. I have something like 1400 yards of Red Heart "Soft" that I was given, and it seems like a good idea to use it for my test run of this pattern before I shell out for the good stuff. I'll post pictures sometime this week.

Here's a good look at the progress on the magenta bag:

magenta bag

The piece on the left has been dry-blocked so y'all can see it without the crazy curling you see on the right.

In other news, my sister bought herself yet another orchid (she's been on an orchid kick for the last few weeks, and has money to burn... lucky girl):


...and I just discovered this stuff, which smells good enough to eat:

Pomegranate Mango

Mmmmmm. Time for a shower.

14 January 2007

My First Stitch 'n Bitch

I never thought I'd say it, but... I can't knit or crochet any more today. My hands just don't want to do it. At Sunflowerfairy's urging, I went to the New Haven S'nB this afternoon and had a blast chatting with the ladies (and guy) there. There are a few more knitblogs on my daily reading list now, and a new love for Moka. I got one of the last cups of hot cider for the season, and next time I'm going to try the orange-and-spice hot chocolate.

My magenta Tunisian bag is coming along nicely. The front is finished, the back is about halfway there, and then it's just the sides, flap, and strap. I'll take pics when my sister lets me borrow her camera again. I'm thinking about doing some embroidery on the bag once it's assembled, since Tunisian crochet lends itself so well to such embellishment.

I think I'll spend the evening installing fonts (I forgot to do a backup before reformatting my hard drive a few months ago), playing with GIMP, and making a flash-redirecting thingumbob for my camera. (My camera takes film, so I can't use it for blogging.)

12 January 2007

Not Knitting at Knit Night

For a while, I've been thinking about joining a knitting group, or at least hanging out with knitters on a regular basis. I spend my days surrounded by foul-mouthed, 19-year-old boys, so spending an evening or two with some mature, creative people would be a nice change. The LYS closest to me has a "don't knit here if you bought your yarn somewhere else" rule, and I just can't afford most of the yarn they have. A few weeks ago I made my maiden visit to The Yarn Garden and enjoyed the atmosphere so much that I decided to drop in on their weekly knitting circle last night.

I was the youngest by several decades, the only one who declined the owner's offer of a glass of wine, and the only one... not knitting. That's right, I left my lace at home and brought something else instead. I'd bought some yarn there the first time I visited, and I picked up some more of the same stuff last night because the yarn finally decided what it wanted to be: a bag. A Tunisian-crocheted bag.

The ladies want me to teach a Tunisian crochet class, which I'd love to do one of these Saturdays, and they were amazed at the progress I made in the hour I was there. "Look how much she got done! And with only one needle!"

Ohyah. I'm doing this every week now. Oh! And here's what I was working on:

mitered Tunisian crochet

My scanner, as always, has color issues. This is a vibrant, magenta-red, cotton-viscose blend, six (90yd.) balls of which cost me an amazing $7.50. I love the discount bin.

I'm trying to think of a smallish project I can do for a class. Dishcloth, maybe? Do people need more dishcloths? I need suggestions!

10 January 2007

Alpaca, My 'Paca

Have I mentioned how much I love this alpaca yarn? It's so soft, so pretty, so wonderful to work with... I want y'all to come over so you can pet it.

Yes, I'm insane. Moving on, here's a scan of the lace:

alpaca victorian lace

It's not blocked, obviously, and my scanner didn't pick up how bright it is, but I think you get the idea. One of the things I love about this pattern is that, in each repeat, there are only two SK2P (slip 1 knitwise, k2tog, psso). The rest of the decreases are k2tog. Why does this make me happy? I hate ssk. I don't know why, I don't know when it happened, I just know that there's something about ssk that annoys me.

Insane, remember?

So yeah, I love the yarn, I love the pattern, and one of these days I might get around to working on other projects that aren't lace.


08 January 2007

Laced With Love

I'm weak. I should be saving up for RenFaires and such, but I needed a book. Needed. Yes. I needed a lace book. It was vital to my existence. You understand, I'm sure.

I swatched the "Meadow Flowers Shawl" from Knitter's Stash. It would be gorgeous in fingering-weight mohair. What I have is lightweight alpaca, which makes garter stitch look kind of heavy. The Meadow Flowers Shawl? Mostly garter stitch. I needed a new shawl pattern.

The local library has maybe a dozen knitting books. I've already been through the four good ones. Rather than try my luck at other libraries (with limited hours on a Sunday,) I went to the LYS. The whole world, it seemed, was at Creative Fibers on Sunday. I happened to show up between classes, so everyone was milling about, talking about what they'd just learned or were about to learn. I carefully snaked my way through the crowd to the bookshelf.

As I worked my way from top to bottom, reading titles and flipping through a few things that looked promising, I caught snippets of conversations. There was the bear-like guy whose boyfriend had taken to leaving "hints" about yarn he wanted tucked into whatever pattern the bear-like guy was working on that week. There was a woman who was so happy with the class she'd just taken that she took the instructor by the hand and tried to drag him to her car. I did my best not to burst out laughing... people might wonder what I found funny about shawl patterns.

On the second shelf from the bottom, I found it. Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. It has the most gorgeous lace patterns I've ever seen, with clear notes on the required yardage, needles, yarn type, and blocked dimensions. I clutched it to my chest, ran the gauntlet past the classrom, and presented my selection to the cashier. It was mine. All mine! MUAHAHAHAAAAAA!


So yeah, I have this beautiful new knitting book and a beautiful new shawl pattern for the orange alpaca. If I can figure out where I lost a stitch (somewhere in the last two rows, I think) and fix it, I'll hook up my scanner and show you what the first few inches look like. It's going to be gorgeous.

And I have a new book. Did I mention that? Hee!

07 January 2007

Swiftly Balling

So I made myself a swift. There were tool issues, measuring issues, sawdust-in-eyes issues, but it's functional. Cockeyed, but functional. I know what to fix for the next one. (There will be a next one, one that will have hinges and bevels and possibly pretty designs burned/painted on it. Oh yeah. It'll be sweet. You just wait.)


I used this marvel of engineering (*coughsplutterhack*) to turn that lovely hank of orange alpaca into this:

ball of alpaca

(Pardon the crappy webcam pic... sis took her camera before I could shoot the ball.) The ball is bigger than a grapefruit (how I long for a grapefruit,) and, as you can see, pulls from the center. I love my hand-wound, center-pull balls because they turn into flying saucers as more and more yarn comes out of the center.

Little things amuse me, y'know?

Task for today: swatch!

06 January 2007

WiP it good

I admit it: I haven't been doing much knitting lately. School takes a lot of my time and energy and leaves my hands feeling dirty, even after a good scrub with Lava soap. I do keep projects at hand, though, for the times when I do feel like knitting. See?

cluttered desk

That's Falling Leaves sock #1 (yes, still) getting near the end. I don't like mid-calf socks, so it's going to be an ankle sock with the ribbing as a turned-down cuff.

The green thing is an edging swatch made with the same yarn I used on the Teal Diamond hat. The pattern ("Leaf Edging") is out of an '80s edition of The Arco Guide to Knitting Stitches, which has been absorbed into The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches by Reader's Digest. (How's that for a title?)

Under all of that is some Lion Brand Magic Stripes sock yarn in "Lumberjack Black" that I'm using to cover headphone cords. See the little bit if I-cord sticking out over the yellow tape measure? Yeah, that's it. 4-stitch I-cord made on the headphone cord. It's a pain, and I may have to frog it if SanDisk tells me I can't fix my new MP3 player and have to return it. *sigh*

The purple and white under the gigantic ball band is a secret project. Shhh!

I'm also in the process of making a swift so I can ball up the orange alpaca yarn David got for me at Rhinebeck. I usually don't get fiber this bright, but that weekend it cried out to me, begging to be taken home.

orange alpaca

Yep, it's really that bright. It's going to be a Meadow Flowers Shawl from Knitter's Stash, I think.