Saturday, September 22, 2007

1st Blocking Experience

I recruited my Mom and laid out all of my tools and got all tense and nervous about blocking my finished Forest Canopy Shawl. Why? It was very simple. I like orderly steps and blocking is just that, simple and orderly. I soaked my shawl for 30 minutes, pressed it between two towels and then spread it out on my Blocking board. I used three different types of pins and two of my wires. The wires across the widest part on top. T-pins on the furthest edges and points. Daisy Top quilting pins for the points. Straight pins on the other areas that are more relaxed that I just did not want to crinkle or draw up as the fabric drys. Voila, it will be dry this time tomorrow.

BEFORE - Unblocked


After - Blocked:

Mom did not get to play at all. I was able to rotate the board around and luckily did not have any pins to pop out.

Finishing Touch - The Shawl Pin from Ruby Vegas on etsy.

The Daily Chum by Lime and Violet

I am thoroughly enjoying The Daily Chum newsletter. I found Robert Buchanan's book, The Garter Stitch and a new yarn seller that I love, WoolGirl. I bought a few items and they arrived in 2 days time. I am a sucker for presentation and Jen's presentation is exceptional.

and gifts

most importantly - quality products

and lastly, protection.

Finished Fawkes

Pair 24 of 52
Fawkes socks by Gina Silva

Socks That Rock Firebird lightweight on size 2 circular needles.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fawkes Takes Flight

Fawkes has flown off my needles. I snuck in the foot and toe although this is my all shawl week of knitting. I only have one more 12 row repeat before I start the border on my shawl so I went ahead and finished off the Fawkes socks. I might cheat again tonight and finish off the I Love Gansey socks; after I knit the last 12 pattern rows and before I start the border of the shawl. Picking up stitches evenly is not one of my strongest skills, and I have to pick up stitches along two sides of the shawl. I should probably put that off until Saturday when I can work in full daylight. Yep folks, it's nearly dark when I get home these evenings. :-{

I bought someone's 50th birthday present today :D I also saw a post in the forum about the 50% off (60% with my membership) sale at Barnes & Noble. I bought some of the books I have been waiting for - all of them but one were under $13.00, and they threw in free expedited shipping. The sale is mostly Vogue books, which is what I had on my wish list. There was also news on the forum that the Ravelry t-shirts are available for pre-order. I bought one of each design and bought the buttons. I already have two totes from Zazzle so I am pretty much set with the Ravelry Swag. I bought a little yarn, 1 skein from Purl Soho and 1 skein from Knit Picks. I didn't have any DK weight for the Six Sox KAL October sock. I also came across the perfect aqua lace weight yarn for my BF Carolyn's shawl. She wants socks and a turquoise shawl for her birthday and Christmas - which fall 12 days apart.

My swap pal got her back to school Hogwart's Sock Swap package, yay. I was a little worried. But she e-mailed me that she received her box, and all is right with the world. I must get back to her socks next week when I get home from the conference. So far the pattern I wrote has been accurate, the charts are error free. I just need to dedicate a little knitting time to them. I am using a fine yarn and size 1 needles which is really slow for me. I am so used to size 3s.

Chilly Dilly, it's getting cold around the SF Bay. I am thinking now would be a good time to get to work on another afghan. I love my granny square afghans. They go so quickly and they are dead useful. Even the dog has an afghan. But I will probably start the Log Cabin pattern I have copies of all over my desk. I was printing every variation I could find, especially the free patterns. The log cabin theme has been featured in several magazines and a few books. I will have to narrow down my color selection. I have so much yarn - hush, no comments from the peanut gallery.

I belonged to one of those crocheted squares club. Each month you sent each person in the group a square you designed. I have been joining the squares off and on over time, with black yarn between squares to balance the size. That is another afghan I would like to finish. It is about half completed and would be really warm and cuddly this winter. I will pop over to Ravelry and add those to my queue and wip. Out of sight out mind, that is why they have not been finished yet. I need to park them in my bedroom where I can see them, then I will be urged to finish them and get them out of the way! Ravelry is a great reminder, once I post a picture of a wip, I want to see it move to the finished projects section.

All things in time . . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sweet Harmony

I have to say that Knit Picks has done it again. I have received my Knit Picks Harmony Needles. I was a little surprised to see that the tips were so much shorter than the fixed circulars and my Addi circulars and the KP metal tips. I have some 16'' KP sock needles that gouge the palm of my hand so I was very concerned. Because these needles are gorgeous and I knew that if they hurt me I still was not going be able to return them. (it's an illness, I know) I opened them up, ran my fingers along them for about 5 minutes. They are silky smooth and I think the joins are even shaplier than the metal tip joins. I pulled out a 47" cable and attached the size 8 tips. I transferred my Forest Canopy Shawl from the Addi's to the KP Harmonys and worked a full 8 row repeat. Just a weird coincidence - the colors in the wood of the Harmonys is the same exact colors of the STR Pucks Mischief yarn I am knitting the shawl with. First impressions: much smoother than the Addis; nicer join; sharper points; the colors become background and don't really mess with your vision and stitch perception after a couple of rows; my work progressed much faster. I give them a 10 out of 10. I will cast on some socks on the fixed circular size 3s tonight. I am so glad they produced these needles. I was having a difficult time switching between the super sharp tipped KP Metal needles and my Clover and Addi Bamboos. I have never enjoyed moving those stretched out yarn overs across the joins of my bamboo needles. Now, humph, I am gliding in Harmony. Check them out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Down to the Feet

Fawkes in Firebird
I have picked up the gusset and begun the decreases on the second sock. Dharmafey you were right I have more than enough yarn on the size 2 needles. I will get to make something else with the other skein of STR Firebird I bought. I am sure there is something in my queue it will be perfect for.

I could not resist picking her back up. I am working the heel flap on sock one now.

I Love Gansey
I gave up on the Sundara and cast them on in Regia Silk. Aw what a pleasure this pattern is with a cooperative yarn. One mistake, watching a thriller movie while working a cable stitch pattern sock. I had to rip out six rows Saturday night, but they are all back in line and I am ready to start the heels of both socks. The next Six Sox KAL pattern calls for a DK weight yarn. I will get to try the Knit Picks Swish DK or Bare DK in my collection.

So all of my sock WIPS are down to the feet. I took lots of progress pictures but since all of the socks will soon be finished projects I probably won't bother posting them. This is shawl week. I am going to work on my shawl every night so that I can block it on or before the 25th. Then I will be able to wear if for the CGOA/TKGA Banquet Saturday Night 09/29/07. I check into the Marriott Thursday and I have classes every day, I love learning new skills. I am meeting Amy either Thurs or Sun. My Sister is going to come into Oakland one night for dinner. Yay, a sister night.

If I stay off the computer again this week I should be able to finish everything in time. My Harmony Needles will be here in a day or two. Jazz hands.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What's Going On

I finished the Plymouth Royal Bamboo (colorway #15) fingerless gloves for the co-worker who is alergic to wool. She is going on an Alaskan cruise later this month and she wanted some glovettes to keep her hands warm while she takes photos. Me to the rescue, cause that's how I roll. I did the little thing with the thumbs and it worked out fine. I knit the glovettes on two circular needles. When I reached the point where I wanted to make the thumb, I put the last 4 stitches from needle 2 and the first 4 stitches from needle 1 on scrap yarn. I added six stitches to the hand so as the glovette reaches her palm there is more width. After knitting 4 more rows I bound off the hand. I picked up the stitches on the thumb, adding one stitch on each side of the thumb so it would not get stuck when she pulled it over the knuckle. Voila. It worked and they are cute as heck. I put them in a little chinese take out box, slapped one of my hand made by me labels on there and delivered them this morning. I finished the first Fawkes sock and cast on the second one. The cuff and one repeat are done. I am struggling with the I Love Gansey socks - I HATE SUNDARA yarn. It is a pain working with this Sundara yarn, it tangles, does not stay in a ball and considering the definition of the stitches is not even worth all the work. I am going to have to destash the other two hanks I bought. There is no way I will ever make a project with it after this fiasco. The sock pattern is fine, and should be really pretty, but I am desperate to get the project off my needles because of the yarn. If I rip them out and switch to another yarn, that's about 20 hours of work lost. Can't think about that right now. As Scarlett O'Hara would say, "I'll think about that tomorrow".

While I am doing the ranting thing - I HATE KNITTING NINJA YARNS. They never shipped my yarn, they never responded to my e-mails, they never responded to PayPal's inquiry and when my claim was decided in my favor they only had .42 cents in their account, so that is all I got back. What I hate most about the whole ordeal - their yarn is beautiful on their website. :-{ Why couldn't they have just sent me some of it????!!!!!

Ms. Bellatrix is still behind the veil, bless her. She'll be getting some attention as soon as I finish my HSS2 socks for my pal. I am 4 rows into the colorwork but still cannot see how things are developing because the pattern is still too close to the needles. I should get a complete pattern repeat done tonight and see if it is working out.

I spent way too much time watching Golf and Tennis this weekend. I hardly knitted at all. Must do better this week. I also have pictures on the camera to upload. I did update my Ravelry stash and projects in my notebook. I finished the books I was reading and listening to. I have a few new podcasts in iTunes, but I wasn't in the mood for them so I saved them for this week.

I read on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum that Blue Moon Fiber Arts is discontinuing several colorways by Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007. I don't think any of my favs are on the list, except Puck's Mischief. I have enough Puck's Mischief for several more projects - it's like a magic neverending ball of yarn. No matter how big my shawl gets the ball still looks the same size, and I have two more balls!!

Hey I got an invite from Cambridge Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women. They want to include me in their "Honors Edition" section of the 2007/2008 registry. I better get this form in the mail. Something cool for the resume, no?!?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Gold Star

I am giving myself a gold star. I finished my homework swatches for the Fall 2007 CGOA/TKGA conference classes I am taking. Yay. They are worsted, sport and fingering weight DC and SC swatches.

Back to knitting and of course shopping. I just ordered the Knit Picks Harmony Options needles set and sock Size 2 and Size 3 Classic Harmony Circulars (fixed) needles. I cannot wait to get those in my hands.

I am making up the pattern for the Royal Bamboo fingerless gloves and I have reached the thumb. I hope my vision materializes into a wearable glove :~D

Now I see what all the fuss was about - I received my Dream in Color Smooshy yarn from the Loopy Ewe. Well if SMOOSHY ain't the perfect name for this yarn I don't know what is. I spent several moments squeezing it before and after I took the pictures. I will be winding one of these hanks up very soon so I can cast it on and get a real feel for it. Love the colors!!

I also got a skein of ShiBui Knits in the last sneak up. It is comparable to Louet Gems, Sundara and Lorna's Laces. The color is amazing. I am very pleased with the Midnight Colorway. I will probably save it for a Cookie A. pattern.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Horcrux Socks for Debbie

Horcrux Socks by Susan Lawrence
Worsted Weight Pattern
Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Dark Navy
Women's Size Medium on Size 6 Circular Needles
These were fun. I am going to make a pair in the sock weight pattern for me eventually. Still have the 6 Sox Knit Along socks to complete and my Harry Potter themed socks. I turned the heel and am about to pick up the gusset on the I Love Gansey 6SKAL sock and I am knitting the foot of Fawkes. I have not been able to give Bellatrix any attention at all. Since Molly Weasley has done for her I am sure she does not mind waiting behind the veil ;P.

I am casting on some fingerless mitts for a co-worker and my Swap Pals socks tonight. I am nervous about the little pattern I wrote. I hope it goes according to plan.

I made invisible progress on my Forest Canopy Shawl. I completed two more repeats, which is 16 rows and 2 inches. You cannot tell of course. The shawl is getting more scrunched up on the needles as it grows. I am up to (about) 139 stitches out of 195. I ran another lifeline at this point. I really want to have this blocked and wearable by the conference on the 27th. I will keep going at it and see what happens. Too blessed to be stressed about it.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap 2 Contest

What type of pet do you choose as your companion at Hogwarts? An Owl

While shopping in Hogsmeade you stop by Honeydukes for some sweets.
What treats do you purchase for yourself?
Red Licorice Wands, Lemon Drops, Chocolate and Caramel Nougat, and one of those Cotton Candy Heart Shaped Lollipops (from the Prisoner of Azkaban film)

A potion you are preparing needs an ingredient available only at muggle shops. You don't want to stand out in your wizards robes, so you resort to traditional muggle clothing. Describe your outfit in detail. Jeans, V-Neck T-Shirt, White Tennis Shoes, Gryffindor Socks, Scarf, and Sweater.

What is your favorite subject to study at Hogwarts and why? Charms, I would love to be able to levitate objects and protect against and cast jinxes and hexes.

Likewise, what subject is your least favorite and why? Astronomy, I don't like using telescopes lenses with my bifocals.

Back to the potion you were shopping for ingredients for,
what type of potion are you
making, Cheering charm
what color is it, aqua marine
what are the ingredients, honey, ginseng, all spice, butterfly wings, dragon heart, fairy dust, powdered unicorn horn
and precisely what does the potion do? Makes the drinker happy until tragedy or bad luck befalls them.

3 days of Catching Up

I managed to get the rest of my sock stash pictures up on Ravelry (yes Dharmafey, that's only my sock yarn stash). I have printed and sorted some free patterns that are now in my queue. I have organized my supplies for the conference, I still need to do 5 6x6" swatches for homework though. Maybe tomorrow. I had to redo the excel spreadsheet for the I Love Gansey Socks and I am almost finished with the second repeat of the three charts. I also wound 20 balls of yarn; I had tangle problems with two hanks which added over an hour to the process. I got to use my electric ball winder, yeah!! All the Socks That Rock in that picture have been wound except the Silkie because I don't plan on knitting with it any time soon.

A few more goodies came in the mail. Tools are as cool as yarn to me. I really like the stitch count markers that look like diaper pins. Since I have started using the Knit Picks method of marking every 10th row, my socks are a perfect match. But since I also like to make more than one pair of socks at a time, I need a lot of markers. There is a tool I just discovered that is going to make my knitting life so much easier. I don't know when it came out but I just discovered it.

Oh my goodness whoever came up with this is a genius. It actually has the stitches printed on the see through ruler so you can get your gauge without having to count stitches or rows. You just match your fabric to the stitches on the ruler and see what your gauge is. Cool-a-licious.

I lucked out with the Patternworks clearance sale. There is no way to know what sizes the pattern run in, so it is often hit and miss. The Sideways Rainbow jacket is a good basic jacket pattern and can be knit in a solid which makes it really nice for work.

The Bom Ull is a very basic v neck pullover, what I like about this one is the way the sleeves are set into the shoulders and the v-neck has the perfect plunge to it. I will probably change the lace pattern on the cuffs and hem though.

My best buy was the Adrienne Vittadini Yarns pattern book. Lets face it, most Italian women are ample and fluffy, so the Italian designers size their patterns in realistic measurements. I won't have to resize any of the patterns I have chosen. Out of 18 patterns in the booklet I loved 6. I need more knitting time!!!

I got the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, but I don't know how much I will get out of it. The book is mostly about spinning and dying yarns. I still have those white Winter Socks in my queue too. I have found so many patterns to knit that my queue is getting lopsided. I came across this sock pattern while looking for something else. The sad thing is that I have cast this sock on and done the cuff. I don't know where I put it though :{ I will have to start over whenever I get back to them. I have two more KAL/Swap socks to finish then I will be free to knit without deadlines. I am obsessed with that Bayerische sock, and I will not rest until I make them. I also plan on knitting up all of the STR in the picture above and two more pairs of Hill Country Yarns Christmas socks, all in plain stockinette.