It has been since I last bought yarn!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snowbird Finale

It seems only fitting to end this year on a very positive note- and so I give you, by far, the nicest (and most complex) thing I've ever knit to date.

I'm so proud of myself for knitting these I just keep picking them up and gazing at them- like I'm sure some new parents would do with a newborn.

Pattern: #06 Snowbird Mittens (Vogue Knitting Fall 08) by Elli Stubenrauch

Yarn: Koigu KPM in coloray 232950 (blue) and Regia Silk 4 Ply in 002 (white)

Needle Size: US 2

Notes: I was knitting these so tight that I had to go up a needle size to compensate- but I tend to knit very tightly on things I have never tried before. (hmmm stress much?) These aren't perfect- I still need to master the art of stranding the yarn on the inside, but I must say I'm proud of the valiant effort I put forth.

I should also note that knitting these has not placated my odd obsession to knit mittens. So much so that I'm already eyeballing other color strand projects. And followers of my Ravlery favorites page will note I've been going to town favoriting as many faire isle mitts as I can. I'm even considering purchasing Folk Knitting in Estonia (book by Nancy Bush) to get her sweet, sweet patterns. Geez. Obsess much?

As if these mittens weren't triumph enough- I also knit up the final number of hats- bringing the grand total to 52.

I won't lie. There were plenty of times when I asked myself, "why am I knitting so many of these?" this year but ultimately I know why. This is the ultimate stash buster project. I chewed through a lot of my acrylic stash that I had purchased and promptly stop using when I became a yarn snob. There are still in roads to make in the stash- which is why I'll be doing the "52 hat challenge" again. Anyone out there with me? (MiL I'm looking at you....)

Lastly but not least- even the purse project has seen some movement. I'm knitting the jaywalker pattern and decided to make the leg a little longer, given that I usually have so much of this style of yarn left over.

Progress continues at a slow pace... but it continues and I look forward to modeling these in the new year.

Looking ahead, I'm hoping to finish up the design on a blanket I have to have knit by the end of January- and of course with the latest stash enhancement, I can practically feel the yarn calling me to knit it. Next year you're probably going to see more of the same items-- sweaters, socks, and mittens- but you never know what will catch my eye.

I'm planning to spend the New Year cozied up to the husband, and knitting- which is just about the most perfect New Years I could plan. Have a happy one- and see you again in 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Yarn Saling We Will Go...

In what has accidently become the BEST. TRADITION. EVER. the Mother in Law and I set out on Boxing day (26) and the day after to do our annual yarn saling. As a child I lived for Christmas morning, but as I got older- I found the anticipation waning. I feel like a kid again as I count down to the yarnie deals on the 26th.

First we headed over to Make 1 Yarn Studio- for it's annual Boxing day blowout. We waited in line in the cold, along with fellow obsessed knitters with a couple familiar faces. (Hi Viv! Hi Mary!) This year we were to the back of the line and didn't get a chance to pummel the yarn grab bags. MIL walked away with some lovely Art Yarns Sock yarn- yet I was surprisingly restrained and purchased nothing. (I'm kicking myself for not bringing the camera to capture her purchases - just check out her Ravelry page in the next few days... she's "felicity".)

I suppose I should stop here and say quite frankly- I knew what I wanted to buy this year. I did my research and stored the info on my iphone. I also went in with a few rules. No sock yarn. NO exceptions. This was a sweater quantities only spree. I also had three sweaters on the list and I hoped to fill them- I was a lot more discerning customer than I've been in the past.

So with empty hands, we decided to check out Knit One, Chat Too's sale over on 17th. I was fully prepared to skip this one this year as last year's sale left me rather under-whelmed. However, with empty hands, and a relatively clear conscience, I felt we should head on over. AND THANK GOD WE DID. I found my first sweater's yarn- which I had decided I wanted to knit in the yarn that was recommended. Say hello to my new Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo!!

I'm going to attempt to knit Pam Allen's Cotton Bam Boo Smock Top (Rav Link) in this lovely shade this spring/summer. The pattern sizing called for 8 balls, but being ever the pessimist I bought a "safety skein" just in case I need more. Besides at 30% off the regular price it was a good deal. MIL also scored some baby yarn in the sale bins for all the baby things she's planning to make this year.

I could have probably happily stopped here- given that I was really excited about finding the exact yarn, for a great sale in a color I really liked. I was on a yarn high! But the promise of more yarn deals and the fact that I had a remaining $90 credit on my Pudding gift card couldn't keep me away.

Day two the MIL and my mother (a non knitter interested in yarn sale madness), schlepped over to Pudding to be the first in the store. We were the first in- but that little store filled up fast. MIL again, found some excellent finds in the sale bins, where I hmmmed and haaaaed- and was heavily tempted by Koigu. Ultimately I decided that I needed more information. So, after waiting for poor MIL in line for 30 minutes (not because it was busy but because the staff is woefully unfamiliar with the till), I left empty handed and we drove over to Gina Brown's.

Gina Brown's has been off both the MIL and my radar now. We went a long time ago and were rather disappointed by the selection. This time around we were awed- both by the line that stretched all the way around the store, but also by the selection she had. Gina's is BACK ON the radar! Ultimately we were scared away by the line- but we did wonder around, checking out the selection and mentally noting what was there. There were a couple of interesting things, including some baby bamboo that would have been a great substitution for the Classic Elite- so I guess if I decide to make two tops- I know where to go.

Deciding that I did want to buy at Pudding- we schlepped back there, where the store was a little less swamped. I grabbed some Noro Silk Garden- for the "everyone is doing it so I shall jump off the bridge with them" self striping scarf. (Rav Link)

I know, I know.... it's not a sweater.... but I've been wanting to make this for some time- so really, there's no guilt. So don't even try! Plus- 20% is hard to argue with!!

I also decided to step outside my little knitter box and knit with a tweed yarn for one of my sweater projects. And so- justified the purchase of the Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed- perfect for my intended 28 Thirty.

The pattern calls for 600 yards- but I bought 700, again, just to be secure in the knowledge that I'm not going to have a catastrophic heart attack when I run out with 2 inches left to go on the sleeve. I don't know if I could recover from something like that! (yay 20% off!)

And that is what I bought. 2 days, 4 yarn shops and around $200 dollars later- I bought what will probably be my sweater stash for the year. I'm also patiently waiting for the Loopy Ewe to get their next batch of Malibrigo in, for one last sweater purchase. I'm hoping someone will shower me with Loopy gift certificates for my birthday this year, so that I can have a little falling down over there too! (I'm shameless- I know.)

Stay tuned to the blog for the year end round up and final 7 hats (Hopefully!!) as well as shots of the completed Snowbird mittens (Hopefully!), coming up in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fighting with Faire Isle

So... I was into the mitts.

Really into the mitts. Like only knitting the mitts... staying up late past my bed time because I just wanted to get one more row done. And yes I made progress- but that little voice in the back of my head kept saying "just try it on". I hate that voice.

Houston- we have some gauge issues. It turns out I must be stressed, because these are knit at a gauge so tight they practically cut my circulation off to my wrists! And so- because I want to actually wear these without causing damage to my circulatory system, I did the only thing I could do. (Sensitive knitters look away...)

I ripped them out. Every last, pretty little stitch. Right back down to the beginning.

And then I just felt a little disheartened. I stepped away from the mitts. I stepped away from the needles. (I may have stepped towards the wine to console myself.)

I knit hats instead.

Hats don't fail me. Ever. I can just knit hats and let my brain wonder and the hats will always look right. Yay for hats!

But then... something wonderful happened... (Wollmeise sock club members look away if you don't want spoilers)

I got my half of the wollmeise sock yarn. It is gorgeous. GOR-GE-OUS. I keep fondling it and daydreaming about all the pretty differnt socks I can make with it. The color is regal. I need a regal pattern. Got any suggestions?

So- with the yarn in hand, and inspiration swirling around in little clouds of knitterly joy- I did the only thing I could do...

I picked up the Snowbird mitts and decided to try it again. I can do this. (Just on bigger needles...) Cross your fingers that I'll have some success this time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Woman Obsessed

I should be really happy that I finally finished a pair of socks. (Especially since these have been on the needles since July 21st!!)

Pattern: Rise and Shine Socks by Mari Muinonen (Blog watchers will note I just knit her mitt pattern too. I must be Mari obsessed!)

Yarn: ShiBuiKnits Socks in 2955 (I really wish they'd name colorways instead of number them)Needle Size: US 1

Notes: Cute pattern- would really look great in any kind of sock yarn. I was disappointed with the way the yarn pooled. The yarn itself though, has a delightful sproinginess to it-- I'd knit with shiubui again if I could find a colorway that was more subtle in the way it colored.

I should be downright thrilled that these are off the needles... and that I immediately cast on a new travelling sock, in my guiltiest of all guilty pleasures, self striping yarn. (Pattern destined to be Sheri's Lace Socks.)

But I'm only feeling mildy interested. I should be even happier that I finally got around to eeking a few more hats....

But I don't care. Like, at all. Because I am wholly focused on one thing and one thing only. So focused that I went bought yarn with the gift certificate, (therby breaking my vow not to spend it until Christmas)

and came home, wound some stuff in the stash, and cast on right away. Folks I am obsessed with MITTENS. They are all I'm thinking about. All I want to knit and all I look at when I'm going through the pattern pages. More specifically- I am obsessed with knitting these. Nevermind that I have never been happy with anything I've ever faire isled, nor have I ever been drawn to those particular style of mitts. NONE of this matters. I. MUST. KNIT. MITTENS.

And so, not one to get in the way of true inspiration- I did as my desire told me- and cast on those mittens with this:

Oh yah, that's koigu, new yarn and addi's- all the things I love most in this world. So excuse me- the sheer act of writing this has me agitated, merely because I cannot imagine anything getting in the way of me and my mittens.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Will Work For Yarn

Look what's finally off the needles and on the hands of two girlies that really need 'em? (Look! Irony! This photo was taken indoors at work, because it was too damn cold to go outside and take pictures of knitting! We were actually wearing our scarves in the office because it was also too damn cold inside as well!)

Pattern: #02 Yellow Harvest Mittens by Mari Muinonen (Found in the Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008)
Yarn: Leftover Cascade Eco+
Needles: US size 8
Notes: PAY ATTENTION TO THE INSTRUCTIONS. In fact, that bears repeating... PAY ATTENTION TO THE INSTRUCTIONS. The charts while simple to execute, are confusing to read, only because the very subtle nuances that tell you to do an opposite cable means you can really screw up. I made two pairs of mitts because I realized after mitt 1 I had cabled wrong. However since they weren't enirely hideous- I did a second wrong one and gave the pair to my sister.

I've been pretty focused on small, stash busting projects as of late and it felt really good to use up some of the yarn and get something quickly finished. There are STILL leftovers-- and if I feel so inspired, I might make another pair of these someday- but for now, it just feels good to have moved on.

Speaking about feeling good- I had something great happen to me at work today. There has recently been some turnover in our office and a lot of the extra work ended up falling to me. I've been working my butt off, (and yet oddly have never been more satisfied at my job- I think it's because I'm busy), especially for the HR department. Today my efforts were rewarded in a very thoughtful gift certificate to Pudding Yarns! It's the little details like that really inspire and motivate me to do better. I don't expect this often- nor do I expect it all... but it was just nice to be surprised. I'll definately work for yarn!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Time... At Knitting Camp... Part 3 - PROGRESS

So- with a weekend soley focused on knitting with friends- a recap of the weekend would hardly be complete without mentioning the kind of knit progress I made!

First up, the long suffering Zig Zag Socks--- that finally saw the completion of a heel on sock #2. I feel like I've essentially been knitting these forever. (maybe I have....????) Because these tend to only be the travelling socks- they see the slowest progression. But- I suppose a heel is a heck of a lot closer to the finish than knitting the leg.

Even more thrilling was finally finishing the "correct set" of the Vogue red mittens. I still don't count this project as completely finished because I intend to knit a "wrong" mitten to match the other wrong mitten... but getting close to the finish line was very thrilling. Viola, I give you three red mitties... (Wrong mitten pictured in the middle- let's see if you can spot "what's wrong".)

The completion of this project was also convieniently timed, as at the PJ party I met Shelley, who was looking for someone to walk her through the first chart on the same mittens. Shelley, (who said incredibly kind things about me on her blog- thank you), was the picture of patience as I tried to help her best I could converting my DPN version of the pattern to her knitting on two circs. I'm not sure how helpful I was to her- but I hope it at least got her on her way. These mitts look AWESOME all knit up- and I'm looking forward to her posting some pics of them finished some day.

New on the needles is a simple Lace Scarf, using some leftover Debbie Bliss Pure Silk yarn I had leftover from my Mother's Day project.

This was the right kind of project to have with me- "fun yarn" to touch for my fellow yarnies, and a mindless and easy enough project that I didn't have to concentrate too hard on. I cast this on Thursday night, and proceeded to pick it up all over the retreat. I made enough project on this that I'd say I'm almost a third of the way finished! Go me!

Both the Mitties and the Lace scarf are knit with yarn I had leftover in my stash. For so long know I've just wanted to do a few simple projects to use that yarn up. I had enough of the yarn to not even think about throwing it out, yet not enough to commit to another bigger project. It feels so good to do some stash busting and help bring the stash down. Stash Busting = less guilty conscience when I "fall off the wagon" again. OR....

... go to another retreat and end up coming home with the retreat special dyed yarn. This is Lorna's Laces in "Autumn Wine" - the lastest sock (Shepherd) yarn to be added to the stash. I had pre-ordered this and counted this in my purchase count down a long time ago-- so I get to flash this yarn and feel not too guilty about adding to the stash!

Lastly I leave you with this pic of me and my roomie-- if you get a magnifying glass perhaps you'll see us! (Mental note- next time you ask a stranger to snap a pic of you and a friend, show them how to use the zoom.) I made so many friends and met so many new people this weekend- (and my Ravelry friend list has been growing since!), I feel so lucky to be apart of such a special group of people. Ever since I joined the knitting community I've bee so overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of knitters- and this weekend, "communing with my people", was just a reminder of how lucky I am to be part of such a unique, diverse and talented group.

All that remains in this rather lengthy recap of my "REALLY REALLY AWESOME WEEKEND", is to say this: Where do we sign up for next year? I am SO in!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Video & Quotes

Check out the video from the retreat that Amy posted to You-tube!

(I'm Jennifer J in the quotes)

One Time... At Knitting Camp... Part 2

If it's possible- Day 2 at knitting camp was even better than Day 1... although that could have something to do with the fact that my Cold FX finally kicked in and I felt a little more myself. It also may have something to do with the fact that I wore my Tilted Duster and my fellow knitters were very kind to compliment me repeatedly on it. It's kind of fun to see a pattern that you've seen in a magazine in the "wild" and walk up to someone and say, "is that the ___(insert trendy pattern name here)___".

Day 2 I switched gears and went from socks to sweater classes- both with the beyond awesome and fashionable Stefanie Japel. Yes. THAT Stefanie Japel. She makes such awesome patterns. (You also have not seen cute until you've seen her baby... OMG cute.) Stefanie was so nice, it felt more like I was learning something from a friend than a "teacher" and I learned a lot, both about sizing my knits and working a pattern from straight to the round.

After the fun at sweater class- I had to go back to my room for a nap. Folks-- I was T.I.R.E.D. by the end of day 2 and if I was going to make through the evening- I HAD to get a couple of minutes of shut eye. Besides- I needed to get my sleep so I could have fun at the PAJAMA party in the evening!

What's more fun that hanging around and knitting with a bunch of people who love knitting as much as you do? Hanging around and knitting with a bunch of people who love knitting and are ALSO wearing pajamas. It's like the presence of flannel just steps up the party to a whole new fun level. And oh yes-- there was flannel!

This is me (on the far right) modeling my adorable sheep jammies with my jammy twins. (I found these PJ's at the Bay and could.not.leave. the store without them. Aboslutely impossible to let them sit on the shelf.)

Sandra and Amy, the delightful and organized (!!!) and highly awesome owners of Make 1 got the party started early by giving away a couple of door prizes and showing us a great presentation of pics from the weekend, combining it with some of the quotes we'd sent in earlier. I couldn't believe how quickly they were to get that all together!

After they got us all excited and giggly- they let us just sit and knit with our new retreat buddies-- and I got to float around and mix with the "kniter-ati!"

This is Nancy Bush.

(I'll give any knitter reading that a moment to clutch their heart and gasp with awe at such a knitting presence.) Nancy can do things with yarn and knitting needles that I can't even fathom. She's brilliant and everyone who had the pleasure to take her class couldn't stop raving about how awesome she and her class was. (Mental note- learn lace for next year.) She's also the designer of the "New England Socks" that I knit earlier this year. When I showed her my version of her knitted pattern she complimented me and told me what a good job I did. I'm sure she says this to everyone because she's just so nice, but honestly, I walked around with a big fat smile on my face and wanted to shout it from the conviently close mountain-tops, "NANCY TOLD ME I DID A GOOD JOB!"

OH- and you know who else was there? AMY SINGER.

The editor and chief of Knitty magazine. She who is basically responsible for my quick step into total knitting obsession. (I lived on the Knitty boards in the early days.) I didn't get a chance to chat with her, but again- complete and total rave reviews from anyone in her classes. Hmm... perhaps this look on her face means she's trying to send Stef Japel (photographer) "call security and get this hopeless fan girl off me!" (I'm sure she was just being goofy.)

Amy Singer, Stefanie Japel, Nancy Bush, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Cookie A- all at one table. It was the table of greatness. It's like the Knitters of the Round Table. We were lucky to be among giants this weekend.

And now that I've done more than my fair share of name dropping- I'll show you this:

This is a wedding shawl from 1886 (or something in the 1880's - the room was loud with knitters laughing as hard as they can)- it's knit double stranded in the finest of gauges. The amount of labour in this project is mind numbing- it is beautiful and gave everyone pause to just stop and stare at it's complete awesome-ness.

BUT- we didn't stare for too long- too much knitting to be done. I leave you with my last pic of today' post- the final knitting photo.... our little pajama clad group, who laughed, drank, knit and laughed some more. The pajama party was so much fun that it will be a fond memory of mine for some time.

****stay tuned tomorrow for the last installation of "One Time.... At Knitting Camp..." where I finally get around to showing you WHAT I knit there!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Time... At Knitting Camp... Part 1

I just got back from a SUPER. AWESOME. TOTALLY WICKED. weekend at the Make 1 Knitting retreat. But first things first....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHYLLIS! (MIL) Someone else wanted to say Happy Birthday too!

Yup- that's the Yarn Harlot spreading some birthday cheer! (She was a great sport to help pass along the greetings.)

Alrighty... I'm going to split these posts up only because this would be the longest blog post ever if I didn't... Day 1 at the Make 1 Knitting Retreat was pretty freakin' awesome.

92 knitters attended this year. 92 people who spoke the language of knitting. 92 people who cared about things like DPN's, row counters, gauge swatches and yarn, yarn, yarn. 92 people who would randomly pet one another because the sweater they were wearing was made out of yarn that needed to be touched. 92 people could name a pattern on sight- instead of just complimenting the sweater. 92 people I had one thing in common with: an obsession with knitting.

I went to knitting camp alone this year- and I'll admit I was a little apprehensive about who I was going to meet and worried if I'd make friends. But lo and behold- friends were made before I even got there!

Meet Jane... San Francisco knitter who braved the cold in Kanaskis for the chance to hace a little knitting fun. Jane and I bonded on the bus ride on the way up-- and throughout the weekend we checked in on how much fun the other was having! Jane had the most beautiful Kid Silk Haze shawl I've ever seen. I've always feared the scratchy side of mohair, but Jane's shawl proved that mohair has a soft and gorgeous side too.

After we'd checked in- we hit the dining room to enjoy a yummy buffet and meet more knitters. I knew I was among my people when everyone was at the table knitting when they were eating. Dinner is so much better when accompanied by knitting! In fact all our meals were like this- sitting down, knitting, eating and followed up by more knitting. It's hard to argue with a meal plan like that!

When I finally dragged my exhausted butt back to my room- I finally met my roomate for the weekend - Alysa. Alysa had come up from Seattle and we quickly got to the "getting to know" you part of things as well as the "show and tell" portion, which comes up in any knitting related conversation. She's currently making a top down raglan, from her own design- I always marvel at how anyone can just make up a pattern on the spot like she was! Alysa was a great roomate- and I think we got along swimmingly!

Alysa is in the blue sweater on the right, sitting next to my sock class buddies, and mommies extrodinare Sandy (left) and Jen (middle). (These were taken at the PJ party on Sunday night- and not what people traditionally wore during the day!)

After an early lights out- I got up bright and early to get a good seat at Cookie A's sock design class. OH MY GAWD- Cookie is so smart it makes my head hurt just thinking about her smart-ness. We dug into the class right away, and a few Japanese stitch pattern books later, (WANT SO BAD!), she had helped us all set up and begin designing our socks. Cookie's book comes out in April- and I'm thinking about pre-ordering now, only because it sounds like it's going to be A-W-E-S-O-M-E! (WANT AGAIN!) Of course, I needed to be photographed with greatness...

(She's probably designing three incredibly complex patterns in her head right now, just as she snaps this photo with a hopeless fan girl!)

Also exciting was Cookie's sample table- she brought samples of many of her designs, and many of the projects were familiar friends as they're pictures are all featured along with their patterns. To behold the first Monkey sock knit is pretty thrilling. (Hmmm- can you tell I'm a Cookie fan?)

After a full day of listening to Cookie spout her genius to us-- my brain was getting a little tired. I had knit the cuff nearly to end, before we decided together that the sock I had designed was goingt to need more stitches. I frogged and started that damn sock 3 more times over the weekend-- and still haven't had much luck with it. Here's hoping we'll see some progress in the near future. I full intention to knit these socks- so let's hope I can get past the cuff to see some real progress!

After another tasty supper, and bonding with more knitters, and an impromptu book signing for the authors, (YAY for Harlot autographs!), we all made our way to the lobby and it's comfy couches and fire places.

I don't think the hotel staff or guests knew quite what to make of an overflowing lobby (pictured above is only one of TWO circles), full of people happily knitting. Everyone worked on their own projects and complimented the objects of those around them. It was a very "zen" moment in a way- being a part of a group of people all working together on something with their hands.

Day 1 of knitting camp was super awesome in ways I can't even begin to adequately express. Look for Day 2's recap coming tomorrow!

**I woke up Friday morning with a cold trying to win dominance over my body. I had a sore throat, painful sinuses and I did not want to knit. In fact, had I been at work, I would have called in sick. And yet- I powered through, (with the help of Cold FX) and that may possibly be why my brain was so crappy in Cookie's class. None the less- by the end of the day I felt better- and I had knit so much- that my hands were actually sore! (And I knit a LOT everyday.... so that says how much knitting we were doing!!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lessons in Mitten Patterns...

It seems the greatest sin you can commit is a knitter is getting cocky. The moment that your brain begins to think "hey I'm getting the hang of this knitting thing" and you start bragging to anyone who'll listen about what an awesome knitter you are- knitting will bite you so hard you have to take a moment, admit your weaknesses and shut up.
Knitting bit me hard last night.

I'm making a lovely pair of chunky mitts from the fall issue of Vogue knitting. I've completed 2 mitts, yet sadly I still have another hand to knit. Can you spot the error?

No? What if I showed the finished mitten next to the picture of what it's supposed to look like finished?

The cables are supposed to criss cross-- they're not doing it the finished mitten. You'll note that someone (I won't name names to protect the foolish) didn't pay close enough to the chart pattern. Someone ignored their gut instinct to highlight the different cables in different colors to prevent confusion. Someone knit to the very end of the pattern, wove the ends in, took it to work and bragged to everyone she knew about how the awesome the knit was without realizing that what she was showing them was WRONG. Someone was very sad to realize she had to knit a third mitten so that she could actually knit the mittens right.

I appreciate that the wrong mitten actually looks pretty good- and not to worry, my plan is with the left over yarn to knit another wrong patterned mitten to match for the next hand, there is enough yarn. This is just another lesson I learn, (and sadly this is not the first time that I've had to learn this particular lesson... you'd think being idiot would sink in the first time!) on my path as a knitter. Sometimes I just wish that I could knit things without having to learn lessons... you know?

In more upbeat news- I finished Dexter's Doggy sweater!

Pattern: Darling Darby Sweater by Jean Clement
Yarn: Bernat Satin - 2 skeins in Bordeaux
Needles: US size 8
Notes: BEST. DOG. PATTERN. EVER. Working on the measurements the pattern suggests you take, and doing a little math (EEK!) this sweater fit it's intended recipient like a glove. It's great to know that it's going to help keep little Dexter warm on his airplane ride. I'd highly recommend knitting this again- and I just may myself. It's highly adaptable, and the instructions are easy to work with.

In other exciting news- this coming weekend I'm off to the Make 1 Fall Retreat! I'm going to be taking a sock design class with Cookie A!! I'm going to learn from the MASTER sock designer... I can't WAIT. I think it's going to be loads and loads and LOADS of fun- hanging out with knitters and the knitterati! This retreat is basically a "who's who" in the knitting world-- and I'm so excited to be rubbing elbows with the likes of; Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (AKA Yarn Harlot), Amy Singer (Editor of Knitty magazine), Amy Swenson (Indigirl), Stephanie Japel (of Glampyre fame), Cookie A (Goddess of amazing sock designs [see Olympic socks she designed]) and Nancy Bush ([the famous New England Sock designer] Estonian knitter and sock designer. I expect to take a million pictures and report back with many happy stories.

So- in the mean time I need to get back to these mitts so I have something to warm my hands up in Kananaskis when I'm hanging with my "knitting peeps".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pink Powder Perfection

I never thought I'd say this...


So often I think knitters hit a point in their project where they'd rather poke their needles in their eyes than face knitting another stitch on a project that feels like it won't end. But, all those feelings quickly disappear when you weave in the very last stitch and all you have is one beautiful finished object that you can't help but be incredibly proud of.

Pattern: (Rav link) 20 Powder Jacket from Rebecca Magazine #31

Yarn: Berrocco Cotton Twist in Pink

Needles: US size 8

Notes: The yarn was splitty and I cursed and cursed it, but I will give it this, it has a gorgeous sheen and it blocked out like an angel. The crochet portion of the pattern is vague-- but with enough determination and enough sleuthing, I managed to pull it off!

Just look at that crochet!! I'm so happy with it! How did I conquer the crochet devil? A very kind crochet-er on Ravelry (madonnaearth) took pity on me and posted very detailed instructions for me on her blog. Without her quick and kind help I would have still been scratching my head and wondering how I was going to finish this project! This year the kindness of the "fiber community" has never been more evident to me and I'm so proud to be apart of a group of people who want to help each other and see each other succeed. THANK YOU madonnaearth... without you this would not have been possible!

I can practically hear my mother squealing from Regina... so mom, without further ado- here are the photos of me wearing it!!

My only small complaint (and someday I might just suck it up and fix it, but for now I just want to revel in the project being complete), is that the picot trim on the sides doesn't want to lie flat, it wants to turn in... but with the rest of the result being so awesome I don't let this bother me right now!

It feels so, so, SOOO good to have this project off the needles and out of the que... but what's next on the horizon? A short little project. A friend of mine at work is moving to L.A. (*insert comment about extreme jealousy here*) She is flying out there at the end of the month with her doggies- one who's just a wee little thing. She's afraid he's going to freeze on the airplane. It's a good think she's friends with a knitter!

Say hello to the beginnings of Dexter's doggy sweater.

This is the neck portion just finished up last night. Dexter will be nice and warm his new turtleneck-- and hopefully we can convince my office buddy to snap some shots when he's all suited up. This is going to look SO cute-- can't wait to see it off the needles!

Off to revel in the joy of the finished sweater! Aren't you glad you never have to hear about my knitting this again!?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Crochet is the Devil and Other Heartwarming Stories

With my humble apologies to crochet-ers everywhere, I am floundering. I am a knitter. I knit. Apparently when you put a hook in my hand my ability to be crafty compeltely flies out the window in protest.

The pink sweater is almost done. I am so close I can literally envision myself wearing the garmet along the beach while I'm in Cuba next week. (It's a cotton sweater to wear over my bathing suit, before you decide to send me letters about my idiocy in thinking I'll need a sweater in the tropics.)

Except I could have modeled a finished project 2 days ago, if it wasn't for the crochet edge on the neckline and sleeves.

GAH! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING! (Behold the start of a crochet edge that is most likely wrong!)

I managed to find a lovely tutorial online to do the picot stitch and I picot'd the bottom of the sweater in one evening. Is it perfect? No. But it's good enough that only a seasoned crochet-er is going to look at it and go "you did it wrong". However the pattern gets a little vague with the crochet border and I'm left going HUH? I've even involved the incredibly friendly and helpful crocheters on Ravelry in the hopes that they can help me. There seems to be some advice this evening that might be able to propel me forward in my endevour. I am so close to finishing this sweater I can taste it!! I am SO. READY to be on to bigger and better things! Do you realize that I've been talking about knitting this sweater for almost a year!? YEESH. I'm sure we're all ready to just move on already!

So- in the interest of keeping you somewhat awake there has also been slow progress on other slogs....

The Zig Zag Sock... half done, now it just needs a twin!

The hat progress... continues at snail pace, but at least it continues!

Also on the blog today? A little heart warming story about knitters...

Those of you who have read the blog for awhile will recall that a very nice woman back around Mother's day sent me some much needed yarn (as I ran out and couldn't finish a project) for free. It wasn't cheap yarn, and she didn't have to be so nice about it- but she was and her kindness and generosity stayed with me. Just this last week I was given the unique opportunity to pass her kindness on.

Eerily similar, a knitter on Ravelry emailed me this week- needing a yarn I had in my stash to finish a project. She asked me what I'd like for my left over Misti Cotton. (OH the joys of over-ordering for yarn.) Realizing it was my turn to pay the favor forward I sent her the hanks of yarn for free and just asked that she do the same should she find herself in the same situation. It's heartwarming for my "3-sizes-too-small" cold heart to know that an informal chain of giving and sharing has started from one person's kindness. It's, well.... nice. (Oh the descriptive words!)

And now... back to screaming out in agony as I continue to try and fail miserably at crochet!