It has been since I last bought yarn!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wicked January!

I'm just going to say it... I can't believe it's already the end of January! GOOD LORD- how did it go by so quickly? Since January is always an awesome month for me, (hello!? My BIRTH month!), I managed to do some awesome knitting this month- check it out!

I give you Wicked....

Pattern: Wicked from Zephyr Style (Crap- check out 28thirty from the same designers- how badly do I want to make THAT now!?)

Needle Size: US size 7

Yarn: Mirasol Hacho - 100% hand dyed (*slobber) Merino Wool

Notes: This is my first top down sweater I've ever made and I love the construction. Bonus #1- no seams to seam up at the end (insert angel Hallelujah chourus here) and Bonus #2- you can try it on as you go. I loved the ability to try on the project- allowing me to decide where the decreases should go, how far down I should be etc. Having the ability to alter the pattern to my body shape exactly was so awesome... LOVED the pattern! Also? The yarn was pretty great too, although I didn't get the gauge for the pattern and had to do a couple of calculations to accomodate.

Here's a close up pic of the details on the sweater:

The varigation of the yarn kind of covers up the faux cable pattern that makes up the collar, the wasit and the sleeves. I'm planning to wear this to work on Friday-- I love that I can knit things that I actually want to wear in public now. (You know you're half decent at the craft when you actually want to show off what you made!!)

(Special thanks to my office mate Karina who took these pictures for me- I'm sure she thought that this whole thing was very bizarre and weird that I wanted her to snap shots of my wearing the sweater at work. (There is a meathod to my madness, daytime lighting is better- my condo has none by the time I get home) Thanks for humoring the mentally unstable Karina! {happy birthday!})

Of course with the completion of the sweater I desperately want to jump in head first on my next planned sweater project... except for one huge snag. I have to knit a blanket. (*sigh) It seems like whenever I'm really excited about moving on to any kind of project there's always a blanket in the way holding me up. (Sorry Chan, babies belong to OTHER people- not me.) It also doesn't help that I've got major troubles already with the newest blanket on the needle- I'm hoping once I get past the snag that it will knit up quickly. The "two before the end of March" deadline is freaking me out!!!!!

Not helping the situation on the Downer blanket- (which I'm so going to call it from now on!), Interweave released it's spring pattern preview. This in particular...

has me distracted! The pattern is called "Holly", which I'm pretty sure is a nod to Audrey Hepburn's "Holly Golilightly" in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", which just also happens to be one of my most favorite movies ever. I WANT TO MAKE THIS SO BAD!

Stopping me from running out and buying the yarn so that I can cast it on immediately upon receiving my magazine subscription is the spring sweater I had scheduled and already bought yarn for:

Yes... it is cute. BUT I WANT HOLLY TOO!!!!!!! *sigh* I seriously need to quit my job, it's REALLY interfering with my knitting time! Nevertheless, expect a lot of "Holly" obsessing over the next few blog posts. I'm going to try, REALLY, REEEEEEEALLLY hard not to buy yarn for "Holly", especially since I'm not supposed to buy yarn until September, (PEOPLE- TALK ME OUT OF THESE RASH DECISONS NEXT TIME WON'T YOU!?), but man, that little jacket is calling to me, begging me to knit it up!

Lastly, and I didn't forget, this last weekend I knit two baby hats for project "stash bust"- as part of the ongoing donations the MiL and I make to Rockyview hospital.

I'm on track for knitting at least one for every week in the year so far. I figure by the end of the year it should help my early-knitting acquired acrylic stash go away to nothing. (Before you lecture me on the goodness of wool- I'll note that the hospital specifically requests that hats be made in acrylic only.)

Alrighty- that's long enough! Can't wait for "Knit Wits" on Monday, MiL got my birthday gift in the mail and I'm going to be the proud new owner of some cool stitch markers and sock blockers. (The mind boggles with excitement at the idea of sock blockers!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Progress and Podcasts

***UGH I cannot seem to format this correctly- I apologize for my lack of HTML skills***

January's been a great month for progress so far... just this last weekend I devoted the entire time to knitting and not only did if feel FANTASTIC- but I really made progress.

Exhibit 1) Baby Hat #2 (You must pardon the fuzzy/crappy pictures, light in my condo is not exactly "ideal".)

Exhibit 2) Wicked- which is ALMOST. DONE. (And whew, I have enough yarn... so worried that I wasn't going to, but am relaxing a fair bit now that I know what's left.) I'm hoping to finish it before the weekend, but we'll have to see what kind of progress is actually made.
Exhibit 3) Baby Blanket- which I started! (With ACTUAL STASH YARN-- bonus!) I have two babies due in March, so hopefully this one will speed along quite quickly!
I managed to plug along so well thanks to my new found interests... podcasts. My parents gave me an Ipod Nano for Christmas, (did NOT see that coming... but love it!) and I decided that I could finally foray into the podcast world. After trying a few out I've found that there are three specifically I'm really enjoying. Knit bloggers are all going "this is sooooooo old news"- sorry guys I'm a little late to the game, but I'm trying to catch up.
1) Lime N Violet. I'm kind of in love with this podcast. It's a bit racy in places, (knitters are every bit as raunchy as non-knitters) but it cracks me up- and listening to them talk, my fellow yarn obsessed, it feels like hanging out with a bunch of good friends. I'm slowly downloading all of their episodes and catching up. I haven't even listened to their latest, only because I want to hear all the background stuff first. (I'm anal this way.) I spent almost my entire day Saturday listening to them and knitting! I didn't even turn on the TV, just episode after episode of LnV! These ladies talk about everything-- and a lot of the times veer off the topic of yarn- but they do crack me up a lot.
2) Stash and Burn. Stash and Burn, in my opinion is the exact opposite of LnV. Lime N Violet kind of jump around all over the place, without really sticking to the theme, (not hating ladies... LOVE YOU... love that you're different), but Stash and Burn sticks more to a weekly theme where they have a well planned discussion on a particular knitting topic. Nicole and Jenny are sweet and funny, but very PG, (LnV more PG-13) in style. Where Lime N Violet are fun to hang out with, Stash and Burn has a lot of great tips and probably more individuals I'd fit in with.
3) Craft. Rock. Love with Vickie Howell. I miss Knitty Gritty, I used to watch it alot in my US days. Vickie's is a more structured show, but seems to focus on the grand scheme of knitting as a craft and less on specific topics like techniques, projects and yarns. Her podcast is interesting because it kind of fills the "Knitty Gritty" void- although, to be honest, I'm not as attached just yet.
I've heard other knitters talk about "Cast On" and "It's A Purl Man"- which I'm curious to try out too. (Although right now, want to catch up on LnV and SaB before hooking up with anyone else.) But just having this whole new world in knitting open up to me has been interesting- and it's so nice to sit and listen to individuals who feel as passionate about knitting as I do. (Plus it seems to make me knit faster!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hat Sunday Returns!

Well, well, well.... look what's back!?? Hat Sunday... actually KNIT on a SUNDAY! That's pretty mind blowing in itself, I know, but I thought it was time to catch you all up on what's on the needles these days. But first a note on hat Sunday, I'd really like to get back into the habit of doing weekly hats for charity again. (You'll note the positive step I took in casting on hat #2 immediately after hat #1.) So, look for more hats-- and if not, comment and ask me where the heck the hats are... that oughta guilt me enough to get back at it!

On the Needles #1: Wicked

Yes, she is coming along swimmingly, isn't she? It also doesn't help that this is all that I want to knit right now- I've even had the legendary knitting nightmares about stitches falling off, which means I'm really into this project! This is the first top down sweater I've ever made, and I'm loving the lack of seams and the fact that I can try this on as I go. If you haven't yet knit a top-down, I'd highly recommend foraying into the world on this technique. I'm hoping to finish this baby before the weekend of my company ski trip, which inconviently is in two weeks. Sadly I cannot devote entire weekends to knitting it, given that I've been trying to spend at least one of those days on the weekend on the ski hill, trying to make myself look like less of an ass on the ski trip. (My ski skills leave much to be desired.)

Project #2 - Anna's Socks

Give me credit here- this is vast progress than where I was before. I've instituted lunchtime knitting at work, (which at first garnered stares and then slowly closeted knitters began coming out of the wood work), which is both helping me to not go and eat a zillion calories at lunch AND get some projects that have been on the needles too long. I'd like to devote 6 or 7 hours to this puppy, as I'm pretty convinced I could get it cast off. I'd like to give grandma her socks BEFORE Christmas 2008.

Project #3 - Whisper Lace Socks

Nope, didn't forget about these either- they've just been back burnered due to other pressing projects and Christmas knitting. I feel terribly guilty that it's taking me this long to just "get on with it" already- but my won't they be cute when they ARE done?

I'd really just love to sit down and commit to these projects, because I feel like I could quickly pull them off the needles if I just had time- but I don't, because there are TWO baby blankets that need to be made, (none of which are started!), for MARCH. Yes! You get to look forward to excessiving whining about having to knit baby blankets! Aren't you excited!?!? I'm actually just a "wee" bit excited about one of the projects as I'm planning to use the new fancy knitting software to design the pattern. If all goes according to plan, I could actually post my first free pattern. (The husband is hoping that I will excel at this pattern design enough that I will start selling my patterns... while I am flattered by the husband's faith in my ability, I hope he's not too disappointed when his MOM is the only one who offers to buy it. {Phyllis... there's a tremendous "thanks for letting me live at your house, sleep in your bed, eat your food, mess up your bathrooms" discount})

So there you go... a little update on what's going on these days. At some point I'd also like to discuss my recent obsession- "podcasts"- and how totally addicted I am.... but there is little room today. (And as you can see, the knitting agenda is getting quite packed!)

Cross your fingers for some FO's soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Ringing In the New Year Right

It seems like a little Christmas vacation was all I needed to finally get my butt in gear and finish up Jodi's Baby Blanket.

Behold- the Blanket of Boredom!

Pattern: This is a pattern passed on to me from the MiL- and there's no particular link for it. I can tell you that she and I have made this one A LOT.
Needle Size: US 8
Yarn: Bernat Satin (acrylic... please forgive me yarn snobs) in "Banana" and "Lagoon"
Thoughts: While the feel of this blanket is very pleasing and soft, I will admit the yarn is about heavy and you can feel it pulling the project. I did enjoy the bigger needle size and yarn overs, both which I'm sure contributed to my quicker finish on this project. The pattern itself knits up quick, (blame the yarn overs), and so is great if you have a little time. This is the second time I've knit this pattern though- and I'm really ready to challenge myself with something new... and hopefully ENGAGING.

Behold! Close up of the stitches! (For all you "let me see if up close" folks out there...)

As if finishing this blanket didn't give me enough joy, I finished it in time to work on Wicked on New Year's Eve and Day. (That's what I call ringing the New Year in fresh.... fresh new yarn, fresh new pattern!) Using the newly procured Hacho yarn (#302) from Pudding's sale. This is the first top down sweater I've ever knitted and so far it's kind of fun. (Although what they say about knitting the yoke of the thing and being tedious is not far from the truth!)

Viola! New! Exciting! Project!

And.... as promised- a shot of the Christmas haul this year:

Husband got me a great needle case, (his first knitting related gift to me- I'm so proud!!), for Christmas, which is great and snazzy to hold the needles in. I got the much wanted "Book of Yarn"- that is a wealth of incredible fiber information, from my parents. And from the in-laws, a fantastic knitting program- "Knit Visualizer", as discussed on the Yarn Harlot. I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and sink my teeth into it yet, (I'm very distracted by "Wicked", all I want to do is knit that puppy), but I think it's going to be awesome. It allows one to design their own patterns, using graphs, and then WRITES. OUT. the pattern for you. It does all the thinking. I'm hoping that this is going to open some new designing doors for me, as I'd really like to start exploring that aspect a little more. But that's a bunch of stuff for another entry.

Happy New (Knitting) Year.... wishing you a year full of FO's and lots of S.E.X*.

*Mom: FO = Finished Object and S.E.X = Stash Enhancement Expedition - so no, I'm not a perv!