It has been since I last bought yarn!

Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm Still Knitting Stuff

So now that we've talked about Vogue Knitting and stash, it's time I caught you up to what I've actually been working on these past 3 weeks.

Firstly, there were 2 more hats, one I completed before Seattle and one I completed when I got home.


Hats were about all I could digest because the Stampede project was just draining me on creativity.  I know I wanted to get the design finalized before the end of the month but I'm not there yet.  I'm close.  I'm hoping by the end of this week I'll get there, but I'm not there yet.  There has been so much work, and so many pages of graph paper it's staggering.  I really didn't think it was going to take this much effort and time, but it has.  On the upside I'm feeling really good about what I've done and I'm glad I didn't rush.  On the downside all of this work and I can't show you any of it.  At least not now.  I promise an ENORMOUS post of pictures when I can reveal to you what I've been working on.  (And a few sneaky peeks once the actual cast on and knitting part starts.)  I'm hoping to cast this on mid to late April, I want this design to marinate for just a little bit longer to ensure I've 100% happy.

I did, to take the edge off, also cast on a little project that is just TOO TOO cute.  My little Easter surprise isn't so much a surprise anymore.


I'm not sure why, because there is really very little left on this project other than the shorts and a cute little cotton tail, but I can't seem to get myself over the finish line to finish this.  It would probably take me a day (naptime/post bedtime) of knitting to get there, but I can't seem to commit to finishing.  

Part of this lack of commitment is because I started something else and I'm really into it right now.  

Untitled Untitled

This is my first Circular blanket I've ever knit- and it's going to be so pretty.  I used my Pudding gift cards to get a really fantastic, squishy yarn to knit with and this little blanket has been just flying off my needles.


Once I got past the cast on on this blanket, I've been really engaged and interested to see it grow.  I'm at 288 stitches right now and just starting section #3.  Progress has slowed down a little since there are so many stitches to knit through.  It's going to get even worse for section #4, where there are double the 288 stitches and I'll be knitting FOREVER.  (I'm hoping to have my mitten to take the edge off the painful knitting parts.)  This blanket needs to be done mid May for the baby it's intended for- and at this rate, I should be able to meet that goal pretty well.

Other than that- I also squeezed in a charity blanket section and got another skein of acrylic out of my stash!  YAY.  The theme of the blanket was "Chocolate Indulgence" and I knit my section to look like a big candy bar.

So yes, March has been  busy a month over here.  I'm hoping April will give me a few finished objects to show off- but it's nice to have so many little things to work on, other than just a big blanket.  Stay tuned there will be much to see!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vogue Knitting Live - Part 2 I'm Just Here For The Yarn

As promised, let's discuss the real reason we all wanted me to go to Vogue Knitting.  Yaaaaaaaarn.

OH MY GOSH the yarn.  *sighs happy dreamy sigh*

I could just probably present you all of these pictures without comment and we could just all agree that Vogue Knitting was WORTH IT for the yarn alone.  There was so much pretty stuff!  BUT, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun without a little bit of my yakking... so we will carry on.

You need to know that I MADE myself go and touch every skein of yarn I had in my stash before I went.  Like physically touch and think about every skein.  I know that's silly but I wanted to be sure yarn fumes didn't take me over and I came home with a) 20 skeins of the same thing I already have and b) I only bought what I really REALLY wanted to have.  My stash is shrinking a little at a time, and I didn't want to lose that momentum.  So with that in the back of my head... I entered the Marketplace.

The really great thing about the Marketplace is that there's just so much to see.  I probably did about 2 laps to cover the entire place before I really even allowed myself to consider buying anything.  (My pre-stash excercise was a really REALLY good thing for me to do.)

(Hello knitting mob)

One of the lovely things about this Marketplace was the way yarn was displayed.  COLOR.  COLOR everywhere!

Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
(I'm sure at some points I was literally openly salivating in people's shops.... I'm embarressed for me.)

These are just random "oooo pretty" shots of the yarn I was seeing.  A lot of these shops were independent dyers and it took every ounce of restraint I had not to buy one of everything.  (Seriously.... I deserve a medal.)

There was so much more to take in too- yarn ART installations!

Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled

I gotta admit, the weird shot of the people in the knit bodysuits totally weirded me out... but I don't get a lot of art, so I'm the wrong person to make comments here.

There was even angora rabbits being sheared for their fiber.  (I love LOVE angora rabbits, they're so ridiculous looking I can't help but laugh.)

(He's so fluffy!)

It was particularly well behaved of me to not buy 9000000 skeins of this yarn.  Thankfully the cost was high and I decided I couldn't really come up with something that I would make and get use out of.

The booth that was eventually my undoing was Black Trillium Fibers.  Maybe it was the display?


OH it was so pretty.  But, what really got my attention was their gradient kits.


I loved the idea.  So many times I've tried to do this kind of color combination piecing together like yarns and not coming up with what I wanted.  I agonized over what color gradient I would buy.  I would have bought them all if I hadn't been trying to be so good.  SO PRETTY.

Once I bought my gradient kit I really just felt the flood gates open.  And here's what I ended up with.


Yeah- not too bad hey?  Aside from the purple gradient, I bought the white and red (from Little Knits) for my Stampede project (spoiler alert!) and the green Hazel Knits sock yarn is for my mother in law- who I really missed at the marketplace- I felt she needed to a souvenir and I had my friend help me pick it out. (!!!!!  I finally met Rebecca whom I've been nattering away at on Twitter since we both had our kids in 2011.  She was awesome and met me at the marketplace and shopped with me and GAH- that's practically a blog post in itself- but I'll never get around to writing it, so just fair to say- she was awesome and I'm so glad we got to meet and our kids even peacefully coexisted at the zoo for a few minutes in order to take a photo!  It was great and I really REALLY hope we can meet up again, she was all kinds of nice and fun.)  The purple is a Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL sport weight.  The yardage is healthy (600 yards!) and I hope to turn it into a sweater someday.

I was really pleased with the representation of yarns from indie dyers.  I loved the selection.  My one gripe was, aside from Lion Brand Yarns, there was no representation from the "big companies" there.  Maybe something from Cascade?  Where were you Webs?  I was sad those people weren't there.... but I guess it can't always be exactly what you want.  I was also disappointed by the lack of gadgetry.  (Or possibly I have all the latest gadgetry.... but I just refuse to believe that.)  I was really hoping there would be more doo-dads and gadgets because I would have bought them all.  (Maybe it's good it wasn't there.)


In general I was very, very happy with the selection and enjoyed my time at the Marketplace thoroughly.  Overall Vogue Knitting was awesome and I would totally, TOTALLY go again.  (Totally)  But this has also opened my brain to other possibilities.... so if my husband asks, next year... maybe STITCHES West?

That covers Vogue Knitting (I hope....) I promise there will be in "in progress" and actual project updates soon.  My Stampede design has been eating up a lot of my spare knitting time and I'm still not a place where I'm 100% happy with my design.  The design process has taken WAAAAAAAY longer than I had anticipated it to.  I'm just glad I started when I did!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vogue Knitting Live - Part 1 Classes

In a move that can only be categorized as "truely awesome" my husband gave me a weekend at Vogue Knitting in Seattle for Christmas.  And last weekend I finally got to "cash in" on my present.  (Related: anyone have any suggestions for mind-blowingly awesome birthday gifts for Hubs?)

There is really so much to say I'm not sure if I can squeeze it in on one blog post- so there are going to be more than 1!

I actually had a choice, between Vogue Knitting in New York and Seattle at Christmas, but the NYC event was fast approaching and many of the classes were sold out.  Plus, husband suggested he and Parker could come to Seattle with me and keep themselves entertained while I socialized with the knitters.  I ultimately chose Seattle because I could have my choice, essentially, of classes.  I signed myself up for a "Fantastic Finishing class" on Friday afternoon with Amy Herzog and a "25 Tips and Tricks" class with Candace Eisner-Strick all day Saturday.  I also bought a 3 day marketplace access because "OMG YARN."

On Friday afternoon husband dropped me off, and I, armed with my pre-knit swatches, checked in to the event.


What I really love about knitting events is the way that random knitting groups just pop up in a huge conference center.  I walked in and there were little pods of people knitting everywhere- likely waiting for their classes to begin.  While I'm not as out-going as I'd like, I didn't just introduce myself and join in, but it was nice to be surrounded by "my people". 

Amy Herzog's Fantastic Finishing class was really great.  It's not sexy, but knowing proper ways to pick up stitches, the proper way to seam and graph together pieces is really critical to how a finished piece is going to look.  I want my piece to look awesome- taking Amy's class is certainly going to get me a lot closer to make awesome knit garmets.  (Look a swatch in the wild!)


My only regret is that I didn't take even more of Amy's classes.  She's got her stuff well laid out but after spending 2 hours with her, you feel like you have only scratched the surface of the stuff she knows, and I wish I had opted to take more time with her classes and really get into the knitty gritty of great sweater design/finishing.  After class I was practically BUZZING with anticipation of checking out the marketplace.  YARN.  OMG YARN.  Unfortunately for me, my class ended at 4, but the Marketplace didn't open until 5, I had some time to kill.  I'm glad I lined up when I did... because apparently I wasn't the only one buzzing with "OMG YARN" excitement.

Untitled Untitled

The Marketplace did not disappoint- but that's a whole blog post in itself- which I promise I will write up very soon.  Spoiler Alert- it was awesome.

After a spin through the marketplace and a brief fangirl moment over Jared Flood and Vicki Howell, (both of whom I was too chicken to go over and tell them how I've read their blogs and knit their patterns) I decided not to make any purchases util my next day.  (HOLY RESTRAINT BATMAN!)

Saturday morning I woke up early and got myself out to Bellvue to go to the conference.  Vogue Knitting Seattle is not actually in Seattle.  This is annoying.  Bellvue was about 25 minutes from my hotel, or a $40 cab ride...  The Meydenbauer center is actually a really REALLY nice conference center - but I really wish the event was in Seattle proper.  As someone who stayed in downtown Seattle, it was a pain to get out to Bellvue.  (I'm sure others would argue it's a pain to get into the city- but I'm sure I'm not the only one who had a few logistics issues trying to get to and from the conference while also attempting to be a tourist.)

After a stop at Starbucks over run by knitters, I, like a keener, took a seat in the front row of Candace Eisner Strick's class 25 Tips and Tricks.  Candace was charming and lovely, and really seems to know her stuff.  She's obviously taught this class a lot, and knew exactly how to get her students to learn things.  Even though it blew my mind a little bit, learning how to knit and purl backwards was pretty damn cool.  I also enjoyed getting hands on lesson in cabling without a needle- which just makes me want to knit something with a lot of cables so I can capitalize on this time saver immediately.

My only complaint about this class, (and it is NOT the fault of the teacher) is that I wish the Vogue Knitting outline had outlined all of the tips and tricks we were learning.  Out of the 25- I knew 20 of them.  :-(  Frustrating.  I still learned something new and enjoyed myself, but had I known what the class covered, I'd probably would have opted to take something that covered something I knew less about. 

Overall- I really enjoyed my time at Vogue Knitting.  It was remarkably well organized and the people working the event were very cheerful and helpful. 

(Oh Vogue Knitting, it's like you read my mind)

I would definately attend this event again, and would probably try to fill my schedule even more full of classes.  I hope that I would remember that I need to be challenged and really feel like I'm learning something new- so that next time I'll dive into something really out of the box for me.  Whenever I take a class I'm always thinking to myself "why don't I do this more?!"

Stay Tuned.... there's plenty of yarn to see.....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Minutiae

Thanks to those of you who were following along in my previous post... I had a pretty productive week.  I accomplished all of my tasks that I could.  (I couldn't work on the Chocolate charity blanket because it hasn't shown up yet and I did some preliminary sketches on the Stampede project but I'm going to keep that a mystery for a while.)

I had intended to get on the blog earlier, but I has hampered by a new laptop.  I know the prospect of a new laptop sounds new and shiny and exciting, but this new laptop has Windows 8- which is SO SO SO AWFUL.  Take everything you knew about how a computer works and then forget it.  I'm reasonably computer savvy and I haven't been able to figure out the simplest of things.  CUT AND PASTE should not be hard!  There are lots of cool things about the new laptop too (Hello touch screen!) but my learning curve has been slower on this thing!

Enough computer ranting... let's get to the knitting!

Umaro is blocked and it's glamour photos are done!


Project: Umaro by Jared Flood
Yarn: Diamond Luxury Collection Superwash DK (9 skeins)
Needles: US 7
Notes: A great pattern, (Mr. Flood is known for his great patterns), but I experienced "pattern ennui" shortly into it.  This happens with any kind of blanket when you're just sort of done knitting the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Look closely in the first picture.... do you see anything, um.... wrong?  I realized nearly finished and too far to rip back that I made an error.  I'm hoping it isn't insanely noticeable- but I'm just kicking myself.  I'm a perfectionist and it drives me NUTS to have a visable error.  I'm trying to just let it go, but it's hard.


I also finished a bunch of other things, most importantly- my swatches for my Vogue Knitting classes next week.  (EEEEEE next week!  SO excited!)

Untitled Untitled

I got some charity knitting done; 2 hats and my Tis the Season section on the WCOBB blanket.

Untitled Untitled

AND.... if that wasn't enough, on a whim, I cast on a fun little project that I am totally in love with right now.  Any guesses on what it is?


This Thursday I'm hoping to take some bigger steps to getting into my Stampede project.  It MUST be charted out by the end of March and ready to knit, but I'd like to jump into it earlier if I can reach a decision on my design.

So lots of little things going on in March.  I'd like to just indulge myself on little projects this month so that in April I can jump back into the bigger projects, including another baby blanket for a friend due in May.  Hopefully it'll help keep the pattern Ennui at bay.