Thursday, March 30, 2006

An Apology to Ms. Bliss

Okay, so I admit that I've been dis'in' Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn since I made Matt's second Wonderous Woven Cables sweater from it. I didn't like working with the yarn at all. I found that every ball was full of knots (and with only 100 yds per ball, that seems like a lot). There were some really poorly spun sections and since it's a superwash yarn, no spit splicing (trust me, I tried).

While I was happy with the results of the sweater and Matt loves the softness, I thought the yarn was too expensive for the quality issues. I swore I would only use it again if I found a good deal on it.

Well, I did. Ball and Skein had it on sale, so I bought some black for the back of my entrelac vest.

I have not found one knot or nub in the 3 skeins I've used. So maybe I just got a bad batch the first time? Maybe only 3 skeins isn't a good sampling, but the yarn is lovely to the touch and it's nice to work with.

Speaking of the entrelac vest... the fronts have all the ends woven in and I was past the armhole shaping on the back, but decided my armholes weren't deep enough, so I ripped back. Painful, but I want this sweater to be comfortable and I think I want 9" deep armholes rather than 7.5".

So it's progressing well, considering that it's black st. st.

Today I'm off to a knitting class at Old Peddler's Wool. I'm going to learn to knit continental. I sorta taught myself how to do with with books and trial and erro, but I'm hoping that having a class will make me more proficient with it (and I can get better gauge).

For those not on the Aran Knitlist, I've started a Yahoo groups for a Sam the Ram/Sue the Ewe knitalong. I'm just playing hostess on the KAL, as I've already knit Sam. I think this project is perfect for a KAL, so if you've been waiting for the right time to knit Sam or Sue, sign up for the KAL!

Well, off to decide what I'm taking to class to work on....

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Rock And A Hardplace

All the fun bits on the entrelac vest are done.

Now I can choose to work on the boring stockinette stitch back in black:

Ya, that's fun.

Well, I could weave in all those ends from changing skeins every row:

Ya, that's fun.

Well, one's done and I do have some done on the boring black back.

I'm meeting friends to knit and visit, and that's perfect for boring black back knitting...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Short attention span knitting

So I'm trudging along and the right front is almost done on the Entrelac Tuxedo Vest. Even tho' I had planned on letting the colors develop naturally, I did end up with a stacked row of the same color. Right near the end. I decided that it was worth changing so I ripped it back. Only about 3 more entrelac rows to go, then I'll add the missing side panels, then knit the back... oh that'll be fun for me. Stockinette stitch in black. Yum.

I've decided that this project was great for my short attention span. As I didn't know what to expect. Noro's yarns are really hard to decipher in the skein, and the short little entrelac squares move quickly, so it kept my interest. Let's hope that I can trudge thru all that black st. st. on the back fairly quickly.

Questions from my comments:

Joan asked:
How in the world did you knit the front of the entrelac vest so fast or for that matter, how do you knit anything as fast as you do?! Do you sleep at all?

Well, I do sleep. I'm actually an early to bed kinda gal (bedtime at Knitting Park is about 10:00 pm). However there are a lot of things that other people do that I don't. Work for one. Clean for an other. Housekeeping is at the bare minimum here at Knitting Park. The vacuum gets run sporatically. I'm pretty consistant with laundry (as that hardly cuts into my knitting time) and I cook fast and easy meals (Rachel Ray has got nothing on me...). I don't consider myself to be a super fast knitter, but I do spend a lot of time knitting. Apart from meals, an hour workout a day and the occasional knitting break (to play video games), I really do spend most of my time knitting. I will confess that I've seen a speed increase over the last year or so, but I also think that's from my new found focus. I'm now spending more time on the same projects and not jumping around as much as I used to.

Speaking of laundry... today's laundry day. I'll get the right front done on the Entrelac Vest and maybe do the side panels. Since I messed that up (reading directions really isn't my forte') I'll have to come up with something clever to make it look delibrate.

In other knitting news, I'm going to tackle my first "from scratch" sweater design. Matt wants a simple ribbed pullover. I have an idea of exactly what to do, so I'll have to do my own. I'll post my thoughts and progress as I go. Finished size will be about 40" if anyone wants to follow along.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Too Much Content For A Clever Title:

Whew! what a weekend!

Yarn Crawlapalooza 2006 continued on Saturday. Rosie, in grand tour director fashion, had it all mapped out so we could hit 5 yarn stores.

First stop: Labadie Looms. It's a small shop of weaving, spinning and some knitting supplies. She stocks mostly her own hand dyed yarns and they are lovely. She does carry a few commercial yarns, but we weren't tempted to buy anything.

So off to the next store: Kitnit. Theresa found the $.50 pattern basket and was in heaven. I bought a couple of books (including the new Elsebeth Lavold)

Lunch Break!

Then off to my favorite: Ball and Skein. We won't discuss the absolute disarray we caused there!! 50% off Elsebeth Lavold Angora. I think we all bought some. I also bought some yarn to make the Oat Couture Tuxedo Entrelac Vest. More about that later...

Then off to Oh!Suzanna's. This store is not a good store to visit on a yarn crawl. Even if there's only 4 of you (plus one other customer in the store). Claustrophobic doesn't even begin to describe this store. The store is packed to overflowing with yarn. Boxes on the floor, piles of pattern books. It's an experience that just simply can't be described. I did a little damage there as well. I bought two Not So Plain Jane patterns.

One more store to go!

Legacy Knits. A cute little store with a nice selection, but I had run out of steam and money at that point.

Well, that was a lot of shopping. More patterns were purchased than yarn. However, the some of my new yarn did get used yesterday. I had to start something!. How 'bout the Tuxedo entrelac Vest you may ask... well, that sounds good to me: Um, yep, that's what I knit yesterday. The entire left front... well not quite the entire left front, as I missed something in the directions so I'll need to make side panels. Oh well.

I'm using some Keuryon in blues and greens. I'm using two skeins at a time (just like the directions use for their two color sample) and I'm not worrying about the colors at all. I just work one row, switch skeins then work the next row. I love the randomness of it. I'll do the same thing on the other side and not worry about them matching at all. The back and ribbing will be in black.

I'm still working on the lacy summer cardigan and I'm past the armhole shaping on the back.

This is a busy week as I'm going to try to meet up with Joan mid week, Ann and I are going to a class on Thursday, then Lauren (the originator of the Yarn Crawlapalooza 2006 term) and I are going to try to get out to a couple of LYS on Friday.

The Q&A section:

The Lucy Bag pattern is from Two Old Bags designs. They make some lovely purse/tote patterns. Both felted and non felted.

The Sam the Ram (the picture in my side bar) is from Earth Heart Designs.

Whew, see, I said it was one busy weekend... and an upcoming busy week. I've gotta get some knitting done today!!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Yet an other fun outing yesterday with 2 friends from our SnB group. Ann and I met Rosie at Old Peddler's Wool. Ann was hoping to find one more skein for her Lucy bag. She's also using a Wool in the Woods yarn, but her's is a thick n thin yarn with a hint of metalic in it. We both also signed up for a class next week on Continental knitting.

Rosie showed up in her brand spankin' new Koigu Oriental Jacket.
I forgot to reset my camera, so the pictures turned out a bit small, but you can see the photo shoot here.

We then hit The Yarn Store on The Farm. An interesting place. She's got her yarn store right in her house. She is closing it down so there were some great deals... including some fabulous Peace Fleece.

Then off to Ball and Skein. While I must say that she had the smallest yarn store I had ever been in, I looooved this store. A nice mix of yarns from eyelash to local handspun. Noro, Galway and Sockotta. However, she had all her Elsebeth Lavold yarn on sale. Weeeellll, I did some damage. ooops. I bought some Silky Wool and some Silky Tweed. And while I'm probably going to use them to knit an Elsebeth Lavold design, Sarah mentioned swatching the Gravel Road Cardigan in Silky Wool.... hmmmm.

Anyone looking for a region of the country with lots of fun yarn stores, SE PA is the place to go. Plus Rosie holds knitting retreats at her B&B!

Luckily, today I am not going yarn shopping and I can actually get some knitting done. The Afternoon Stroll cardigan is going quite quickly:
I'm not sure why my pictures wouldn't turn out this morning, but at least I can show my progress.

Well, one more yarn crawl this week. This is good. I'm almost yarn crawled out, well at least my credit card is...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lucy, I'm Home...

Lucy is just about dry. I love the simplicity of this pattern. It's easy to knit and makes a really cool bag. Here's the post felting picture with Matt to give an idea on shrinkage:

The yarn did loose some of it's beauty felting it. The colors were scrumptious and they're much more subtle now. The bag is also very hairy (I blame the llama content). However, these are minor problems and I'm very happy with it.

So what did I start yesterday? Well, beleive it or not, nothing. I did work on a projected started last summer: An Afternoon Stroll:
This pattern is from a Leisure Arts pamplet and I'm willing to bet it's a republish of a Paton's pattern. It's a cute little summer lacy cardigan. I'm using Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere. It's an "okay" yarn. It's nice to knit with, but I would expect it to be a bit softer. We'll see how it feels when the sweater is done. At this point, I don't really see the advantage of the cashmere content, I guess.

So the bottom border is done and I've started the eyelet pattern for the back.

I'm off today to hit a couple of yarn stores with Ann and Rosie. I must remember to bring my camera, as Rosie finished her Koigu Oriental Jacket last night (or was it this morning Rosie?).

Happy Knitting!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thanks so much!!!!!!

Thank you to all those that left me such lovely comments and emails! I always feel a little werid with all the complements about a lovely sweater. All I did was knit it, the real genius comes from the designer. Both sweaters are lovely designs from talented designers. So my thanks go to them. I love them both and thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment.

Here's some questions from comments:

Jennifer asked me what size I made.

Since I had to adjust for gauge, I ended up making it 44". This is not one of the sizes listed on the pattern, but since I "FLAK'd" it, I was able to adjust to to my size.

Carissa asked if this means I get to buy more yarn.

Why yes, yes it does... As a matter of fact I'm going yarn shopping tomorrow, Friday and Saturday with some of the ladies from our SnB group. I tried to find someone to go with me on Tuesday and Thursday, but no takers...

I think we can call my weight loss program a "high fiber diet". As I cut back on food and increase my exercise, I need to find a way to compensate... so I've been buying yarn. Instead of eating from boredom... I've been buying yarn.

It also allows me to concentrate on more knitting:

The pre-felted Lucy Bag (and thanks to Matt for being a sport and holding it up... oh and just as a size reference: Matt's a little over 5' 4"). I'll felt it up today. I didn't swatch this project, so I have absolutely no idea on how it's going to felt.

I'm still is a "spring/summer" knitting mode. I had thought I would get back to my FLAK when I finished up the Spring Forward, but the idea of a wool sweater just doesn't seem optimistic enough for me. I want summer, so if I work on summery projects, summer will come more quickly, right?

I'll keep ya posted what the next big project will be... I'm always open to suggestions, too!

Thanks again for all the lovely comments!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring Had Sprung!!!!

I really didn't think I would get it done by the end of the weekend. Can I just say I LOVE IT!!!!!

Project Info:
Pattern: Spring Forward Cardigan by Janet Szabo. Can be found in the Twists & Turns Newsletter Spring 2004.
Yarn: TLC's Cotton Plus in light rose.
Problems with the pattern: All problems were self imposed. The pattern is very well written (there is a clarification on Janet's website about how to increase the neckline). The charts were clear and the sweater is gorgeous.
Changes to the pattern: Using a different yarn did create some issues for me. My filler stitch swatch was a little under the pattern gauge and my cables were coming out much larger. My first attempt of this pattern was a disaster as I've lost over 30 lbs from when I started it, and I chose the wrong size to begin with. I also found my first yarn to be hard to cable (Cascade Sierra). I decided to try the Cotton Plus, as it's washable and I loved the pink color (and very easy to cable). The second one was started and I "thought" I was on gauge, but my sleeves ended up being too tight and my neck fell off my shoulders. Did some recalculation and you can see the results above. Well worth knitting 3 times. The only other change to the pattern was making the armholes just a bit deeper (but as mentioned on Garnet, that's not unusual for me).

This one will be knit again. I want a "Fall Back Cardigan" so I plan on doing one in wool. I'll do the same steps to make sure the wool is gauged properly. Thanks Janet for a truely beautiful project!

Oh, and speaking of Garnet:

Just a quick modeled picture since Matt was kind enough to get some photos before he left for work this morning.

Well, that wraps up an other project (woo-hoo!). Now what to concentrate on? Well I should get my Lucy Bag finished up over the next few days then we'll tackle some thing new!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Cable Is Out

Confession: I haven't been working on Spring Forward for a couple of days. So close to getting it done, but I'm a little cabled out. I've been working on some simple st. st. projects and replaying Sly 2. Oh and buying more yarn.

Friday I went shopping with Nicole and bought this and yarn to do the cover sweater:

Yesterday I went to two shops with a Ann, Julie and our other Nicole from our SnB group. I decided that I love yarn. Not just a little, but all of it. I'm always attracted to hand dyed yarns, but find I don't really use them that much. Doesn't keep me from buying them:

Some beautiful hand dyed yarn from Wool in the Woods to make the Lucy bag (and I'm keeping this one!!!)

Some beautiful merino wool from Tess. I bought enough to make a sweater.

I also bought some other Wool in the Woods yarn to make a little purse (the Lily bag also from Two Old Bags).

As you can see, the Lucy bag was started immediately and it's a nice break from all those cables. It doesn't look like the Spring Forward will get done this week after all, but it's close and I'll keep plugging away at it. I think I just needed a little breather and I'm actually looking forward to working on it a bit today. So I can start something else....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Weekend Wrap Up

Just a few things from the weekend to wrap up.

The project info on Garnet:

Pattern: Garnet designed by Elsebeth Lavold from her book Sentimental Journey
Yarn: Cotton Patine
Pattern Modifications: I made one minor change to the pattern. I made the sleeve armbands a bit bigger than the pattern calls for.
Problem With The Pattern: None that I found.
Overall Impression: A super fast, easy, yet interesting knit. I'm thrilled with how if fits, how it feels and how it looks. Less than 2 weeks to knit.

So the general consensious was that it was a great project.

Other info from the weekend (and I can't believe that I forgot to post this yesterday!).

Race Results: Matt finished 7th in the Cat 3/4 Time Trial! This was a huge improvement from last year (he finished 25th in the Cat 5 TT from the Tour de Christiana). His friend Jim won the 3/4 and Matt's other team mate came in 4th. All in all a super great day for the Iron Hill Race Team!!!

In case you are wondering, our lives now revolve around cycling. Meals, schedules, vacations, everything. Matt has found his passion and it's cycling. What started as a weight loss program has turned into a major factor in our lives. We talk bikes, we talk training, we talk nutrition. Occassionally we talk knitting (heehee). And yes, the passion for cycling is so extreme that even at the height of his chicken pox outbreak, he still trained (I would see it as an excuse not to workout...)

In knitting update, I finished up the left front on Obsession Spring Forward and started the right front. It looks like I do have enough yarn to make it longer if I want, but I'm still debating if I need to (part of me just wants it done so I can wear it). I'm going to shoot for 32 rows today... with the hope that I'll have it done by the weekend. I ordered buttons yesterday, so I need to get this right front done and get to that button band!!!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, March 13, 2006

St. Patricks Day 365....

Garnet was finished early Saturday morning. I absolutely looooove this sweater. Sorry for the crappy picture (it's really foggy out and just couldn't get a good picture this morning. I'll try to get a better one later today)UPDATE: Got a new picture when the sun came out. I'll have project info tomorrow.
I'll be getting a lot of wear out of this this summer.

Also still plugging away on Obsession Spring Forward.
I'll have that half of the front done today. I think I can easily have this baby done by the end of the week.

This is a good thing for lot's of reasons. Not only is it a beautiful sweater, it's really comfy. The yarn is soft it's going to fit well. It's also not green. Every single cardigan in my closet is green:
Including a purchased lightweight cardigan. The only other cardigan in my closet is blue, but it's the original Cropped Cardigan that is way too large for me now. Looking at my stash and UFO's, I have a very specific color preferences.

Well, today is laundry day and that makes good knittin' time. It's going to be beautiful today, hitting the upper 70's. I'll open up windows and air out the winter/dog smell in the house, so some laundry and enjoy a little spring preview before it goes back to normal temps later this week.

Have a great Monday and Happy Knitting!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Woo-Hoo Pictures!!!!

Garnet is at the finishing stage. Here's the body with the shoulder seams attatched (3 needle bind off for those that are interested). The sleeves are knit, but I still have the cuff to put on them. Then the neck ribbing, some seaming and some weaving. A nice little summer top ready to go. A great knit to say the least. And look... lace!!!!

Sadly, since I'm so close to finishing Garnet, I've put Obsession Spring Forward aside for the time being. Not for long, as I really want this one done too. So I can wear it!

As I blogged the other day, I'm not sure if that's the full length of it or not. I'll work the fronts to the same length and hope that I can add an other 2-3". If not, it's no big deal. It's a good length, but I was hoping for a smidgeon longer sweater.

It's an amazingly beautiful day out (hence the outside shots today). The sun is now up when we get up (yeah!!!!) and it's going to hit 70 today. So it's also supposed to rain, but right now it's just delightful.

In non-knitting news (which is rare in my life... unless it's a video game, of course), Matt's first race of the season is tomorrow. It's a time trial and his first season as a Cat 4 rider. The weird thing about this race? There's a stop sign in middle of it. The riders actually have to unclip and put a foot down in middle of a time trial. We're hoping for a decent finish... it's not the kind of race that Matt is going to excell at. No major climbs. He really struggled with TT last year, so with the new TT bike and the training this off season, we're just hoping for a high finish.

Have a super weekend and Happy Knitting!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Last Day Without Pics!

My computer is coming back today. It was actually here yesterday, but I wasn't home when they tried to deliver it (if I had known they had shipped it, I wouldn't have gone for grocercies!).

Garnet is getting close. One sleeve done and the second started. I did get a little flesh colored camisole yesterday while out shopping, so I don't think I'll bother with doing anything about the lace. I'll be fine with it as is.

I haven't worked on Obsession Spring Forward in a couple of days, as I'm getting close to finishing up Garnet. Both projects are on the downhill side approaching finishing. It makes me dream of "what's next". I have so many projects started, purchased and dreaming about that I struggle getting focused. I am finding that I'm concentrating more on just 2 projects at a time, usually different styles. The Obsession Spring Forward is heavily cabled and requires me to pay attention to what I'm doing. Garnet is a simple knit, even with the lace panel on the front. So I'll probably work on a heavily cabled project next and add a simpler project to switch between. Just need to decide the "what" part of it...

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Missing you guys...

Okay, so even if I can't post pictures, I've got to give some updates on how things are going.

I've finished the front of Garnet and cast on the first sleeve. I should have that one done today (advantage of short sleeve sweaters!). I'm going to have some yarn left over, so I'm thinking I just might make a little st. st. panel for behind the lace so I don't have to worry about a camisole for under it.

Obsession Spring Forward is still progressing well. I'm now a bit concerned about how much yarn I have. The draw back of doing the fronts and back seperately is figuring out how much more yarn I need. So I stopped working on the back and went back to the left front. I'll work the fronts to the same length at the back then decide if I have enough yarn to add a few more inches. I'm "okay" where I'm at, but I was sort of hoping for a little longer sweater.

Let me also say that this sweater is gorgeous. It's well documented on how much I love Janet Szabo's designs. She has a lovely touch with cables. I will honestly say that this is one of her most beautiful designs. That's saying a lot. When I look over my past finished projects, her designs stand out for pleasure in knitting and they get a lot of wear. So yes, I'm currently looking at yarn options for the Dancing Ribbon Aran. (hmmm, looking at the link to that issue, I'm reminded I've also got the Lasso Gansey sitting here waiting to go. That might need to be finished next...).

Too many projects, too little time (and why do I buy yarn for 10 projects in the time in takes to knit one... those figures don't really work out realistically, do they?)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Quick Update

My computer is going back to the manufacturer for a little service and I won't be blogging for about a week or so. I should still have email access, but it's too hard to do the photo thing on our back up computer. See ya'll in a week (or so)

All Knitting, All The Time

I finished the back of Garnet yesterday, then I thought I would just cast on the front to see how the lace panel worked up.

I think it works up very well. Very well indeed.

I do see a problem with it... it's a bit more open than I expected. I'm going to have to wear something underneath it. I think my bright white bra peeking out from under the lace won't be very attractive, so I think I'll get (or make) a little flesh colored camisole for under it.

This is the first time I've knit a Elsebeth Lavold design. I've heard that her directions can be vague, but I'm finding this a very easy knit. Oh, and fast... surprisingly fast.

The only other thing that's weird for me is the gauge. I'm used to tight gauge. I like a firm fabric and since I do mostly textured/cable knitting, that's what I shoot for. This gauge is very loose (and nice and drapey, I might add) so it feels too loose to me while I'm knitting it. However, the back looks great and the measurements are good, so it's purely a psychological thing on my part.

Today is just a continuation of the same two knitting projects.

I am in game limbo right now. I've played both the good and evil story lines of Darkwatch (not much difference at all) and I started playing Jak and Dexter, but didn't enjoy it at all (tried to hard to be annoying funny and the game play wasn't a lot of fun). Oh well, just gives me more time to knit...

Happy Knitting!!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More of the same

Just a real quick post today (with no new pics). Just imagine both pictures from yesterday with more rows done.

The Spring Forward is 12 rows longer... I think I have an other 2 repeats to go before I do the bottom ribbing.

The back of the Garnet is at the back neck shaping and I'll have that finished up today. I don't expect the front to go as quickly, as it has a lace panel (and we all know how well I knit lace....).

So today will just be more of the same. I do miss my daytime hockey games. Hmmmm, is this baseball world classics going to be on during the day????

Have a great Wednesday and Happy Knitting!!!