Friday, December 29, 2006

Last Post of 2006 (maybe)

Ah, the end of the year. Always fun... looking forward to next year and planning on what I'm going to do. I've got some things planned for 2007 that I'm pretty excited about.

However, let's finish out 2006 projects:

The Angora Cables Cardigan:

A completely gorgeous sweater. The Elsebeth Lavold Angora was a delightful yarn to knit with... to the point I was disappointed when this project was done. (It's a Classic Elite pattern from "Winter"). I made some minor adjustments to the pattern, but the pattern is written for people with tiny upper arms. It's a little snug on the upper arms so it doesn't feel comfortable and doesn't quite sit on my shoulders. Hopefully I'll continue with my weight loss and it'll fit a little more comfortably.

Overall, a good project. Delightful to knit and a pretty finished sweater.

So let's see the current projects:

Matt's Because I Love You Sweater is stalled a bit. I'm not sure I made the sleeve depth long enough:
I'll probably finish up the sleeve and check the fit on him.

I cast on a sock (ya, whatever).
The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts County Clair. I love the colors, but the yarn is a little heavier than fingering weight (which is why I've been having issues with gauge with it I believe), so I'm trying a pattern written for a heavier weight yarn. Seems to be working well.

Here's the Christmas gift project. I got the KnitPicks needle set for Christmas and the Jackets book from XRX, so I had to cast something on, right:
I'm using some of the old Cotton Ease in Pistatio. I was looking for a cable and lace pattern for the yarn and this fits the bill easily. A great easy to memorize pattern (which is unusual for me and lace), so it's moving along fairly well... when I'm knitting.

I must admit that I've been doing quite a bit more sewing than usual. Making the tote bag for our SnB gift exchange has become addictive. So I've been collecting some fabrics to try some other bags... but more about that later (that falls into the 2007 plans catagory).

So off to do some laundry and some sewing! Then some knitting!

Added (just because I love the way this tote turned out:)

This went to a friend who loooooves her coffee.... and purses.

Keep On Knittin'!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A quick post holiday update


Our holiday weekend was lovely! Quiet and relaxing.

I did score some great knitting supplies.

Some great books:

This book is faboulous. I'm a huge Melissa Leapman fan and this book is divided into three sections: a tutorial, some patterns in varying degrees of difficulty then a lovely stitch dictionary. A must have for cable lovers!

This is a nice selection of jackets from Knitter's Magazine from over the years. Since I stopped getting Knitter's, I don't have a lot of the patterns in the book, and I've even cast on a Jean Frost.

This is one of the nicest sock books I have. A little bit of everything and nicely laid out!

A great stitch dictionary.

So not only did I score some great books, but I also got the KnitPicks needles set. I love it (and one of the reasons I was able to cast on the cardigan from the Jackets book).

Great stuff from Matt and his family. Truely lovely and greatly appreciated!

Oh, and we bought a car. Which I've only driven when we test drove it. That's going to change, as I'm off to the grocery store!

I'll try to update with actually knitting tomorrow. I'll see if I can get some photos of all these projects I've started...

Keep On Knittin'!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last Post Before Christmas

and all thru the Park... all the holiday crafts are done!!! Ya, okay, so I'm not a poet...

Last night was the Chesco SnB Holiday party. We exchanged gifts and it was great fun! I scored the most beautiful pink Peace Fleece (so very very me) and my gift was well received:

We had a fab time last night, and I unloaded the Lopi sweater. So I'm free and clear. All my gifts are done (except Matt's Because I Love You sweater, but I'm not going to kill myself to get that done for Christmas).

So I really enjoyed making the tote bag and I have enough fabric to one for me. I jut need to get more interfacing and the webbing for the handles!

On to the Year in Review (we're winding down):

The Silver Creek Gansey in Patons Classic Wool.

A great sweater. It was fun to knit, interesting and I love the way the cream really shows off the stiches. However... cream is so not my color. So it's now Matt's and looks fab on him! (ya, I know I keep linking to that photo, but I love the casual GQ look... heehee).

So yet an other sucessful project that should get some good wear!

So I'm off to celebrate the holiday! Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!!!!

Keep on Knittin'!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

One Sock

I finished up the first basketweave rib sock. A perfect mix of pattern and yarn.

Love it so far... I just have to do the other one. Quick reminder of the pattern and the yarn: The pattern is from Stitches of Violet and the yarn is from Fearless Fibers (Thoroughbred colorway).

An other view:

(as always, you can click on the photos for a larger view with better detailing of the dog hair).

Year in Review:

Next up is Scoop du Jour:

This one is a bit of a mixed bag. I used Cara Mia, which I love. It's soft and very comfortable to wear, but it is pilling a bit on me. I was a bit disappointed with the way the directions were written for buttonhole placement. Oh, and the sleeve length. I shortened the sleeves well over 2" and they're still about 2" too long. That's what I get for actually reading the directions. I do wear this one quite a bit. It's great around the house and it's really really comfy, but I don't wear it out much. Maybe because of the button placement or maybe because it's pilling or maybe because it's such a simple sweater (and I am a cable girl after all). So overall, I think the project was a success, but I doubt I'll make the pattern again.

Tonight is our SnB Holiday party that includes a gift exchange... I'll show what I made for it tomorrow. I don't want anyone cheating before tonight (heehee).

Keep on Knittin'!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Late Update...

Been an errands filled day, but wanted to share the good news:

The car passed inspection. Again. I asked how much it would cost to get him to fail it (we're officially on 15 years with this car... longer than we've been married).

Okay, back to the Year in Review:

The Rose Leaf Pullover:

This pattern came from an old Paton's Leaflet called Great Inspirations and I knit in in Cotton Fleece.

Let's say that this was a whopping sucess. I wore this all summer and well into the fall. The color is striking, the fit comfortable. Two thumbs up on this one. I mean what else is there to say? I love it.

Back to a little 2 X 2 ribbing...

Keep On Knittin'!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Projects and Looking Back

I didn't make it to Joann's yesterday so the Lopi sweater still isn't done. Oh well. I'll do it today.

I spent the bulk of yesterday working on the Because I Love You sweater. The confession is that I'm finding the 2 X 2 rib actually a nice knit. I was really concerned that I would be bored to death, but in fact, I've picked up a nice little rhythm with it and it's zooming along.

So back and front done, shoulders attatched and the neckband done. Matt tried it on last night and it has approval. It's going to be a snug little sweater on him with the ribbing really showing off his build. Maybe that's why it's been such a fun knit? heehee

So I'll pick up stitches on the one side for the sleeves (I always do drop shoulder style sleeves top down if I can). I think I will get this done for Christmas after all... if not, at least by the end of the year!

One of the ways I keep myself moving forward is by setting very specific goals for myself each day. Once that goal is reached, the rest of the day I can work on what ever want. I've been working dilegently on the Basketweave ribbed socks, and I'm about ready to start the toe shaping on the first sock (sorry I forgot to take a picture). But let's face it, I need something fun for me!!! (not that the socks aren't for me or that they're not fun... but they're socks... and I'm a sweater girl!!!)

I cast on the Nantucket Cardigan from the cover of Interweave Knits (winter 2006) in Cotton Ease in Rose (one of the new colors). My gauge is really really lose on the sweater. The cables aren't popping the way I would want them. So I'm going to drop down a needle size. Problem is that I don't have any free needles to do that... so on to plan B:

A simple shawl collared cable cardigan. In slut red (also Cotton Ease... but one of the discontinued colors). Ya, did I mention that I have 4.5" of 2 X 2 ribbing before I hit the cable pattern! What was I thinking... that I haven't been doing enough 2 X 2 ribbing?????

Anyway, this is a great little pattern booklet:
There's that great cover sweater, plus a beautiful Kathy Zimmerman design and at least two other cardigans in it that I would make in a heart beat!

Okay, that takes care of new business, let's look back on the next Year in Review project:

The Entrelac Tuxedo Vest:

The Entrelac Tuxedo Vest. An Oat Couture pattern knit in Noro Kuyeron and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

This was a fun fast knit and I really like the way it turned out. I goofed a bit on the directions (would help if I actually read them) and it ended up being a bit too big on me. So I haven't worn it much. I'm still debating if I should frog (not easy due to the way I did the entrelac) or just give it away... so we'll say it was a semi successful project. Looks good, quality construction, but doesn't quite fit.

Well, off to the grocery store and Joann's... then back to the knitting!!!

Keep On Knittin'!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Back to the Year in Review

I'm going to have to buckle down and switch out from using Blogger. The new update is really annoying and the FTP still isn't working for me. The reason I always liked Blogger was it's user friendly interface. Even non techie people can get it to work. Not anymore. I'm pretty sure my RRS feeds still aren't working.

Anyway just a quick update on the Lopi sweater. It's done except I need to put a facing over the screwed up steek. I'll pop up to Joann's today and look for some ribbon.

Okay, let's get to the Year in Review:

designed by Elisbeth Lavold and knit in her Cotton Patine yarn.

I loved this top! It was a fun and fast knit. It was a great color and it looked nice on me. So what's up with the past tense? Um, the yarn wasn't color fast. I used to store my sweaters on shelves that got some sun and this one faded terribly. I can't wear it as is. Eventually I'll probably dye it, but I'm sad that the color didn't last. I've also heard that the yarn fades with washing as well. So I plan on replacing it with a more durable yarn one of these days (it really was a fast knit). It's just as well, as the color palette for the Cotton Patine is pretty limited for my skin tone (there were only maybe 3 colors to chose from).

So the year started off well... great finished projects and even Garnet got quite a bit of wear before it started fading... let's see if that continues....

Keep on Knittin'!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ya, I don't wanna talk about it...

The crochet steek didn't work. Not sure why, but I've got a huge mess on my hands right now and I'm trying very hard not to panic.

So let's talk something else?

It's the time of year when all the local race teams are reorganizing and jockeying for sponsors and bike deals. This is Matt's team first year as an organzied race team. They've been riding under their club, but due to the political nature of clubs (and them basically not wanting "elite" riders) they decided to go out on their own and get their own sponsors and a bike deal.

It's a lot of work, a lot of politics and some toes will always get stepped on. However, it looks like things are falling into place. They have their title sponsor (ironically, it's the same sponsor as the club, but they will be seperate with seperate jerseys) and they finalized their bike deal this week.

Matt's team is mostly Cat 3 and Cat 4 riders with the addition of some newbies (just starting racing, so they'll be Cat 5). Matt will be concentrating this year on the same races as he did last year. Matt does better as the temps and the roads go up

He still wants to improve his time trial time, which is really hard for him. He did see some improvement last year, but he's got a long way to go before he gets those high finishes in time trials.

The calf injury is slowing him down. Basically he can't ride right now. So we just joined our local YMCA so he can swim and try to keep his cardio up and his weight down. I'm in a serious weight loss/exercise funk right now and can't quite break it. We'll see if going to a gym will help (or hinder) my mood about it.

So I'm off to deal with my mess... I'll keep ya posted on how it's going. I'm pretty sure I can fix it, but my problem is I don't know what I did wrong. I'm going to play with how I do my steeks after the holidays.

Keep on Knittin'!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Looky There, Looky There...

They call it the steek!

A crochet steek to be exact.

This is now officially my favorite way to do steeks. Sadly, I didn't plan ahead for it, so I did the steek stitches pretty deep (I think I did 7 steek stitches). I should've only done 5 or even 3. Since this sweater had crochet bands, I didn't need a wide facing.

Here's the crochet done:

and the steek cut:
A great way to do steeks, that's for sure.

I have to admit, I've never been fearful of cutting my knitting. I know a lot of knitters fear the scissors. I guess because I grew up sewing that I just see the knitting as any fabric. Steeks really really aren't hard, and I knew that even if the crochet steek didn't work, my handy sewing machine isn't that far off... and I can always use it to keep the stitches from unraveling.

So I should have this done today after the crochet button bands, a few ends to weave in yet then a visit to my handy dandy steam iron (which I hope really helps my uneven stranding. Three colors per row isn't my forte')

Now let's see if this actually ever publishes!!!

Keep On Knittin'!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Not in love...

I'm still having issues with Blogger. According to the forums it's a simple matter of changing the FTP path in my settings, but that doesn't seem to work consistantly. I'm currently downloading movable type and so I can see how hard it'll be to move my blog to it. We'll see.

In Matt news: the orthopedic doctor isn't so sure Matt's leg is fractured. He's off today to get a bone scan, but it looks like it's more likely to be an over use injury, which is actually worse news. Soft tissue injuries are difficult to deal with. It's about resting it, and guessing when you can use it again without reinjuring it.

I'm going to probably finish up the knitting part of the Lopi sweater today... I would like to steek it tomorrow and get the bands on it so I can block it Friday. I'm not sure I have enough of one of the colors. If I don't, the buttonband will be in one color.

Sorry the blog is so wonky right now... I want to get back to the Year in Review, but I don't want to spend a lot of time setting up a blog that doesn't get published....

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blogger Issues...

My blog isn't publishing properly on Blogger. They've done an upgrade, and it's effecting my FTP service. I've let them know (and it's definitely their problem... and it seems to be a consistant problem, especially with those of us that use Geocities/Yahoo for our domain). So I'll go ahead and do a quick update, and just hope it eventually makes it to my site...

I'm still plugging away on the Lopi sweater. I'm at the yoke. The sweater is heavy and cumbersome. My arms are sore from lifting it so much. Now I know why the woman who originally was going to knit it decided not to. It takes some muscle!

In other news: Matt finially went to the doctor about his sore calf. We were concerned that he had torn a muscle or a tendon. The good news is that it's only a break. A very minor one (a subtle spirial fracture of the left tibia... ) so he's hoping he won't need a cast and can at least swim. He's very concerned about keeping his physical fitness/weight down during the recovery. We're off to see the specialist this morning.

That's about all I have to update for now. The blog thing is irritating me and if Blogger doesn't soon address the issue, I'm going to have to either publish on their server or switch blogging programs.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Think Spring!

Since we had our first kiss of snow (barely... just some light flurries last night), let's think Spring while we continue with the Year in Review of Projects:

Yet an other favorite all time project:

This cardigan is about as perfect of a project that you can get. It was a lot of fun to knit. I used a yarn that is machine washable and dryable. I wear it a lot!. It's comfortable, it fits well and it's a great color. You just don't get much better than that. The Spring Forward Cardigan is in the Spring 2004 issue of Twists & Turns designed by Janet Szabo. There is a knitalong going on for this one (recently revitalized by Tori).

I do have a "Fall Back Cardigan" on the needles (a wool version... Cascade 220) on the needles. I'll be concentrating on it after the holiday season. One, because that's the plan on the Yahoo group and two, I'll be teaching this as a class at Olde Peddler Wools in the spring. I'm using a dark burgundy yarn and it's going to look very different than the pink spring forward.

This project is also the epitome of my attitude about yarn. I don't judge yarns by the name brand. While part of me is a yarn snob, I don't judge the yarn based on who sells the yarn or what the brand name is. I judge it based on how well it knits, how it holds up and how the final project turns out. I've spent good money on crappy yarn, yet this inexpensive, "cheap" yarn is one of my all time favorites. I wouldn't hesitate to use TLC Cotton Plus again. So I'm stock piling it. It's a nice cotton/acrylic blend yarn that's been very durable with fabulous stitch definition. Next to skin soft with an interesting color range. It's great for baby/kids things... so why not for me!!!

So back to the Lopi sweater today. I'm really really hoping to have it done by the end of next week!

Keep On Knittin'!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Clever title #245

My To-Do list is finally starting to get a wee bit smaller. I finished up one of the big projects on my list and got my "printing" done (some calanders and my Christmas cards). I also was able to get the first sleeve done for the Lopi sweater. I'll cast on the second sleeve today and drop the calanders off at Office Max for binding.

So let's continue with the year in review. Today we'll talk about one of my all time favorite projects: Sam the Ram

This was my Olympic Challenge project. It was perfect for it. Just the right amount of time to work on. It was difficult to do (I had to actually read the directions) and it was interesting. I love the way he turned out, which is why he's now a perminent part of my blog. You'll also notice him pop up in background shots, as he happily sits on the mantle in my family room.

So yet an other successful project in 2006. I did get the Sue the Ewe pattern, but not sure when I'll get around to knitting her.

So I'm off to run some errands, cast on a sleeve see if there's anything else I can cross off my to do list....

Keep on Knittin'!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yet An Other Thrilling Post!

Thanks for the get well wishes. I believe they worked. I'm feeling much much better today. Being lazy for two days I think helped too. (Note to self: when Matt offers to make dinner when I'm not feeling well, review the menu. Spicey Indian dishes might not be the best choice when feeling a bit nausious...)

So anyway, hunkering down into my knitting nest has been very productive. The first sleeve for the Lopi sweater has only one increase to go, then just straight knitting until the end. Should get that done today, no problem. Then if I stay on schedule, the second sleeve will be done on Friday, meaning I can attatch them and start the yoke!

Since I'm feeling better, I'm planning on some sewing and "crafting" for some gifts today. I want to get something crossed off my to do list, just to feel like I'm getting something done. So I'm actually going to finish something today. No Matter What!

Matt's off to get an MRI this morning for his calf. The doctor said no more riding until they find out what's wrong. He'll probably be doing some physical therapy, but let's hope he's back on the bike soon.

Okay, so I'm feeling bad that I don't have any photos... so let's start the annual "year in review" of projects?

Let's start with the Cropped Cardigan Redux:

I was thrilled with how this project turned out. Just a quick background story. I originally did this pattern several years ago (and about 60 lbs ago) and the first one was just too big for me. I always loved the style and the fit. I thought I would completely change the look of the sweater by choosing a different yarn. The original was done in Bartlett's 2 ply Shetland. I chose Elann's Alpaca for this one. I was surprised at how well the cables worked out and it has a lovely drape. It's was a fast knit (the back is just straight moss stitch). I wear this cardigan quite a bit. (I know I'll get a comment about the pattern... it's from Paton's Canadian Living booklet and is out of print. Try Ebay... or keep an eye out for it to be republished by Leisure Arts... I've noticed that quite a few of the patterns from this booklet have shown up in some of their publications... oh and if you google the title, you'll just end up back here. I'll also warn that "Cropped Cardigan" is not an official name. Patons didn't name their sweaters then. It's just numbered in the booklet). So anyway, this was the first finished project of 2006 (but it was mostly done in 2005). I definitely got the year off on the right foot, as I love this cardigan!

Okay... off to see how much more I can get done in 2006!

Keep On Knittin!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's The Same Day Every Year

Yet I'm a perpetual procrastinator. Why do something today when it can be dealt with later?

So the first sleeve is cast on for the Lopi sweater. I'm still on the ribbing. I haven't stepped foot in my sewing room for almost a week now (well, that's not completely true. We had to move a couch up to it to make room for the Christmas tree) and I haven't crossed anything off my to do list.

Remind me again that I don't like making Christmas gifts...

Anyway, since I've got lots to do, wouldn't it be just grand if I came down with a stomach bug? So of course I did. Nothing horrific, but low grade fevers make me punchy (ya, you read yesterday's blog). Luckily I can still knit and that's the plan for today. I'll pop in a movie or two, snuggle into my knitting nest (covered in hand crafted afghans... it's freakin' COLD!) and plug away on the Lopi sweater sleeves. I think I can get both sleeves done this week.

In other health related news, Matt's finally going to the doctor's about his calf. At the end of racing season, it started bothering him and nothing he's tried has shown any improvement (including not biking... ya, that was a fun period. Think of not knitting for two weeks). So he's off to get a second opinion. Don't you love that he thinks going to a doctor is a "second" opinion? *cough*

Well, I'm off to crank up the heat, snuggle under the afghan and knit.

Keep On Knittin'!

Monday, December 04, 2006

WARNING: Most Exciting Content EVER!!!

So you've been warned. Check out this exciting photo:
Be sure to click on that photo for an even more detailed view. Dog hair and all.

Okay, if you need to take a moment to recover from the excitment I can wait. Take deep breaths to even out the heart rate. You might want to check your hair too. That kind of excitment can just blow you right out of your chair and I want to be sure you're okay.

Okay? Recovered? Let me honestly say it hasn't been that bad to knit. It's mindless so it's good movie/football watching knitting. I am plugging along fairly quickly on it and the yarn is just lovely to work with. Plus it could be a lot worse. Like a black fingering weight in stockinette stitch. (ya, I don't think I love him that much. He can go buy that sweater).

So since it actually hasn't been that bad to knit, I'm already thinking that it is nice to have a basic 2x2 ribbed sweater. Maybe I need one too. In hot pink! Someday!

In other knitting news: I'm also still plugging away on the Lopi sweater that I'm knitting on commission. I'm about ready to cast on the sleeves. Bulky does go fast! Only 20 days left before Christmas! Yikes, I need to get this done in 2 weeks.

So I've been working on an other pair of socks (yes, I know. Why not finish one of the pairs I've already started. Um. 'cause I don't want to?)

That's the Fearless Fiber yarn in Thoroughbred. Ya, the camera doesn't even begin to show how incredibly beautiful this yarn is. I'm not kidding when I say Deb dyes the most beautiful colors I've ever seen. Plus the yarn is just so soft. (go and look, I'll wait).

So what did you buy?? heehee
Oh, you wanted to know what pattern I'm using? Well, it's from Stitches of Violet and a nice basketweave rib. I love basketweave patterns and the subtle (yet gorgeous) colors of the Thoroughbred yarn really works well.

Okay, I have waaaay too much to do today. Really. (did you see where I said I had 2 weeks to finish a Lopi sweater... and dammit, why do we keep eating the food I buy. Now I have to go get more).

Keep On Knittin'!

Friday, December 01, 2006

I so do not have a problem...

I did get half of my sewing project done yesterday and I'll finish it up today. I swear.

I did knit a few rows on Matt's Because I Love You Sweater. I swear.

I did continue on the gusset decrease on the Pomatomus sock. I swear.

I didn't work on the Lopi sweater or any other project that I need to get done. Or any other gift on my list.

So what else did I do?

Well, I bought some sock yarn. Actually lot's of sock yarn.

It's well known that I stalk Etsy. Specifically Fearless Fiber's yarns.

I have two projects started with Deb's lovely lovely yarn. I've started a shawl in Saltwater Taffy and I started a basket weave sock in Thoroughbred. I love this yarn. Her sense of color is just beautiful and the yarn is just yummy.
The Thoroughbred yarn is a subtle tone on tone yarn that actually "glows". The way it's been dyed does make it look like a thoroughbred horse in the sunlight. Gorgeous!

So ya. I'm being productive. Buying more yarn. Starting yet an other sock (and I've discovered that once I turn the heel on a sock, I lose interest in. I don't even get as far to finish the first to even get to second sock syndrome).

I'll finish up the sewing project today, work on some other gifts (probably Matt's Because I Love You sweater) and try not to buy more sock yarn. Or cast on an other pair (here's the real question... for someeone that doesn't knit a lot of socks, where do I keep finding these size 1.5 dpns? I don't remember buying all these needles... maybe The Knitting Goddess WANTS me to cast on dozens of socks and keeps leaving sets of dpns around for me to feel obligated to have something on them... as it's well known how I feel about empty needles...)

Keep on Knittin'!

Edit added: I had to turn on comments moderation. I've been getting spam comments the last couple of days. So comments won't show up until I approve them. So sorry, but too many jerks out there.
Also Added: All the yarn is from Fearless Fibers (sorry I didn't make that clear!) Ya, go buy some. Before I do! BWAHAHAHA!!!!