August 30, 2008


This week we are having a guest come to visit, which meant that I needed to dig the guest bed out from under my stash.

What? Are you saying that your guest bedroom doesn't look like this?
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Obviously it was high time for some organization. Dye supplies all went in the kettle, spinning tools all were gathered together, and knitting notions were bagged up and organized. All that was left, then, was the little matter of the actual fiber.

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If you go back in time to about when I started this blog - roughly a year ago - you'll see that I claimed not to be a stasher. Ahem. Let's just say things have changed.

All things considered, my stash is still a very reasonable size. It fits on a coffee table! So despite the husband's comments about yarn being everywhere, it really isn't all that bad.

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I separated the yarn into categories and now it is nicely binned up. I had probably a little too much fun in this process, but it feels great to know what every inch of my stash looks like. And here, I present it to you.

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Glory of glories, the sock yarn.

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My worker-bee yarn, Dale of Norway. Falk in the top row, Baby Ull for the rest.

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My handspun. And home-dyed, for the three on the left.

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Stash bits destined for whole projects.

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Odd balls and leftovers.

See? Not so bad, right?

Oh, right. I forgot this:
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My spinning fiber stash.

Tidying up my yarn and supplies felt like a great way to usher in fall - I welcome days of falling leaves and wooly warmth. Yay, sheep!

August 28, 2008

Mitten Swap!

I am participating in my first ever swap. Margaret (from lotsofyarn) let me know about this fun mitten swap, hosted over at Swap parteners get assigned mid-September and the final packages are sent off at the end of November. Packages include knit mittens, but also goodies. And who doesn't love goodies? (Remember that when I got into the Wollmeise sock club at least some part of my joy was at the thought of getting surprise goodies in the mail. Yay surprise goodies!)

To get to know (and get to be known by) swappers we're all posting answers to the following questionnaire. Perfect activity for a rainy afternoon like today.

How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?
I learned from family when I was really young. Young enough that I can't remember whether it was my grandmother or my aunt who taught me. I've knit on and off ever since, mostly picking it back up as a teenager and having spurts of intense knitting (esp. the past year.)

Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Hmmm. Advanced intermediate? I feel like there is always more to be learned.

What are your favorite colors?
Blue-green. Green-blue. Green. Blue. (see blog banner.)
I also like red.
(and really, most colors. Bright colors, neutral tones, jewel tones, whatever!)

Any you dislike?
If I had to pick one, I'd say purple. And maybe orange. But that's just by themselves. When they are combined with other colors I tend to love them every bit as much as the beloved blue and green. Orange I even like by itself.

Do you like Latvian type patterns?

If so, what are your favorite patterns?
I'm not choosey. I like them all. I also really like Norwegian mittens.

Do you desire mittens for yourself, your "special someone else" or your child?
Me, me, me!

What is the measurement from your wrist to the tip of your longest finger?
Seven inches.

What is the circumference of your hand at it's widest point?
7.5 inches.

What other things do you enjoy knitting?
Socks, sweaters, scarves, hats. You name it, I'll knit it.
Except for blankets. I won't say never, but just a lot. Lot of rows, lot of stitches. Lot.

What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum)
I tend to use addi turbo circs for just about everything, but I'm open to new ideas. I stay away from bamboo since it slows me down.

What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make?
Monkey socks!

What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with?
Oooh. Lots. Regia and Trekking XXL sock yarns. Socks that Rock. Can you tell I have a sock yarn problem?

What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden? Cook?
Yes. All of the above. Oh wait - sewing intimidates the crap out of me. I don't sew.
Okay, mostly my husband cooks. Is eating a hobby?
I also play music (folk and classical) for fun. And I like to dye fiber. And hunt for wild mushrooms. And I'm learning to play softball. And I think I have too many hobbies. Okay, not really. Hobbies are fun.

Besides yarn, do you collect anything?
I don't think so! Unless books count and I don't think they should because they are mostly work books and that doesn't feel like a fun kind of collecting.

What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty?
Yes. A good mix of both is heaven. Chocolate is the ruler of all things, though. I also love sour things and licorice. And crunchy things. Mmmmm things.

Anything you hate or are allergic to?
Can one "hate" tea? That seems a little strong. I'm not a tea drinker. One or two cups a year will do me just fine.
And I've never been into those little crunchy pretzels.

Do you have any kids? Pets?
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That's Milo. He's my boston terrier lovebug.
No kids, yet. Milo is very patiently playing along with being the pretend baby.

What is your favorite part of Winter?
Snuggles, being inside when it's cold outside, stepping outside and feeling the sting of the cold air in your lungs, snow!!!!, the excuse to knit, the hearty food, the family time.

What is your least favorite part of Winter?
Commuting in icy conditions - brainfreeze! (I ride a Vespa) Stinging legs during walks with Milo.

Can't wait for the swap to start!

August 27, 2008

Tangled Yoke photos

After an overnight blocking and the attachment of buttons, the sweater is now ready for its closeup. (the buttons at the top are gapping a bit. grrrr. It isn't bad enough that I'm ready to jump into the grosgrain solution, but I may look into some little snaps just for between those buttons.)

Warning: an indulgent number of photos of the sweater are headed your way.

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August 26, 2008

FO: Tangled Yoke

And just in time for my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Sis! I hope you like your sweater! It'll arrive in the mail in a couple of days - after it has dried and buttons have been sewn on.
(I'm also hoping that my new flash card arrives tomorrow so I can give this thing a proper photoshoot before sending it off. Damned little camera can't do knitting justice!)

Here it is, pre-blocking and pre-buttons. I suspect it'll look a lot tidier in 24 hours or so.
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FO tangled yoke 004
(my sister is a handful of sizes smaller than me, so it won't look so, ahem, strained on her.)
(notice the crazy hair? That's because when I got up today I thought I only had an hour or so left of work to do on the sweater so I figured I'd crank it out and then shower. And now? It's 6pm and I just finished. More on this below.)

Pattern: Tangled Yoke, by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Herb
Needles: Addi turbo sizes 4 and 3
Mods: none!
Date started: 8/8/08 (Olympics opening ceremonies)
Date completed: 8/26/08 (i.e. today. and my sister's birthday.)
New skills learned: Three needle bind-off. I think I'd done it once over five years ago, but it's like new to me now. What a great way to make a doubled collar - knit it to double length, fold over, and bind off to a row of stitches that you've picked up from the wrong side. Awesome.

Note: this sweater takes the cake for an object knit in the most locations, at least for me. It started in Switzerland, continued in Seattle, and finished in Virginia. And grew significant amounts in the air above/between these places.

It's DONE! Finally done!!
Okay, maybe finally isn't the right word since I've been working on this sweater for a grand total of 19 days, but the last stages of the work took so much longer than I expected that I feel like I earned "finally."

I have a favor to ask of you all. Whenever I'm approaching the end of a sweater, say these little words to me: "the finishing will take longer than you think." When I protest and say, "no, no, this is a yoke sweater - all I have to do is graft the underarms. Easy peasy" gently remind me that buttonbands are neither easy nor peasy, and that as long as I insist on weaving in my ends at the end of a project I'm going to be investing some time in my project after the bind off. (yes, I really do need to start knitting my ends in. Maybe I'll try that on a swatch next.)

And no, I did not meet the Ravelympics deadline. I also didn't finish it in time for my sister to actually GET her birthday present on her birthday. Sigh. But! I finished a sweater in 19 days - that's something worth celebrating, I think!

The sweater is soaking right now and will wet block overnight. I'll take a closer look at it tomorrow, but for now I'll say that I'm really happy with how this came out. It'll suit my sister well and hopefully keep her warm and snuggly in her new damp and chilly temporary hometown. The cable was a delight to knit - such fun to watch the arms snake in and out of each other! The rest of it was knit mostly while multi-tasking so I have little memory of The Stockinette Expanse.

And now it's time for a beer.

August 25, 2008

Wollmeise sock club

I'm in I'm in I'm in I'm in!!!!!! SQUEAL!

(deep breath)

Okay. Anyone remember how excited I was when I got my first (and so far only) skein of Wollmeise sock yarn? Well. Now I'm getting a bunch more!
The club works like this: I pay a boatload of money to Claudia, the genius dyer behind Wollmeise. Then, through the course of the next nine months or so, I get four shipments of yarn. Two skeins of her delectable sock yarn, plus a pattern, and some other goodies. The yarn she sends will be new/limited edition colors and a total surprise.

The entry to the sock club was a lottery. More people wanted in than Claudia could admit, so our names went into a pool, and by sheer luck mine was among those drawn! Hurray!!

Let me remind you: Wollmeise yarn is hard to get. So now, I have saved myself a bunch of time! (yes, I'm rationalizing.) No more stalking updates. I'm set for sock yarn. I just happily await my deliveries and roll in the yarn when it gets here.

Most of all, this comes as a treat for myself at a time when I really need it. I don't talk about personal stuff here because it's my knitting blog, not my whining blog, but it's been a tough year for me. A really, really tough year. Just the thought of getting a package of yarny treats lifts my spirits and right now that alone is worth the cost of admission.

Hurray for yarn!!

August 23, 2008

Final Stretch

Time to dig in for the final stretch of Ravelympics 2008.

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I have a bit over an inch of the yoke knit and just finished swatching the cable. Swatching, you say? At this stage? Who has time for that? Not me, obviously. But I also don't have time for ripping back, so my hope is that the magic of the swatch will prevent that.

I have two days of basically uninterrupted knitting ahead of me, and while it looks like I won't make it in time for the closing ceremonies and thus not an official Ravelypmics success, I WILL finish it in record time for me.

August 20, 2008

Because there is never enough sock yarn.

Do you have a "home" yarn shop? The shop that, no matter how impressive others are or how your yarn needs grow and change, always feels right to walk into? That yarn shop for me is Acorn Street, in Seattle. The wooliness of the place is wonderful. The hefty Dale of Norway collection alone captures my heart, and now they've started carrying Rauma too! And Kauni!!

So after a solid hour of drooling and fondling the pretties, I left with this:

lornas laces

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Camouflage colorway. Happy sigh.

I've been cranking along on the Tangled Yoke, with one sleeve down and the other halfway done. Aaaand the deadline looms. Eek.

In other news, the memory card for my good camera has bit the dust, so for the short-term future the pics in here will less than fab. Booo!

August 12, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

I'm home. For the next, oh, 28 hours. I'll be gone for almost a week for this next round, and probably without much internet access. No daily Ravelympics updates! Gasp!

I've been having a great time knitting the Tangled Yoke cardigan. It was perfect brainless plane knitting, so I churned out some stockinette while watching terrible movies.

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About 20 more rows and I'm ready for sleeves. Woo!

Before my trip to Switzerland I had a few hours to kill in the DC area so, of course, I picked a yarn shop to explore. Nature's Yarns in Fairfax turned out to be the most convenient, and boy did I luck out! It was a SUPER friendly shop with droolworthy yarns. I picked up some needles I needed, plus a small chunk of silvery alpaca/silk roving so I can experiment with spinning something other than wool. (not that I'm tiring of wool at all - it just seems like good experience to have.)
I also got this gorgeous sock yarn from Misty Mountain Farm.

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Hm. The color isn't quite right in the photo, but oh well. It's called "Sandalwood" and has great golden and reddish tones. It'll make awesome man socks someday. And at 400 yards I can make socks for big man feet without worrying about running out.

Oh. And there's a great pho place just a couple of doors down, so I scored some Vietnamese soup noodles too. YUM. If there was one kind of restaurant I could bring to Charlottesville, it'd be a pho place.

August 10, 2008

Ravelympics update

Today was Day 3 of the big event, and I've made some decent progress on the big project, all things considered.

First things first: what is the Ravelympics?
Chances are that if you don't know at this point, you don't need to. But in case you have stumbled into my knitting blog from some kind of non-knitting lifestyle (repent!) and actually have interest in the strange habits of knitters, I'll summarize. A whole bunch of knitters from Ravelry (the huge online knitting community/database/timesuck/lifeblood) are challenging themselves to knit a project during the course of the 2008 Olympics. 17 days, 1 project.
There are, of course, events. I am participating in the Sweater Sprint, and as much as I'd love to place in the Sock Put, I couldn't handle the necessary crosstraining.

So. With the end date of the Olympics being Aug 24 and the birthday of my sister being Aug 26, it just made sense to Sprint a Sweater for her. My sister has a classic sense of style and with such a short timeline I needed a simple(ish) pattern. Enter Tangled Yoke, by Eunny Jang.

It will require some persistence and a little bit of crazy eye in the last days, I'm sure, but I think I have a chance of success. Here's where it stands now (please forgive the awful photo - I'm away from my (good) camera and it was either this or complete flash wash-out fest!)
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That's five solid inches of garter rib for the bottom of the sweater. Tomorrow, I cross the Atlantic and hope to grow some stockinette stitch body on the way.

But for that to happen I guess I'd better go get some sleep. Athletes need their rest.

August 8, 2008

August 6, 2008

Scheduled Knitting to Resume Shortly

I'm a bit tied up by the sheer gorgeousness of Switzerland.

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But I can't stay away from the needles too long... the Ravelympics start this Friday and I have a sweater to knit! More on that later.

August 2, 2008

FO: Shawl Collar Vest


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And I love it!

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The Stats.

Pattern: Shawl Collar Vest by Amanda Berka
Yarn: Classic Elite Princess (on sale! woowooo!)
Needle: Addi turbo US 7
Mods: None!
New skills learned: sewn bind-off. Yay Elizabeth Zimmerman!

What a great little pattern! The construction is so incredibly simple. Knit a big rectangle with ribbed edges that have twice as many stitches. Fold in half and sew up the ribbed edges. Wear. Sweet.
The folded construction makes the back do a little flappy thing around the armpit area, but I think with some adjustments in how I wear it it won't bug me.

Yay! I made something for myself! That I LIKE! And will wear!!!

August 1, 2008

Wow. Twist Collective. Just, wow.

Groups of knitters are powerful. Groups of knitting designers, maybe even moreso.
I am stunned by the premier of the online knitting magazine, Twist Collective. With the creativity that goes with the craft, I really shouldn't be so shocked, but I am. This is some seriously good stuff.

What's so cool about Twist Collective? The articles are free. Copious (lovely) photos of (outrageously awesome) patterns are free. But if you want to get a pattern, you pay. Per pattern. And then? The designers get paid well. And that rocks.

The other cool thing about the Twist Collective is the sheer kickassness of the patterns in the premiere issue. Many of my favorite designers are involved, and my jaw dropped open several times as I flipped through it. And then I bought some patterns.

Bravo, Twist Collective!