Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stash enhancement: more Cal yarn

When I was out buying the prizes, I got suckered in. The store, Knit This, Purl That, was having a storewide sale - 20% off all yarn, and these two colors just happened to be placed in adjacent bins.

Longtime readers will know that I have grand plans to knit lots of Cal themed knitwear - scarves, hats, and of course a baby sweater for my baby like the one I made for our friends' baby.

So what if I still have 6 skeins of each color in Cascade 220 superwash? These were better colors - at least a better blue: deeper, more navy, and lustrous besides.

Does anyone know anything about this yarn? It feels and looks a little nicer than the Cascade 220 superwash, and it was $1 less for 10 yards more. All right, the next Cal Baby sweater goes towards the top of the queue....6 month size.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tulips sweater in progress

I took this photo on Monday at knitting group. I cast on Sunday night, while The Sweetie was working his precious butt off (grumble, mutter), and I have to say the Harlot was right - knitting this sweater is like knitting crack. Each color is only used for 8 rows, and you feel like you can knit the world!

When I took this photo, I had finished the first three colors (I replaced the two pinks in the kit with red, a.k.a. Lipstick Lava, and orange, a.k.a. Flamingo Pie) and had done one row of the light green. I did the entire light green section in an hour (and it only took that long because I divided for sleeves) at knitting group. Last night, again, The Sweetie was working, and so I picked it up, and finished the dark green, aqua, and blue colors. Only one more color band and the body is done! Well, there's the bottom border which is almost another color band, but still - this sweater is the fastest thing I've knit. (I feel guilty for taking such knitting pleasure from The Sweetie's having so much work to do!)

Then the sleeves (knit in the round) and trim and ties, and it'll be done. After knitting group on Monday, I ordered the kit for the Christmas stocking.

It's so pretty with all the colors, I can't stop myself from looking at it and admiring it every time I finish a row. I've decided Dream in Color is now my favorite yarn, because it is what I consider the ultimate in color - clearly they are solid colors, but with variation in it that gives it extra richness.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FO: Cal Striped Scarf

Cal Striped Scarf
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Friday night, The Sweetie was headed home and discovered that the freeway between his work and our home was closed due to an accident. A 40 mile detour later, he arrived at home, tired but safe. I happened to have gotten home before said closure. What did I do? I knit! In fact, I had just finished the bind-off when he arrived!

Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf, by Brooklyn Tweed
Yarn: Radiant Twist superwash merino, custom dyed, and Cascade Lana D'Oro, solid navy.
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 7.
Cast on: Italian tubular cast-on
Bind off: Sewn bind-off (is this the right name? The one that's only good for 1x1 rib) from The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques.

Notes: It was really cool how at the beginning, I got a sort of thunderbolt in the yellow migrating across the scarf. Then it got sort of wishy-washy (like my knitting). At the end, it started moving again like at the beginning - more purposeful knitting brought it back? Anyway, it was serendipitous that the ends match each other. Also, I wanted a tubular bind-off, and I thought I was using it, but it doesn't exactly match. That's okay, though, I don't think it matters.

I gave it to The Sweetie - it's been chilly lately, and he loves it. Best of all? It fits!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rainbow day

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I had thought all weekend how I had so much to show you, and took photos and everything! Now I get to sit down to blog, and I remember that while I snapped the photos, I failed to upload them. Gah. Tomorrow, a FO.

Today was a very rainbow day. I drove to work through areas of rain, but throughout it all the sun was out. I saw brilliant rainbows - straight huge ones coming down like sunbeams near my house, and brilliant double rainbows with reverse reflections in the valley on my way to work, and even a bright little rainbow that met the ground by the side of the road as I drove by. I didn't take any photos, though, because I was driving.

Need rainbow photos? Click here.

Oh, and I took the above photo at Moss Landing last last weekend. The coolest things we saw were these purple speckled sea stars. Can you see it?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Eye Candy Friday: tidepool, and Stash report

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I forgot what these things are called (anemone?), but we saw a bunch of them last weekend at Moss Landing. I stepped on some by mistake!

I thought I'd give a rundown of the stash level since last year. Last year, I had joined the Stash and UFO Bustalong, with the hope of decreasing the number of UFOs, and decreasing stash. I fell of the wagon once and bought stuff, but mostly kept the spending under control. However, I was very lucky and won lots of prizes.

Here is the stash enhancement, by category.

Stash enhancement as a result of prizes won, or gifts given to me:

  • 6 skeins of sock yarn - all won in contests

  • 6 skeins of laceweight - 3 from contests, 2 destashed to me, 1 given as a gift

  • 1 skein sportweaight yarn - won in a contest

  • 1 lb of silk - given in return for a donation

  • The Faroese yarn - given to me as a gift

  • 10 balls of Rowen linen drape - destashed to me

  • 1 skein of white cotton yarn - included in Dishrag Tag swap

  • 2 balls dishcloth cotton - included in Dishrag Tag swap

Stuff I bought:

  • 2 balls of sock yarn (STR for chevron scarf, and a sock kit)

  • 10 skeins Noro Lily (my indiscretion from the bustalong)

  • 10 balls Cascade 220 superwash, 12 balls Berrocco ultra silk, and 4 balls Debbie Bliss Alpaca silk DK - WEBS sale after bustalong ended

  • 2 balls Dishrag Tag cotton - the accounting is difficult here, but I bought one ball to practice with, and I think I bought one more ball than I needed for the swap.

  • 1 skein Malabrigo - souvenir yarn

  • 3 balls Shine Sport, 9 balls Swish Superwash DK, from Knit Picks

  • Tulip sweater kit

  • 2 skeins Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks

  • 6 Online Linie Solo - for ruffle scarves

  • 2 skeins variegated blue & gold yarn, + 4 skeins of Lana D'Oro - for Cal scarf

2007 acquisitions used up:

  • 2 balls dishrag cotton

  • 1 ball STR for chevron scarf (the one I bought - the other one was in stash already)

  • 6 Online Linie Solo

  • .5 skeins Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks

  • 2 blue and 1 gold Cascade 220 superwash

Previous stash used up:

  • 1 STR, Chevron scarf - the one that was in stash already

  • 1 skein Berrocco Plush (quickie hat)

  • 4 skeins Brazilia (fun fur) - for chemo caps

And January 2008 stash enhancement has begun! (I'll take photos this weekend.)

All in all, the stash has grown! I won 10 skeins of yarn in contests! So this year, let's try and keep it under control. I bought the Swish DK and Shine Sport in all different colors, to make baby hats and booties with. The Tulip sweater kit is next up - hopefully I'll get a start on it this weekend. I've overbought yarn for the Cal scarf - I'll have to make more scarves or something. And hopefully I can make something for my little one out of that Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks stuff. It's just too beautiful. Perhaps more focus on using yarns out of stash is in order!

Suffice to say, very little yarn needs to be purchased in 2008!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eye Candy ... Thursday?

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I woke up so wishing it was Saturday. Then I remembered it was a work day.

Last weekend, I stopped in at Knit This, Purl That, a LYS in Pleasanton, CA, where my in-laws live, to look for prize yarn. The owner said she'd just come back from somewhere (TNNA?) and made lots of orders, so the whole store was 20% off, plus selected yarns at 40% off!

I stuck to my goal of getting three handdyed skeins of sock yarn for my prizes, and decided on Karen's Heavenly Creations, a sort of local dyer who I'd never seen on the Internet. Plenty of yardage, and superwash to boot! Top to bottom: Confetti, Lady Fingers, and Blueberry Hill.

Congrats to Kathy, Debra, and Kris! I hope you like your packages! They were mailed yesterday and you should get them soon!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Someone else's contest

But you know how it works, right? If you enter and say I told you about it, then I get another entry in the contest. =)

Shut Up I'm Counting is having her blog post #444 contest, with lovely prizes to offer. Go over and enter! And say I sent you!

Saturday Sky on Tuesday?

Moss Landing Beach
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Thanks everyone for the encouragement on my (very, very modest) goals for 2008. I think I'll order the kit - but not until I'm almost done on the Tulip sweater (I'm replacing the two pinks with orange and red - very rainbow. The yarn has arrived - yay!). Then it'll be motivation to finish!

I actually knit a little on the Cal scarf - no photos, because it kind of looks the same - but it's definitely past halfway. Which is good, because it uses the same size needles as the Tulip Sweater. I could get more needles, but really - I think the better way to go is to finish the darn scarf, and start the sweater - again, motivation! I want to start the sweater, therefore knit on the scarf. This could become a regular FO parade!

Because the last thing I want to do is increase the number of UFOs and WIPs. Not to be strict (that's so like being on a diet) but I'm just being realistic. If I don't have time to knit a scarf, then I don't have time to knit a sweater either.

But my this week's goal is to finish the scarf so I can start the sweater in time for Monday knitting! How about that for motivation?

This photo was taken this weekend at Moss Landing beach. The Sweetie and I had a strategic errand to run in the Bay Area, and joined his family tidepooling Saturday before heading home. It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day. Although, truth be told, we agreed that we preferred our own local tidepools better - ours are a lot less crowded (and therefore less trampled upon) and you can see more closer to shore. We are so spoiled!

Friday, January 18, 2008

2007 goals / 2008 goals

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I have a list a mile long of things I hope to accomplish in 2008 (and those are just the crafting projects!), but I thought I'd start with analyzing the list I made last year.

  • Finish the Pea Pod twins sweaters. Done.

  • Red Scarf project scarf. Done. Turned out to be School Picture, not Obstacles.

  • Handwarmers for me and The Sweetie. Half done.

  • Felted slippers. Never started.

  • Another baby sweater for another one in the womb. Done, but late. Oh, and they were socks, not a sweater.

  • Socks for the Sweetie. No dice. (The Jaywalkers were completed in 2006; this goal meant another pair of socks for The Sweetie.)

And I've made no progress on the "projects in stash" list. I have, however added to stash, mostly by winning contests.

I did, however, finish all 4 of my most recent UFOs: The Possum lace scarf, Aran baby sweater, Baby bolero, and Green Gable.

My goals for 2008 (cut down to a reasonable list):

  • Tulip sweater for baby. I have the kit, and I plan to replace the top 2 pinks with orange and red (yarn on the way).

  • Christmas stocking for baby. I want to make this one. Should I buy the kit, or just the pattern and use another yarn, say Cascade 220?

  • Baby hat, and socks or booties for baby.

  • Finish UFO: Cal striped scarf.

  • Finish UFO: Tahoe lace scarf (scroll to bottom).

  • Frog Professoring sweater (scroll down) - it is way TOO BIG, and start on it again.

  • Make some more progress on the Lacy Stole. Dare I say, finish it? That would be a stretch goal....

So there you have it - 3 new small projects for the baby, and progress on UFOs. I'm really hoping 2008 brings stash reduction and finished projects!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

FO: Garterlac Dishcloth (for me)

The first FO of 2008! I've been trying to use my (limited) knitting time to finish up loose ends, as it were. The closest to completion was this - the garterlac dishcloth. I started it when I was pregnant and hadn't yet figured out that my knitting ennui was really "I feel sick when I knit". And I was tired all the time, too. So it took a really long time to finish.

It's the first dishcloth I've knit for myself, and I'm happy to put it into circulation. We've been using the dishcloth I received in Dish Rag Tag a lot, and when it comes fresh out of the wash, the garter stitch is really lovely and tight - it makes a really great scrubbing surface. I may never use another pattern! (Although I have 3 balls of solid dishcloth cotton in the stash, so it's possible some kind of colorwork dishcloth is in order....)

Pattern: Garterlac Dishcloth, from Criminy Jickets
Yarn: Peaches 'n' Creme Ombres, from Dishrag Tag
Needles: Knitpicks Options Circular, size 7 (steel)

Love this pattern! And so begins FOs 2008. I'm hoping there are a lot of (somewhat small) projects this year!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blogiversary Contest Results!

There's nothing like having a contest to bring out lurkers and new visitors!

I have to admit, the thing that I've been looking forward to the most since I started the blog, was having a blogiversary contest. I just love blog contests and have won a lot of yarn! (So many, I've in fact told myself that I don't have to enter every contest anymore....)

The random winner, picked by among 30 entrants, is:

Kathy B of Irisheyes!

In addition, there were two "secret" contests. The first, was blogger's choice of the favorites. (The blogger who got to choose was me.) For this one, I looked at all the entries and just picked my favorite. It took a while, and there were lots of impressive projects out there! But for me, the one I kept going back to to look at some more, was:

The other secret contest was a randomly chosen frequent commenter/blogging correspondent. For this, I went through a list of bloggers I've corresponded with via comments and responses to comments, and chose randomly. The random winner is:

Kris, the Knitting Wannabe!

I'll be contacting all of you to find out snail mail addresses so I can send you some goodies!

Thanks again, all of you, for reading my humble blog. I hope 2008's blogging will be even better than last!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Really old FO: Jaywalker socks for The Sweetie

I finally took a photo of these Jaywalker socks that I knit for The Sweetie. It was 2006, the year I picked up knitting again. After my knitting Olympics project, I wanted to make something special for my sweetie, and I chose the Jaywalker sock pattern. It looked like fun, and everyone, it seemed, was making them.

I bought some luscious Schaefer Anne at a LYS in Pacific Grove (we were on a weekend getaway), convinced The Sweetie that yes, he did deserve $24 (or however much they were) socks, and started.

Around this time I also ordered one of those aluminum stitch holder tube things that the Yarn Harlot mentioned. But I sent mine back after the aluminum edge CUT THE YARN not once, but several times. And, I had cleverly decided to knit both socks in parallel, from the two ends of the yarn (one center pulled, one outer pulled), in order to avoid Second Sock Syndrome. So, I had to repair the holes with tiny bits of thread cut from the cast-on tails!

In the end, though, I loved the socks, and I tried them on my sweetie's feet. He loved them. But they are too loose in the ankle. My sweetie has especially slender feet and ankles, and (what did I know?) the Jaywalker pattern, being on the bias, has even less stretch than regular stockinette. Le Sigh. So I'm not sure what to do with them. They've been lovingly laid on the bedside table for over a year. I finally washed them (to get rid of the dust) and slipped them into his sock drawer. Maybe they'll be used as house socks. Or maybe I could frog them and make some nice ribbed socks with them (there is a lot of yarn leftover). Or they could be passed on to someone with fatter ankles.

At least I finally took a picture.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Non-knitting FO: cat bed cover

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
The contest is still open until Sunday, January 13, midnight PDT.

When we returned from Christmas, we found the cat bed had been replaced with a pillow wrapped in blanket, with no sign of the cat bed anywhere. I phoned our catsitter and she had it - she'd washed it and was drying it. Admittedly, we hadn't washed it since we bought it (mumble) years ago, and it was thoroughly covered in cat fur (but flea free, as far as I know).

There was evidence that the cat bed had first been washed in our washer and dryer. Much cat fur in evidence in both machines. So we wanted to avoid this scenario again. (Yes, we were spurred to better cat stewardship by our catsitter.)

We went down to the fabric store and got a yard of fluffy fleecy stuff. The fun was picking out the pattern! We opted against the one with cute kitties on it (didn't want poor Fred to have bad dreams) and decided on the leopard-print stripe. I traced around the cat bed pillow, added a little, and cut out a big oval. Then I cut out two half ovals + 4 inches, for the back, so that they'd overlap with a big hole to put the pillow in through. I had enough to make two.

First I seamed the ends of the half-ovals. Then I pinned the half-ovals (overlapping) to the whole oval and sewed around the outside with the stitch length setting to the biggest (6 - is this stitches per inch?). I was thoroughly impressed with my sewing machine's smooth operation. (It hadn't been touched in over a year, I'm guessing, but didn't miss a beat!) Gotta love those old Singers.

I had enough fabric to make 2, so these can go into a monthly laundry cycle swapping them out for each other. Happy Freddy! We placed his cat bed in place with the cover, and he slept on it that night. Note we have never seen him sleeping in his bed (he usually greets us at the door) but there is clear evidence that he spends time there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Favorite 2007 FO: Possum lace scarf

Possum lace scarf
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
The contest is still open until Sunday, January 13, midnight PDT.

In fairness, I thought I'd share my favorite FO of 2007. After much deliberation (I love the Cal baby sweater and the pair of Pea Pod sweaters very much!) I went with the lace scarf I kept for myself. It's just gotten a bit chilly and I've been accessorizing with it (unlike many of my clothes, it still fits!). It's soft and warm without being suffocating. Yesterday I noticed a pull and when I got home I fixed it all up, good as new. It's really held its blocking well and the stitches and holes remain well-defined. And it's so pretty!

In fairness, I'm not entered into the random drawing. But you knew that. =)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Looking forward, Looking back (or, Blogiversary and a contest)

Recent purchases
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
Well, 1 year ago today, I began this blog. I quickly thought up a few names and found one that wasn't taken, and started my Blogger existence. I started with a humble entry and found I had lots to say - especially at the beginning, when I wanted to review a bunch of knitting I'd been doing while I didn't have a blog but read knitting blogs.

It's been a fun year - meeting more people through blogs (because now I have an address on the Internet), and sharing my blog with friends and family. I've met Rhonda, Kadiddly, and Inky in person, people I'd never run into casually. I've learned to take pretty good pictures with my camera, started a Flickr account, printed MOO cards to use as blog calling cards, and become the one in the family most versed in Internet community technology.

Looking forward, I'm happy to feel back in the swing of blogging again. In fact, I was a little sad my blogiversary came up so soon after the holidays, because I have so many blogging ideas in my head (which I'm sure will be gone tomorrow....) I'm looking forward to knitting more in 2008, especially baby items, and maybe even getting an early start on Christmas presents. However, I'm not going to push myself by joining any KALs or anything - just taking things as they come.

Thank you, all of you who read my blog, offering support and enthusiasm! It's so nice to get to know you through your comments and by looking at your blogs!

Now on to the contest! A while ago, I won a contest over at Brenda's blog, her pre-blogiversary contest, where I suggested what her real blogiversary contest would be. I like that idea so much, that I'm going to repeat it here.

What is your favorite FO of 2007? You can leave a link in the comments ON THIS POST to your blog write-up of it, or your Ravelry project page (blog write-up is better, because some people are still not on Ravelry), or create a new blog write-up of it. If you do not have a blog, write about it in the comments and link to a photo if you have one online, or consider starting a blog!

I'll give a prize to an entry chosen at random, and maybe other prizes as I see fit. The contest ends Sunday night, January 13, midnight PDT.

Note: Blogger has updated its software so that it permits people using other blogger software to include links to their blogs, so in most cases I will be able to contact you through your blog. If you do not have a blog, or do not think you have left a link to your blog, please check back to see if you've won. If you're not sure, you can drop me an email - click on "View my complete profile" to get it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

FO: Baby socks

Baby socks
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I finished these on the way to The Sweetie's parents' Christmas party. The Sweetie's brother and his wife were leaving to go see the precious recipient of these Better-than-booties (tm), and so I finished the second one and wove in ends, and (like a good blogger) took photos in the car heading up the 101 at 70 mph in the waning sunlight.

Pattern: Better Than Booties, Cable Rib version. This is one of the free ones downloadable from the Interweave web site. (pdf)
Yarn: Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, Kona superwash, colorway Moody Blues. Not very much. Maybe half a skein?
Needles: Size 2 dpns, Clover/Takumi.

The cable cuff was interesting - I unvented a way to do the 1x1 cable without a cable needle, without extra shuffling of stitches around. The heel gave me no trouble, although it was kind of a drag to have to refer to a section of a different pattern for the instructions. Also, I think I should have rotated the beginning of a round by 11 stitches before starting the heel (this was in the paragraph preceding the instructions for the heel), but ended up doing whatever rotating was necessary afterward. The cast-off creates a toe seam which is bulky, but they're not really meant to be inside shoes, so I lived with it.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my first blogiversary contest!