Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Showing off the WIPs

Well, I don't have any FOs to show, but I figured I'd show off some WIPs. I actually only have three active WIPs on the needles. First up, Odessa:

This is my second Odessa, the first having been gifted to my mother. My sister really liked it and requested one of her, and since a request for services is a knitter's joy (or, at least, this knitter's joy) I'm happy to oblige. I'm using the same yarn (the one called for in the pattern), just in a different color. I still enjoy this pattern a lot; it is so simple to do (especially when you leave out the beads, as I am) but looks lovely.

Next up:

Can you guess what this amoeba is? Hmm, I think by calling it an "amoeba" I probably gave it away, since that is how it is so often described. Well, anyway, it is the beginnings of my first Baby Surprise Jacket. The pattern, of course, is genius. The yarn, well.... I'm using Patons SWS in Natural Plum. I love the color and the way the striping is going. But the yarn itself is very...un-yarnlike. It's what I imagine roving to be like - there is no definitive plying or "ropiness" (for lack of a better description) to the yarn. It's just really fuzzy. It isn't horrible to knit with, and the finished object will probably be pretty soft, but I'm not loving it. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that I'll have enough of it to finish this, so I may end up having to buy more.

And, finally, we have the Clementine Shawlette from the Spring 2007 IK:

The pattern calls for you to knit 2 identical pieces, which are then grafted together. So this is the completed first piece (I've started on the 2nd piece but am not that far on it, so it wasn't worth photographing). I really like this pattern. It's incredibly simple to understand and memorize, and the way it is set up there really is no need to count stitches - it is very intuitive where you are supposed to do the increases and decreases. Again, my issue with this project....the yarn. I'm using KnitPicks Andean Silk in Orange. For the first time, I'm a little disappointed in the offering of my beloved KnitPicks. This yarn, while soft, has a lot of, uh, stuff coming off of it. I'm not wise enough in the ways of yarn to explain what is happening, but there are little strings that come off the yarn, making it fuzz. So, for example, if I'm wearing black when I'm knitting this, I end up with little bits of orange all over me. I'm hoping that when I wash and block that it'll somewhat alleviate the problem. When completed, if I'm satisfied with the finished product, it will be a Christmas gift for my sister.

So, that's what I'm knitting. I have 3 inactive WIPs (Norberta, the dreaded Tie-Cropped Cardigan, and a pair of basic house booties). I think I'm going to officially take Norberta and the cardigan off the list - I'm just never going to finish them. The cardigan - well, we won't talk about that. And while I think Norberta is cute, I just was not having fun knitting it. I may decide to complete the booties someday (they would just be for me), but I kinda screwed up on the first one, so I'd have to frog it and re-knit.

Also, I officially did give up on MS3. I saw some of the final projects, and while I appreciate the detail and the intricacy of the pattern, it just isn't for me. So I bound off what I had and will eventually block it and give it to my daughter for her dress-up bin. Someone might as well enjoy it!

Friday, August 17, 2007

FO machine

That's how I feel right now - like an FO machine! I have yet another project off the needles:

Yarn: 2 balls KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Blueberry
Needles: US 10.5 straights
Modifications: Since the pattern calls for a chunky weight yarn, and I was using worsted, I had smaller bobbles. And while I didn't cast on any more stitches than called for, I did knit more pattern repeats (11 for Piece A instead of 9, and 10 for Piece B). Basically I just knit each piece until I finished up a ball.
This really is a great pattern. So quick to knit and with results that look more complicated than they actually are - thus, a great gift! And this will be gifted to my mother-in-law at Christmas. I think she'll like the color, and because I knit it with bigger needles, it'll be a little airier (she lives in Santa Fe and thus doesn't need the warmest scarf).
Now, I haven't yet blocked the scarf, so it will actually be a bit longer and wider than what it is now. Which leads me to a problem. I have 3 scarves that I've gotten off the needles recently but have yet to block (this one, my Clapotis, and the Branching Out scarf that I finished ages ago). I don't know why I am so slow to block - maybe because I don't have the greatest blocking space? Or maybe because I'm lazy? Ah, who knows. One of these days, I'll have a blocking extravaganza. I'm just happy to be starting another project - I actually only have one thing on the needles now (an Odessa hat for my sister). The horror! Must start additional project...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Clapotis finished

Pattern: Clapotis from Knitty
Yarn: Hill Country Yarns Merino Silk in Indian Summer (3 full skeins and just the tiniest bit of a 4th)
Needles: Size 8 KnitPicks 32" circulars
While I originally bought this yarn to make the Clap for myself, since I was so kindly gifted one from Knit Mongrel, this one is going to be gifted (a Christmas gift for my mom). And since I have so much of the yarn left over (practically an entire skein), I'm also going to make the Clapotis hat.
I really enjoyed knitting this. It took me a while, since I was knitting many other things in the meantime (namely, the now defunct mystery stole 3), but when I was knitting, it went by pretty quickly. And the yarn is truly a joy to work with. My mom really like the Clap that Knit Mongrel made for me, so I think she'll be happy with this. I'm not entirely sure what she'll think of the colors, but I think if I give her the hat to go with it, she might be more inclined to wear it. And the colors are rather like sari colors, so I think she'll like that, too.
Oh, and by the way, I went to Stitches Midwest on Saturday (with Knit Mongrel and Knitdds) - holy schmoley, the yarn! And I am amazed to say that I walked away with none of it (as did Knit Mongrel - Knitdds was not so restrained, but she got some beauties that were definitely worth it). The really fascinating thing is that there was also a comic book convention or some such at the Rosemont Center, and as we were driving in, we saw a Boba Fett and Darth Maul. Crazy. Although certainly crazier would have been Darth Maul knitting himself a light saber cozy. Now that would've been a sight to behold!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I knew I married him for a reason!

My husband has often teased me for my knitting habit, calling me grandma when he sees me curled up on the couch watching TV with my knitting on my lap. He has rolled his eyes with other knitter spouses when my knitting pals and I have gone on endlessly about fibers and patterns.

But although he may not understand my knitting/fiber addiction, he apparently is willing to feed it. He was in Santa Fe over the weekend visiting his mother, and he actually made a trip to a yarn store. And not only did he get me yarn (oh, boy, did he get me yarn!), but he got me the most gorgeous yarn ever! Stuff I would have drooled over but probably not actually purchased.

He's a good man.

Let me show you what I got!

This is Sirino from The Great Adirondack Yarn Company (which is somewhere between lace and fingering weight) in Black Violet. It is 50% silk/50% merino, and there are 675 yards of it! The picture doesn't capture the color well; it's a great mixture of black and a beautiful purple (my favorite!).

Then we have this:

This is Boomerang by Fiesta, which is a worsted weight, 100% extrafine superwash merino, in Abalone. He got me 2 skeins of this, at 320 yards/skein.

Finally, there's this:

This is Kiki, also from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company, and it is a worsted weight 50% alpaca/30% silk/20% merino. The colorway is Trillium. I have 4 skeins of this, at 250 yards/skein. I can't even begin to describe to you how buttery soft this yarn is. Ooh la la!

And here I thought I'd do a little yarn freeze until I had knitted up some of the many projects on my list! But if I'm going to melt a yarn freeze, might as well be will some of the nicest yarn I've ever owned! Since my wonderful, thoughtful husband gifted this to me, I am determined to make sure that whatever I knit with this stays mine! So now the question is - what do I knit with this?

I'd like to do a lace stole/shawl with the Sirino, but I need something that won't get lost with a multi-colored yarn. Knit Mongrel, didn't I see some time ago that you were doing the Baltic Sea Stole? Do you like the pattern? Of course, I have no idea how much yarn that pattern calls for, but I feel like I can do something pretty respectable with 675 yards. I, of course, also have Victorian Lace Today to look through, but since almost all of those are pictures in solid colors, it's hard to tell if a variegated yarn will work well with the patterns.

I have plenty of the Kiki to knit another Clapotis, this one for myself. Of course, I already have a lovely Clapotis gifted from Knit Mongrel, so I don't really need another one. And I have absolutely no idea what to do with the Boomerang. So, people, any suggestions you might have for projects will be greatly appreciated!

Man, it's times like this when I really wish I had my Ravelry invite.

Monday, August 6, 2007

And so it goes

Well, as anyone who's doing the MS3 knitalong knows, the theme was revealed last week to be a Swan Lake thing. So the finished stole is supposed to be asymmetrical, to be in the form of a wing. My first reaction when I read the theme and saw the rough design of the finished project was, uh, pretty much that I didn't like it. The designer did give an option to make the stole symmetrical, but because I opted to do a shorter version of the stole (since I had to frog the whole thing a couple of weeks ago), following the instructions for a symmetrical stole would result in the world's shortest stole. And while I could probably figure out how to add some length to it, I'm not sure that it's worth it. I'm just setting the project aside for now, figuring I can always go back to it later if I want. But at this point, I'm more inclined to just call it a day and use the remaining yarn for something else (I don't think I can salvage and reuse what I've already knit, since the bamboo yarn I'm using is so splitty). Like I said, I'll let it sit for a while before I make any drastic decisions. In the meantime, I certainly have enough other projects on the needles.

For example, I have my Clapotis. I'm almost finished with the straight row section and am about to start the decreases. I'm so sorry I haven't posted any pictures of it, but the yarn colors are difficult to photograph well (particularly when your photography skills are menah menah). I also started an Odessa for my sister, but this is my train knitting project so it's going slowly (since I only need to take the train to work once a week - yeah, I have a really good part-time setup). Then this weekend I just cast on for a Bobble Blue Scarf. I'm enjoying this pattern so far, and it's a really quick knit so it shouldn't take me too long to complete (although I think I'm going to try to finish the Clap first, since that's been on my needles longer).

All of the above WIPs are projected Christmas presents. Yes, I'm planning my Christmas knitting this far in advance. There's no way I'd come even close to completing the gifts I want to make if I hadn't already started. Plus, I'm not much in for summer knitting, since summer knitting for the most part appears to be garments, like summer sweaters and tanks. And my experience thus far with these types of projects has not been productive. So for now, I'll stick to scarves and socks and hats.