Saturday, November 3, 2007

Where did October go?

Wow, I completely missed October. I guess I was just having too much fun knitting and not taking the time to write about it.
Let's start with mystery knit alongs. I decided to wait on the Halloween Mystery Shawl (Dracula's Bride) because after making the swatch, I realized that the yarn I had chosen was too thin for the size needles I was using. I couldn't go down a size because those needles already had a shawl on them. So the shawl (and GiGi) has to wait until I finish the Shaped Triangle Shawl (from A Gathering of Lace) I'm making for my mom for Christmas. (Hopefully she doesn't read my blog before I give it to her. On the off chance she does, I can't include a picture of it until after I give it to her. Bummer.)
So instead of the Halloween Shawl, I am participating in "The Secret of the Stole." I really like the pattern. The chart is very easy to follow. The pattern comes as a series of hints with one hint posted on the yahoo group page each week. To give you an idea of what it looks like:
Hint 1
Hint 2

Hints 3 and 4

Hint 5 is still in progress. I am having a great time knitting this stole.
I've also been knitting a lot of hats (does four count as a lot?). Because they are all also Christmas presents, I can't share them with you until after the holidays.
See you soon.
Happy knitting!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

So much knitting, so little time

I went crazy last week and decided to join the Halloween Mystery Shawl KAL. It's a group that knits the same pattern at the same time. It's called a mystery shawl because the person knitting it receives a clue (part of the pattern) each week for six weeks and no one will know what the finished shawl looks like until, well, it's finished (except the designer, of course).
The first clue was released this morning. Yay! Here is my swatch.
I'm making it in Knit Pick's Alpaca Cloud in Smoke Heather. It's very soft and soooo pretty.

I finished the Sun Ray shawl. I think it turned out well. It's very toasty and so nice to cuddle into that I think I'm in love. Don't tell Hubbie!

Also, I finally finished my first hat (and immediately started a second). It's for my friend, Karen. Just to let her know I care.
It's Coronet from Knitty, knit in Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. I say finally finished, because I've been working on it for nearly a month. I knit the band easily but then ran into trouble with the body of the hat. Then Hubbie gave me an awesome present for my birthday. The Knitting Workshop DVD by Elizabeth Zimmermann. The first project she covers is a hat and she made it seem so simple, that I picked Karen's hat back up and was finished with it in no time at all. Hooray for EZ!

Now, I can't go without mentioning the joy of having pets (please note the sarcasm). So I stumble out of bed early Saturday morning, fully intending to return as soon as I see which cat was into what. And of course I can't find them anywhere, and since nothing seemed out of place, I stumble back to bed.
And discover just why it is that I can't find the cats. They were apparently in cahoots with the dogs to keep me up. Yawn... sadly, it worked. (Please forgive Buster, it IS a candid shot.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Shawls, shawls, and more shawls

I've been on a serious shawl knitting kick lately. Ok, I may say kick, but what I really mean is obsession. I've knit three shawls in less than two weeks.
The first is made of Lion Brand Homespun (Fiesta colorway). The pattern is free on their website. It's the Easy Triangular Shawl. It was, indeed, very easy to make. With the large yarn size and huge needles, the knitting time went super fast.
The second shawl was made from Bernat's new acrylic/alpaca blend (Sky). Now, I'll tell you, it's a beautiful yarn. But... it sheds like crazy! I had hair everywhere, on my shirt, my pants, my chair. I even managed to shed on the poor kitties! I had to shake it for half an hour to remove most of the excess hair. (And it still sheds some!) I considered giving it to someone I really didn't like, but couldn't think of anyone I disliked that much. Instead I offered it to one of the people I like most, my sister Gigi. And she said that she would be perfectly happy to give the hairy, itchy thing a home. How sweet!
You'll notice that it's also made with the Easy Triangular Shawl pattern. I'm pleased to say that the world didn't explode when I used Bernat yarn for a Lion Brand pattern (Ok, so, I was a bit concerned when it rained frogs, but I'm sure that didn't have anything to do with me.)

The third shawl, for those of you who aren't asleep yet, was made of Bernat's new Bamboo yarn (Rosehip, Dill, and Water). I love this yarn. The shawl is warm, but not too warm. It's shiny, pretty, and oh so soft! I have decided that I love bamboo yarn more than silk yarn. I never thought that anything would surpass my love of silk, but there it is. Or here it is, I should say.

The pattern was a variation of the LB pattern above. Did I mention it was a VERY easy triangular shawl. I'm definitely keeping this one.

That, however, wasn't the end of my obsession. Not by far. In between knitting (and school, dang knitting interruption that it is) I've surfed the web looking for shawl patterns. Let me tell you that there are some seriously gorgeous ones out there. As I surfed I came across the glorious Sun Ray shawl at elann. It was so fabulous, I had to make one of my own.

I'm three and a half pattern repeats (of six) into it and only on my second ball of Lion Brand wool (Ocean Blues) . There are three balls left, so it's going to be a while until it's done. The pattern is fairly easy though, and I'm having a great deal of fun knitting it. Besides it's already beautiful.

Tea really wants to help me with this one. He has such good taste.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love and Knitting

Really, what is love? How can someone express it best? I like to knit for those I love. While I'm working on a project I often think of how much I care about the person I'm making it for and hope they will understand that it is a gift of the heart. Of course, I also find myself terrified that the person I'm knitting for will hate it. And will be nice enough to wait until I'm out of the room before disposing of it!
I admit that much of my knitting so far has been focused on myself. However, the longer I knit the more I want to knit for others. Lately, when a friend has problems (be they small or large), I find myself consumed by thoughts of what I can knit for them to let them know I care. However, I can imagine one day in the not so distant future when my friends see me knitting and one may say to each other, "Oh, honey, I didn't know your problem was "sweater" bad." Makes you wonder what sort of issues Maman's chihuahua was having.

The sweater is from Posh Pooches by Kimberly Hamlin. The little guy is barely four pounds, so I was quite surprised and pleased that it fit him.
I'm happy to say that I'm knitting my first charity project. It's a red scarf for (you guessed it!) the Red Scarf Project. I'm making Argosy (Knitty rocks!). It's a fun project, but in making it, I've realized that in order knit for charity you have to care about someone you don't know. And that, my friends, is why knitters are awesome. So many take the time out of their busy lives and limited knitting time to knit for strangers.
I'm knitting it with Lion Brand Wool-Ease so it can be machine washed. I'll post another picture when it's finished.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New York in the Summer

I admit it, I have mixed feelings towards New York City. Living here can be both wonderful and unpleasant on any given day. Hubbie and I moved here from Louisiana five years ago to pursue graduate degrees. We're still here because... well... we haven't finished them yet.
By far, my favorite place in the city is the Met. It's got a little something for everyone: paintings, architecture, fashion, sculpture, arms and armory, and, did I forget to mention, a whole section on fiber and weaving. The Museum of Natural History is also pretty good, especially the areas that highlight ancient textiles (and the Hall of Gems).
But my favorite part of living in New York doesn't take place in a building. It's the street fairs. Vendors set up booths and sell just about everything imaginable: food, clothing, housewares and decorations, etc. The street fair is a feast for all of the senses. However, once there you must also deal with one of the more um... interesting... aspects of life here. The shear mass of people.

This particular street fair was held in Times Square, so it was packed. But so much fun. Sampling food from multiple cultures, seeing clothing from all over the world, and the best part, looking at the fantastic knitted sweaters, stoles, and skirts being sold at various stalls (and in some cases thinking, "hey, I could do that.")

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dish cloths

My friend, Elle, recently moved into her first "truly on her own" apartment. After years of room mates, she finally has a place to herself. In order to celebrate this very cool life step, I decided to knit her some dish cloths.
All right, I'll admit it, she moved into the place over three months ago. I mean, how difficult can it be to make dish cloths? Not too hard unless during the time you're knitting them, you also knit a large pair of socks (huge, really), a belt, the sampler from Jaqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop, and 2/3 of a sweater. On a positive note, at least the belt was for Elle.
I finished the dish cloths yesterday.

I was originally only going to make the two in the background. They're both beige and will go very well in her (now not quite so) new kitchen. But then I thought, "What the heck, I'm not knitting much else, I'll make a third one that doesn't match at all!" I think she likes green...
The two in the background are in Lily's Sugar and Cream 'Taupe Twists', and the green one is in EPI's Peaches and Creme 'Shades of Green'. The Peaches and Creme was much softer, but more difficult to block.
Tea, anyone? Tea the kitty, of course.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Socks

I finished my first pair of socks this week.

A little bit about my knitting history. I grew up watching the women in my family knit and crochet, but I could never figure out knitting. A couple of years ago I finally figured out garter stitch. I was so proud of my garter stitch scarves, but couldn't seem to figure out that whole purl business. Then a year ago I met Elle. She became my knitting mentor and friend, despite the fact that she's nearly eight years younger than I am. Now I love knitting. I knit, I purl, I yarn over (sometimes when I'm not supposed to), I cable, I lace. I love it!
Back to my point. Despite having completed several sweaters, I was reluctant to try socks. I thought, "Socks? Who would knit socks? And why?" Unlike many people, my objection wasn't that they were so easy to buy from the store, it was simply, "why would someone knit socks when there are so many sweaters to knit?" (Did I mention I love sweaters?) But then it happened. Hubbie requested socks.
Now I've known and loved this man for quite some time. During that time I've crocheted and knitted sweaters, afghans, lap afghans, innumerable scarves, hats, purses, you name it, for lots of people, but he, poor sweetie, has received only one (yes, that is indeed the number one) homemade scarf from me. And nothing more. Now don't get me wrong, I would have made him a sweater in an instant (sweater curse be darned). But... Hubbie is a big guy. We're talking 6'5 type big. Making a sweater for him would be akin to making an afghan. I'm eventually going to do it, but I simply don't think that the making of Hubbie size sweaters and grad school would mix.
Then he requested socks. How he came up with the idea I don't know... OK, so I was telling him about the whole sock debate and it apparently gave him ideas. He said, "Why don't you make me some socks?" And I said, "Sure, Pookums sweetie, I'll start immediately." Only when it came out of my mouth it sounded more like, "What?!? Why? Are you crazy? Ok, fine, I will, but I'm going to complain the whole time!"
Now, sock knitters, please don't be offended by this response. Elle has shown me several pairs of socks she's knitted and I was considering trying to knit a pair, but you have to remember, Hubbie is a big guy. With size 15 feet. And this was my first pair of socks. It's like using a semi-truck to take your driver's license test.
But I did it. I used the Universal Sock Pattern from (thanks Elle for the recommendation)
It took me nearly a month, but I finished those bad boys. Here's a picture of Hubbie modeling his new socks.
Did I mention he has HUGE feet?
If you're still with me after all of that, I have a confession to make. I now understand what all the fuss is about. I love knitting socks! I can't wait until I can make another pair! Yay Socks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Kitty

We actually have two kitties. One, however, is the the joy and bane of my life. Chucky. He is a very sweet kitty.
He and his brother 'Tea' are neutered male Manx mix cats that my sister, GiGi, found abandoned as kittens. Rather than leaving them to the joys of the outside life, Hubbie and I drove them all the way from Oklahoma to New York to give them a home with us and a cushy indoor existence.
There are certain things you expect from a cat. Aloofness for one. Decent (read: small) size for another. But our cats couldn't do that for us could they?
First, they're HUGE! Tea is larger than our miniature Schnauzer. Chucky is only slightly smaller. It's like we have lions prowling the apartment!
Second, what happened to the aloofness? They follow us around more than the dogs do. Chucky is the cat food commercial cat. He climbs in my lap whenever I sit down (whether it's free or not) and likes to sleep on my shoulder. This position is not the most knitter friendly. Luckily he doesn't try to eat my yarn very often.
Lately, he has taken to coming to me and begging, not to be picked up, but begging me to come keep him company when he eats. It took a while to figure out what he wanted but I realized that every time he begged and I followed him to his food dish, it already had food in it. He just wants me to sit there and watch him eat. Which I of course don't do... very often.