A Tale of Two Yarns

Now, up until the last year or so I have not really had the joy of experiencing some nicer yarns.  I have knit mainly with cotton, Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and various acrylics and not so great wools.

But then it came to my attention that I live near Jimmy Beans Wool.  Oh, woe is me.  This is a double-edged sword.  I go there and tell myself I will just pet the yarn, but invariably I end up walking out with something(s).  Listening to all of the podcasts I do, I have heard many brand name yarns that are quite popular.  So on my first visit to JBW, I think I did a lot of internal squeeing, and possibly some squee that made it out of my mouth.  Malabrigo, Cascasde, Debbie Bliss, Handmaiden…I could go on and on.  And don’t even get me started on the SOCK YARN.  I was in major sensory overload and my fingers were itching to throw all the yarn in a pile in the middle of the floor and just roll around in it, curl up, and fall asleep in the soft, fluffiness that are these yarns.  Good thing for the staff of JBW I have a little self-control.  Good for me too, I guess, since I would have become acquainted with the local PD.

I also seem to have had a lot of luck with thrift stores and yarn purchases, too.  The biggest paydirt at a thrift store was 30 skeins of various yarn for $7.50.  Classic Elite BamBoo, Classic Elite Cotton, lots of various wool…

So…I was glad that I had only spent 25 cents on each of the 6 skeins of Classic Elite BamBoo that I purchased.  There were 3 colors:  Light, periwinkle blue, black, and white.  I made a beret out of some of it, but still have quite a bit left.  That yarn is so damn splitty it’s not even funny.  Now, I don’t know a lot about how a twist in yarn works, or if it’s even possible with bamboo yarn, but some twist would have really helped.  I felt like I was knitting with 10 strands of sewing thread held together.  The blunt bamboo needle I used for it helped, but looking at that beret I am not at all happy.  There are little strands that didn’t get picked up with the needle, and I was very disappointed.  I love the drape, it is heavenly soft, but damn…splitty=sucky knitting experience.

On the other hand, I got some Ultra Alpaca in a beautiful rusty orange that I got from a destashing raveler.  The minute I received it I tried to figure out what I was going to make with it, and cast on.  This yarn is heaven.  It is so soft, knits up beautifully, has such great stitch definition.  I whipped that hat out in no time, and wear it all the time.  I have since bought some Ultra Alpaca Light in a gorgeous light aqua color as a gift to myself for losing weight – it will be the prettiest, softest sweater that I have ever known.  Just a little more to go and I will be casting on for that.

The interesting thing is that people still think that they have to go to a big box store to get yarn because they are on a budget.  Heck, I am a single mom, and on a massive budget.  But I have gotten Wildfoote sock yarn at a thrift store for $3.00 for 2 skeins.  Knit Picks, Webs, destashing ravelers, and even your LYS or online yarn stores.  There are constant sales, constant discounts that you CAN try the nicer yarns without breaking the bank.  Now, granted, I have yet to even pet cashmere because I know I will want it and I can’t get it, but I have bought Malabrigo sock yarn on sale, Regia Silk sock yarn on sale…if you take the time to look, you do not have to sacrifice your pocketbook for a quality yarn.  I know that I feel tons better giving a gift made out of a nicely made, soft, lovely yarn than I would Red Heart.  And it is so much more enjoyable a process knitting it too, when you are knitting with a soft fiber that gives you joy just looking at it.  There is a time and place for Acrylics, and they have changed much over the years, but for me, personally, I won’t touch Red Heart again after the exposure I have received the last year to nicer fibers.

Tags : ,

A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

First off, Ravelry is crack.  The groups are crack.  The pattern library is crack.  The End.

No, seriously…I have joined so many “…-alongs” that I can’t keep track of.  They are great ways to destash, but I am going to have to figure out a way to reign it in and make it more manageable.  I joined a sock knit-along group, but absolutely hate hate hate the pattern they are doing, so I am intentionally skipping out on that one this month.  I also joined a mystery hat knit-along group, not to mention the stashdown groups, and the ones for completely UFO’s.  Oi.  I figure I will crank the hat out in a couple days, get rid of some bits of yarn I have laying around, and I as soon as I finished the kiddo’s socks, I cast on for a pair of my own.  This will be MY first pair for ME.  The yarn is..eh.  The pattern I think is better suited for other yarn, but I want to use this yarn and it’s so highly variegated I don’t know that any pattern would really suit it.  So I will just do this pair with this pattern, and tell you more about that the further I get.

I have recently acquired 3 sweaters worth of yarn.  I didn’t think that I had any other sweater’s worth, but turns out I have probably another 5 sweater’s worth, 6 or 7 if you include all that pretty blue merino I bought for the munchkin that he can’t wear.  Here is my dilemma though.  I have always been a chunky monkey, yes.  But I have been losing weight like it’s going out of style, and kind of want to get at a better place for my body before I start knitting myself clothing.  By the time I finish up a sweater for myself, it wouldn’t fit.  And I will NOT just make sweaters in a smaller size, hoping my body is going to stay the same as it is proportion-wise, just get tinier.  So I read, and dream, and keep drooling over some of this yarn that I can’t wait to use.  I am itching to use it, but refuse to on the grounds that I’m a single mom, that money does NOT grow on trees now matter how much I wish it, and that I will be really happy if I wait to use some of this yarn after I lose weight.  So socks, scarves, cowls, hats, toys…looks like those are all in my knitting future for the time being.  I am hoping that cotton fleece will work for munchkin, since 2 of the 3 colors I have really would look so good on him, and give me something substantial to work on.

So that’s where I am.  Oh, and if you have been telling yourself you are going to go the gym, or you are going to go take a walk tomorrow, or whatever your excuse is…stop making it and JUST DO IT.  I feel so much better.  The weight coming off isn’t even a factor right now.  It’s the energy, the taking better care of myself in other ways that just comes automatically, and the kiddo coming up and climbing in my lap laugh giggling hysterically because my thighs hurt.  I love it all and just really feel so much better overall. So if you aren’t gonna do it for yourself, do it for your kids.  They deserve it.

FO: Regular Ole kiddo socks

My son loves being the recipient of knitting items.  I never, ever thought that he would dig them so much.

I started knitting him Askel, and I have since come to the realization that said sweet little man has a massive sensitivity to wool.  Askel was about 75% in a beautiful blue merino.  Yeah.  I still haven’t the heart to rip it out.  I have some cotton fleece I think he will be ok with…I think I’m going to make him a hat or scarf or something and see how he does with it.  So I knit him a pair of socks.  This is my 2nd full pair of socks and they went so much quicker than the first pair (4 days as opposed to 6 months)…and when I finished the first one a couple days ago, he took both of his regular socks off, and wore the single sock all the rest of the night.  He wanted to wear it to bed, too, bless his cute little heart.

So I finished them tonight, and he wore those around all night.  I told him he had to take them off if he wanted to wear them to school.  I can see that I am going to have to be making that kid some more socks, those are not going to last too long if he wears them as much as he wants to.  Which I will gladly do with no complaint…that smile is more than worth the hole I seem to put in my pointer finger every time I knit with tiny needles.


FO: Pasha

When I saw this pattern on Ravelry, I fell in love with it.  I loved the slouch, loved the lace pattern, just loved it.

Well, when I knit mine up, it didn’t slouch so much, even though I used the largest size.  I have a big head, and lots of hair, so I guess I should have known better.  I couldn’t love this hat more though, than I do.

Project Details:

Pattern:  Pasha

Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Colorway Candied Yam

Modifications:  None!

Thoughts:  I loved this pattern.  The lace repeat was easy to remember, and the yarn was a delight to work with.  This was my first time using the Ultra Alpaca, and I love the tans and browns and slight ‘other’ colors in this colorway, giving it a bit of a rustic feel.  This project was a quicky for me, and I just love it.  I really enjoy the look of the ribbing flowing right into the lace pattern, I think it just adds to the beauty of this hat.

Some more pictures:

Tags : , , ,

Friday Favorites: Personal Sock Favorites

Now, before I start my list of Top 10 socks, these are not necessarily ones that I have knit, but ones that I covet and are definitely on my list of to-do socks.  They are all pretty well known, well-tested, and well-written from the notes of others that have knitted these lovely socks.  These are in no particular order, because I can’t ever decide which I like best.

Here goes!

  • River Rapid Socks – very aptly named, it looks like 2 rivers intertwined, and I think it’s just a beautiful design.
  • Duckies – Nice lace ladders that just really caught my eye.
  • Nutkin – I recently got some Dream in Color Smooshy in the aptly named “Bark” with the intention of knitting these socks.  I sure hope that the yarn isn’t too dark to show off the beautiful design, but I am super excited about this.
  • Hermione’s Everyday Socks – I knitted these for my mother, and with alllll the other sock patterns out there, I would knit these again in a heartbeat…I really like how they look after having been worn, and they were easy peasey to knit.  Fun, easy, on-the-go pattern.
  • Diagonal Lace Socks – These are toe-up.  Intimidating as hell.  I try and try to figure the start out, but my eyes glaze over and I give up before too long.  I will master it one day though, because I do remember a day in time that I said I could never knit socks…and well, here I am posting about my to-do list for my favorite socks.
  • Charade – this looks like it will be great in solid, variegated, or self-striping yarn.  Very pretty and very popular!
  • Earl Grey – Yarn Harlot.  Man socks.  Classy, my FAVORITE man socks that I have seen to date.  Don’t need to say anything else, me thinks.
  • Clandestine – Cookie A love.  She is just amazing.  The rest are Cookie A socks…there really is not much else to say besides she is a sock goddess, and I really look forward into delving into her amazing books head-on.
  • Monkey
  • Hedera – This is the sock that almost became a pair in my beautiful Panda Silk, but since I am so anti-gauge swatching (which has to change), it never worked out.  But this pair of socks WILL BE MINE, and hopefully soon.

Right now, I would love to be knitting one of these.  But…the munchkin comes first and I am knitting him a pair of normal ‘ole 2×2 rib socks.  He is so excited about it, I would be an idiot not for it to infect me and make me want to get these done for his sweet kid feet.

Tags : , ,

Indecisiveness, much?

I am trying to organize this blog. Categories, tags, etc…making my head spin. I just want to get it figured out because as this blog is around for longer, and more active, the harder it is going to be reorganize. I am planning on doing some research on blogging and how best to organize it. I am a research freak. I like learning and like understanding things, although I do admit to flying by the seat of my pants. I do, on the other hand, realize when I am over my head and will look into things. I did change the layout. Next time the layout changes, it is going to be my own design. I really want to get all the administrative things sorted out before I get the creative part figured out. No point in making it pretty if it doesn’t work right!
I DO have an FO. 2 in 2 months…it’s amazing. I have really tried to knitting more. I have started and ripped several projects, I just feel like a deflated balloon. I got some great knitting mojo, I felt like, and then it seems like everything I tried doing was just bad juju all over the place…a train wreck, really.
I am going over to the folks this weekend with the kiddo, though, and am going to have mom help me measure myself. I have a few sweater’s worth of yarn on it’s way, and I plan on using Big Girl Knits to make my first sweater fit me. I realize that it is a process, and there is lots of learning, but I really feel that I have a good foundation to knit a good sweater for myself with this book. I am looking forward to it.
FO post tomorrow, my mom’s camera is way better than mine so I am going to use her camera tomorrow. All I have to say is that I loooooove it!!

Tags : , , , , ,


Follow my blog with bloglovin

Friday Favorites: Favorite blog post ever

I love Alana from Never Not Knitting.  She has a great blog, a great collection of patterns, and a fabu podcast.  But this blog post beats all others.  I think it’s just the cutest things, from the darling model and her expressions to the captions and descriptions…not to mention the DARLING pint-sized knits that Alana is oh-so-good at!

So, please check this post out to see just an example of Alana’s cleverness and creativity.  Her podcast and other blog posts are clever also, but this one just is a personal favorite!

Thank you, Alana, for the laughs, the creativity, and sharing your talent with all of us!

Tags :

Friday Favorites: Helpful links from Lion Brand

OK, yes, a day late.  The flu has knocked me on my butt.  I have most of a post sitting there for 3 days now that I have to totally redo because it doesn’t exactly fit context-wise anymore.  So I hope to get that updated tonight also, but for now, Friday Favorites!

I recently received an email from LB that talked about some helpful information they had on their site.

Yarn by Weight Class

Yarn Laundering Instructions

Dictionary to Knitting and Crochet Terms

About Yarn:  How much do I need to make a _____? (This link takes you right to the PDF version of this which is a little easier to read and ready to print!)

Of course some of it is LB specific, and they do hawk their wares on those pages, but it’s their website, right?  It still has some wonderful general information, LB fan or not.  And if you have ever worked with LB yarns, it gives you something to gauge the information with.

Thank you Lion Brand!

Tags : ,

The missing link – forgotten post

So I have been busy doing other things, like cleaning, reorganizing my stash that has seem to have gotten out of control, and taking care of my kiddo.  He was recently diagnosed with ADHD and we are trying to figure out a medication that will work for him.  He just started medication #3 over the weekend and so far, not so good.  His dosage is getting increased starting this weekend, and hopefully that will be the little bit extra he needs.  This has been a real struggle for he and I (and my mother, who is like his 2nd mother), but we know that it’s a process and I was forewarned it takes time and the first medication is very rarely the right medication.  So the search is on.

I did a little bit of shopping today.  I bought a couple of books I have had my eye on, a magazine that I rarely enjoy that I absolutely love this time around, and a few skeins of yarn.

The books I purchased were Big Girl Knits and Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders.  The magazine was Knitscene.  Seems Interweave has done something right lately, because I am SO antsy for the Spring issue to be available at JBW or a local bookstore, and I love love love the Knitscene (Winter/Spring 2011).

The yarn that I got was Panda Silk in a beautiful tangerine color, and the last clearance skein of some Soja yarn that is in the same colorway and dyelot as the last 2 I got.  I just ripped the sock I was making from that yarn, and am going to find a project in the One-Skein Wonders book.  There are several sock yarns that I have that for one reason or another I am just not digging for making socks, and being part of the Sock Yarn Stashdown with Stash and Burn, I want to get through those first.

I finished 3 projects yesterday.  Yes, 2 of them were little Mochimochi Hearts that took me no time at all, but they still count.  I used yarn and finished them, dammit!  The other is a beret that I made out of some BamBoo.  I made up my own pattern, nothing special really, but I love how it turned out.  That BamBoo is splitty as HELL though.  It irritated me pretty much the whole time, so I am glad it was a quick project.  The only other time I worked with bamboo yarn was when I made (WHAT THE HELL IS THE NAME OF THAT TANK?) and I made that out of Twize, which wasn’t nearly as splitty for whatever reason.  It didn’t seem to have as many plies.  I still remember it being slightly splitty though.

I am super excited looking through the One-Skein book.  I have several yarns that I can already see done with several projects.  I am still working on the Multnomah Shawl with the Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn, but I can see this is going to be one of those ‘in-process’ projects for a long time, that I work on in between other projects.  I haven’t even gotten to the pattern yet, I am still just trying to increase to the 200 whatever stitches that it calls for.  That’s ok though, I am still enjoying it.