Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

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.

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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  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:

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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.

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Extra, extra, read all about it!

Vogue Knitting has all of their patterns on sale for $2.99 through Friday, February 11th.  Now is the time to get those patterns you have been wanting but not willing to pay $6.00 for!  Wahooie!

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Hi ho, hi ho, to JBW I go.

I swear, that place is the devil for me.  I can spend hours in there easy, just petting yarn.  I bought enough yarn to make Arielle and it is dreamy and I can’t wait.  Except the thing is that I have to.  Just having a baby, my mom has been making some nice comfy dresses and tops for me to wear while I heal from my C-Section and had me measure my hips and bust yesterday.  DEPRESSING.  And too big for the largest size.  So I could knit it on larger needles or adjust the pattern using percentages, but I have decided that will be my one treat for myself when I have lost some weight.  I have already lost 10 lbs. and it has been just 2 weeks, so I can’t wait to see what I can do when I actually get the OK from the doc to start exercising.  I love love love that top but think I will love it even more when I have a better figure for it.

I have a couple of other things on the needles, I am currently knitting Askel for my son.  I am about 8  inches into the body.  I am knitting that in a 100% superwash merino in a great royal blue.  I am omitting the stripes because I want it to be a little more versatile.  Little man is so excited about it and I am LOVING the neverending stockinette.  I know that drives some people batty but I can knit in the dark, at the movies, wherever and I don’t have to think and it’s so damn soothing.

I am also working on my FIRST shawl using Noro Kureyon Sock for the FIRST time.  I just started it tonight.  I bought the Noro today at JBW…it was on sale and I figured it was now or never that I would be able to see what the hype with Noro is.  It is scratchy as hell, which reading I had already expected it, so I didn’t want socks.  I figured a shawl would be good, so I am knitting Multnomah because I love the way Noro stripes with that pattern.  I am pretty excited about it.

I started a couple of other things but they are things I am really going to wait on.  I ripped out what I had already started for both other projects because they are more form fitting so once again, I want to be able to wear them and feel good so I am waiting.  I have been listening like crazy to the Stash and Burn podcast, and they were talking about Space Girl, and I have some gray Cotton Fleece that will look great with it, I think I am going to do it in a short sleeve to layer.  I figure that is something that can still work even if it is a little bigger.  Damn cute sweater.  So after I finish my son’s sweater, I am going to cast on for Space Girl.

I have also joined the Sock Stash Knitdown 2011 in the Stash and Burn Ravelry group.  My first project is going to be the Multnomah shawl that I JUST BOUGHT SOCK YARN for, but nevermind that.  I have a pair of socks on the needles, plus a couple of babies on the way that I am going to knit this cute sock and hat set for newborns, and I have some socks I just won’t knit socks with, so that’s where that will go.

I have also decided that when I don’t have a ‘thrown in my bag brainless knitting’ I am going to grab some of my softer acrylic yarn and circs and make a shit-ton of baby hats to bring to the local hospital.  That charity project warms my heart more than any other does, and it makes me happy, so that is something I can do to help and get rid of some yarn that I won’t be using for anything else.  Lots of my other non-baby acrylic is going to go to a local nursing home.  I am over the acrylic, have been over it, just haven’t taken the time to go through the tons and tons and tons of yarn that I have.  I really need to though, because getting rid of it is going to make me feel good.  I could keep maybe 7 or 8 skeins for the baby hats, and the rest is outta here.  Just thinking about it makes me feel better and less cluttered.

So anyways, that’s it.  I have decided that I am going to get 2 more books, and the new IK (the Spring ’11 one…it’s the best one I have ever seen, I ADORE it and want it right now), and I’m done with yarn and yarn-related purchases for quite a while.  I have enough knitting to keep me busy for ages, and I just want to start getting through it!

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Holy cow, an FO!

I finished the Gap-tastic Cowl.  I love it.  I used Ironstone Colorchanges yarn, which I had no idea what to ever do with.  But I am sticking with my resolution…using that yarn I have always been afraid to use because I didn’t want to ‘waste’..well wasting is letting it just sit and never be used.

I loved knitting with this, and as much as I abhor seed stitch I actually enjoyed it with this project, because the colors turned out so neat the way they changed as I went.  There were sort of long color changes, so a knit-in-the-round cowl was really a good way to go.  I knitted them on slightly smaller needles but cast on more stitches.  I wish I would have cast on even more stitches, and there will be another cowl in my future, that will be longer.  Probably 5 inches longer, preferably.  It does fit over my head like a hood though, which was my main goal.  I wanted something I could cover my noggin up when my ears felt like they were gonna fall off.

And PICTURES.  Do you believe it?

Excuse the re-re self photos, but I had just cast-off and was doing a happy dance because I actually FINISHED SOMETHING.  Love it.

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Knitting while under the influence.

I guess I didn’t stop to figure out how I am supposed to knit with the attention span of a gnat.  Percoset does that to a gal, I guess.  I did decide on a sweater, finally.  Strangely (ok, not so strangely maybe) I ended up picking something totally not on that list from my last post, but one I have been wanting to knit for quite a while.  Shalom!  Need I say more?  I am actually making it a cardigan, with either long sleeves or 3/4 length.  I am on my last of the 3 increases and twisted rib sections.  That’s when I think things will get tricky just because mindless knitting is my friend right now.  I am using the Berroco Vintage that was originally purchased for the Metro Cardigan, but it likes this project much better I think.  It is turning out beautifully!

I don’t know why I am bound and determined to not just knit this as the pattern states, and modify it heavily, but these are modifications that have already been used, so hopefully it will work out as I have it in my head.

Ig  haven’t hardly been doing any knitting.  Just a few rows here and there til my eyes are crossing and I pass out mid-stitch.  I will get some pictures when I get home, which will hopefully be tomorrow!

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Indecisiveness is killing me!

I have  sweaters worth of Cotton Fleece that I can use.  I have some other various yarns that could make me a vest or short sleeve pullover or cardy or something.  I am going to have surgery and will be off my feet for a couple weeks at least and I want to bring this knitting with me to the hospital and get going on something substantial since I will have the TIME.  I have spent about 6 hours total going through Ravelry, flip flopping back and forth, trying to decide if the Cotton Fleece is going to work for this sweater, or that sweater (my main concern is it stretching and pulling because of the cotton in it…it’s weight is it’s own enemy).  There are so many beautiful patterns out there, I just can’t decide.  I have (I think) narrowed it down to:



Sundrop Cropped Cardigan (a non-cropped version)

This version of the Tree Jacket (which I happen to have that same yarn, colorway for)

Primrose Path (love the assymetrical goodness in this, I just don’t know if I have a good yarn for it)

Olivette (if I could figure out how to knit this in worsted it would probably be my pick)





Dunedin Vest (love, LOVE, LOVE this – I am not sure I have the rght kind of yarn in my stash though)


Vine Lace Vest

Damned Twist Collective does not make my choices either.  They have so many pretty designs and it took me forever just to decide on the few that I did from there.  Then you have the IDP’s from KnitPicks, and the patterns from Webs…grrr.  It’s different when I am at home and can just dig through my books, mags, and yarn…but I think the reason I am SO indecisive is because what I bring I have to work on, or not knit at all, which will drive me nutty.  Granted it would probably be 2-3 days tops I’m there, but I knit every day.  I’m not much of a TV watcher and I think watching judge shows all day would make me crazy!

Right now Olivette and Sundrop Cardigan are at the top of my list, with Sundrop winning because I have SEVERAL yarns I know I have enough of to knit it.  Who knows.  In 2 minutes I might change my mind, so I will just stop now.

My brother’s friend that got the Vogue gloves received them today and LOVES them.  What a relief.  She actually lives in Central California, but is leaving tomorrow on vacation to New York (which I didn’t even know about!) and so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

That’s about it, really.  I have been listening to podcasts like crazy and just trying to stay off my feet.  I have a pair of socks I am working on but I haven’t knitted on them in 2 days because I haven’t been feeling so hot.  I will probably work on them some tonight (just a plain 2×2 rib, on the heel flap of sock #1) and probably get at least the first sock done before I go in the hospital.

That’s about it.  I babbled about all the sweaters I want to knit yesterday, I feel like that is all this post is about.  It’s all the knitting I have been doing the last couple days though!  Drooling in indecisiveness!

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