Yeah, remember that one? Yup, it's time to continue the neverending attempt to get all my FO's written up...
Jade Sapphire Cashmere-Silk 2-ply in robin's egg 19
US #6 Addi Turbo Lace 32" circulars
In progress shots:
Yeah, remember that one? Yup, it's time to continue the neverending attempt to get all my FO's written up...
It's lovely to go away, but sometimes it's nice to have a few things to look forward to upon returning home. A few hitherto unconsidered benefits to our home:
1) It is NOT home to hordes of tenacious and single minded large black ANTS!!!
2) It IS home to our beautiful queen size mattress
Ok, we have been made aware of 2) before. The downside to having a really amazing bed is that even nice hotels generally can't match it. The upside is, well, I think my single piece of advice to newly weds since purchasing the mattress shortly after we got married is... get an awesome mattress! Matrimonial harmony will surely follow as all enjoy a good night's sleep. Our mattress has individual coils or some such thing which means that movement in one area of the mattress does not get transmitted to other areas. Even if one spouse tosses and turns, the other can sleep in blissful unawareness. Come to think of it, this can be annoying, leading to conversations such as:
Me: I couldn't sleep last night so I got up in the middle of the night and watched old Sex and the City episodes
Hubby: I didn't notice at all.... I mean, I really missed you!
Me: I couldn't sleep last night so I got up in the middle of the night and watched old Sex and the City episodes
But all in all, totally worth it!
As for 1) and the ants, well, we got used to it, so used to it that even though we've been home for several hours, I keep expecting to see a stray ant cross the periphery of my vision... overall, it was very buggy in the Poconos. It was only a few steps up the ladder from camping. But at least the mosquitoes stayed away and there was of course the whole aspect of it being totally and utterly gorgeous and a lovely getaway.
We escaped the city on Thursday night and by the time we arrived, it was chilly enough that quick use of the gas fireplace in our cabin was not totally ridiculous...
...and the next morning, we wasted no time hitting the lake, which was only a few steps, literally, from our cabin.
Our cabin, the woods and the lake, all viewed from my knitting spot.
Hubby of course was there for the fishing...
...which as you've seen from my multiple posts, left plenty of time for knitting...!
(By the way, in case you're wondering what's up with the one post per photo thing, well, when I post from my iPhone via Flickr, it's the only way I can.)
I had started my first (and undoubtedly not my last) Baby Surprise Jacket last weekend, so that was the first order of business, shown here with spreadsheets created by a blogger and Raveler named Kenny. I was considering making my own, then thinking maybe I should just wing it when I noticed a thread on the Baby Surprise Jacket group on Ravelry and lo and behold, someone had already done all the work! I'm a bit of a spreadsheet fanatic at work so don't take it lightly when I say that there was not a single modification I would have made to these spreadsheets.
It was really quite delightful sitting in the woods, knitting my first EZ pattern and reading about her fishing crazed husband while mine was out fishing as well! It only goes to confirm my suspicions that knitting and fishing and perfectly complementary hobbies!
The pattern was the perfect combination of mesmerizing and mindless. I could read and enjoy my surroundings while knitting, yet it was fascinating to see the unusual construction take shape. I used 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden 31 and just over 1 skein of 201... I had bought a bunch of Silk Garden thinking I would try a Noro Striped Scarf for my teenage nephew and 31 was the plainest blackest colorway I could find! I ended up abandoning that project and I wanted to use up the 31. I figured the BSJ was an exciting enough project to make up for the relatively boring colorway, plus a co-worker is having a baby boy in September and this would be perfect. The 201 provided a more colorful middle section.
Hard to imagine now, but it was still pretty chilly on Friday, and then it turned into a burning hot weekend! I'm not sure how my husband survived out on open water. It was a good excuse for afternoon naps!
After the BSJ was more or less complete on Saturday, it was time to move back to the Print O' The Wave Stole which had been put aside for over a month:
I got a good part of the border of the second long side done... not much longer to go.
I didn't really knit on my clapotis while out there, but I couldn't resist the chance for a few shots.
Yes, I did like those "horizon" shots...
So the whole hunkering down with my knitting thing in April worked out pretty well and for the first time ever, my stash went down for the month!
Here are the stats! (running total with total for month in parentheses)
skeins purchased: 198 (1)
skeins knit: 91.7 (4.8)
yards purchased: 31,717 (128)
yards knit: 14,077 (1,394)
yards remaining: 16,741
$ spent on yarn (not including sales tax or shipping): ($15.50)
knitting since: 1/27/07
I was helped a great deal by the April Spring Cleaning Challenge over on the Stash and Burn Group on Ravelry - the challenge was to destash 1,000 yards in April (up to 250 of those yards could be via trade or sell).
Here's how I did:
Yards to start: 18,007
clapotis: 321 - no recent picture
print o’ the wave stole: 541 - I'm actually halfway done with the border now, and still loving it!
one skein clutch: 118 - I did go to Purl Patchwork where I obsessed for an embarrassingly long time about which fabric to use, and ended up hedging my bets and picking out three! It was all I could do to resist buying bundles of "fat quarters" just because they were pretty!
lala scarf: 370 - uh, still haven't blocked it
mermaid gloves: 44
Total knit: 1394
Yards bought: 128
Final yardage: 16,741
Stash burned: 1266!
And yes, I almost managed to purchase no yarn at all but I did end up buying one skein of Alchemy Temple which is strangely not listed on the Alchemy website or on Ravelry (at least not until I just added it) but is a beautiful machine washable superfine merino. I've been looking for a superwash yarn in green for a gift for a friend and was hoping to try something new so when I saw this, I snapped it up and it has not disappointed!
My friend requested some wristwarmers like these but I decided to try a different pattern too - the mermaid gloves, except I did not make individual fingers or make them as long. It was a great knit and I'm really happy with how they came out! I'll post photos once the gift has been received so it is still somewhat of a surprise for her...
I also visited two new yarn stores over the past couple of months - String and Knit New York. Both stores were kind of a revelation as they have beautiful but entirely different collections to each other and to Purl. I've been to Purl so many times now that I'm not sure how it could ever NOT be my favorite, plus it's more convenient for me, but I can see myself branching out a little.
String definitely has an Upper East Side vibe to it. They have a lot of beautiful cashmere, including Koigu cashmere which I fondled furiously... and they had the CUTEST little ribbed baby sweater knit in it that was just gorgeous.... but takes 3 SKEINS!!! $150 for the yarn for a tiny baby sweater - ouch! I have to admit, I would consider it for a very special baby. Speaking of ouch, how about Qiviuk? (That's a good scrabble word.) Yes that's right, $138 for 1 little 2oz ball! It has to be said though, the sample scarf they had there in this was just beautiful.
I loved Knit New York too, and they have tons of colorways of, amongst other things, Malabrigo, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, Noro Silk Garden and Kureyon and oh my oh my, the Artyarns 5-ply cashmere! That is definitely going on my shopping list one day. They had a beautiful pair of fetchings knit up in a pink colorway and, well, need I say more? I will be back!
And no, I didn't buy anything at either store! (Oh wait, I did get some Lace Addis for Print O'The Wave at String but no yarn!)
My "hunkering down" knitting is going to continue into May I think, although I'm most likely not going to meet the 1,000 yard goal this time, seeing as I just bought 10 skeins of Pakucho at an amazing price for the Voyager Lace Stole shown on the same page. I seem to be all about the stole lately. This one is for another friend whose birthday is at the beginning of June. She asked for a stole, any stole, any color, winter or summer, and when I saw this I jumped on it, or rather, waited patiently until no-buying April was over and hoped they wouldn't sell out!
I could possibly still make the goal if much of my knitting is on bulkier yarn - here are my possible goals for May:
Starting yardage: 16,741
Finish print o’ the waves stole: approx 400 yards
Finish mermaid gloves: approx 80 yards - DONE!
Make voyager lace stole: approx 880 yards
Possible other goals (need another 520 yards total)
Make progress on clapotis: approx 650 yards if I complete it
Make baby surprise jacket: approx 360 yards if I complete it
Make zinnia bag: approx 500 yards if I complete it
And oh yeah, I almost forgot, but I won not one but TWO contests! Much to my amazement, I won second prize in a blog contest at Kathryn Ivy and I am getting Alice's package. I believe there were something like 96 entrants and two winners so, wow! And then, on top of that, I won one of the Ravelraiser prizes - a $20 gift certificate to the Diva Knitting Store. Not sure what the odds were for that but given that they raised over $70K and you got one entry for every $10 donated, I am doubly amazed! Thank you Alice and Cheryl for the prizes!
Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 07:45 AM in Knitting, Knitting FO: mermaid gloves, Knitting FO: print o' the waves stole, Knitting FO: voyager lace stole, Knitting WIP: clapotis, Knitting WIP: one skein clutch, Knitting: future projects, Knitting: stats, Knitting: yarn | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
After the frenzied knitting and knitting-researching and knitting-shopping of the past few weeks, and something almost akin to knitting stress(!) I've settled into a nice relaxed comfortable pace. I feel like I'm hunkering down for the long haul. I've stocked up on provisions and I'm battening down the hatches and settling in.
Clappy and I have made up and are re-united again. I'm knitting from 2 skeins, switching every 2 rows, and it seems to have addressed the pooling. I'm enjoying the rhythm of striding back and forth along the rows. It feels cozy and warm and dependable. It's mostly mindless, but not boring, and I actually kind of like knowing it's going to take a while. It adds to that feeling of being all set for a bit.
I like having the photos of it all laid out, because it's hard to really see the whole thing when you're working on it. I'm a little over 1/3rd of the way through my yarn. I wasn't going to use all 3 skeins to begin with, but I think I might. I used almost 1/5th for the increases, which is a proportion that I've seen recommended, so it makes sense. There's not much I could do with a little left over.
I'm also in pretty good shape for Print O' The Waves. I'm also in for the long haul on that one. I feel pretty comfortable with how it's going to come out and what I need to do so, with all the decisions made, I can relax and enjoy this one too.
It's a little less mindless than the Clapotis, but it's a pretty easy pattern repeat once you've done it a few times and as long as I pay some attention and keep count, I haven't been getting into too much trouble, and it's pretty relaxing as well. Switching between the two projects is perfect!
I love it!
And while you can definitely read the pattern pre-blocking, what a difference blocking makes!
I learnt a few things swatching today.
First of all, I should try and take the time to read through the whole pattern so I can figure out the best way to swatch. I was too impatient to get started so I thought, oh well, I'll worry about the edging later. Not a big deal, but with a bit more planning, I would have known it wasn't necessary to add a seed stitch border on either side of the swatch, and then I could have tried swatching the edge along the side as well as along the end to see how the patterns matched up. Actually, I'm not sure I would have had the patience to swatch that much, but at least I'd have had the option!
Also, I should have weighed my swatch after completing the center panel repeats to get an idea of the yardage of the center panel and the edging separately for more accurate estimating.
I don't think either things are going to matter that much in the end, I think blocking will handle any misalignments between sections, and hopefully I won't be cutting it that fine on yardage (see below) but it might be useful to remember for the future.
But yeah, did I mention that I LOVE IT? The color, the drape, the softness! So pretty! So light and airy! I keep fondling my swatch. The stitch definition isn't as strong as I've seen on the sea silk versions, but I think it gives it more of an ephemeral quality. Mind you, my sea silk project wasn't nearly as lacey or on as big a needle size, but sea silk is almost twice the weight for similar yardage, so it's entirely different.
Of course, once I completed the swatch (which is by far the biggest swatch I've ever knitted) there ensued many calculations to figure out what size the final piece might be and how much yarn it would use.
For a moment there, it looked like my 1600 yards were not going to be enough! How could that be?! Most people seem to have been using 3 skeins or around 1200 yards of sea silk. I set about figuring out how big I thought I could make it (that's when more accurate yardage for the different repeats would have been helpful) when it occurred to me to weigh the swatch and not the yarn remaining in the skein. Apparently, my skein was a little light, and therefore my swatch was lighter than I first calculated, and it was enough of a difference that I should have enough yarn plus safety margin to knit the repeats in the pattern which will give me the size I would like. Phew! Although now I'm a little distrustful of my calculations and I've put another skein on hold at Purl just in case. I'll pick it up next week, and if I don't end up using it, I can return it for store credit within 6 months... or, shhh, use it for something for myself...
Anyway, here I am, trying to get a feel for the drape (these are all iPhone photos by the way).
I think I'm going to get some Addi Turbo lace needles (I'm using US#6) which will help with this project. Which means I will just have to continue to fondle my swatch until then!
In the end, I couldn't quite go for Lacey Lamb. I had decided to go in a different direction with the color for the lace stole, light blue (obviously) and Purl didn't have the light blue in stock and I just couldn't get behind any of the other colors. Plus Lacey Lamb does seem to be so relentlessly even. I was yearning for something with a little more texture, or a slight variation in color.
So I went through the store collecting all the blues I loved until I came to... yes, cashmere-silk. My budget doubled one fell swoop, but actually, now that I look at it, Handmaiden Sea Silk (used for the Hanami Stole for my mother) is almost the same cost for a skein of similar yardage. It's just the cashmere seems so... fancy.
To tell you the truth, making this decision and purchase is a big relief! I am reminded of my mother's complaints that she encouraged my dad to take up golf so he would be less stressed about work, and instead he was getting stressed out about golf! Not that I was stressed out exactly. Obsessed, more like. Which lace stole should I knit? And with what yarn? This was several days of internet research in the making!
Of course, none of these photos really show the color quite right. There's a little more green in it than the unwound photos show, but not as much as in the wound photos.
I've been in a crazy mad shopping mode lately. I think it's a combination of my birthday month, spring breaking through, and some physically minor but emotionally more significant medical things going on (think good thoughts for me on Monday). I am not usually much of a shopper, but lately I have been yearning things. Beautiful things. Ravelry and Etsy are dangerous dangerous places for someone in this state of mind!
Anyway, here is a round up of my recent obsessions. Perhaps in listing them I can put them to rest! I've decided that I'm going to try and make April a blackout month in terms of shopping for non-essential items. It will be a month to enjoy the things I bought this month.
Lace stole: As you all know I have spent hours trying to figure out which lace stole to knit. I'm not sure why it has been so hard. It seems to me that absolutely stunning lace stoles are in huge abundance and it's impossible to pick one. Are other items the same way? Not in my experience, I can tell you that. Perhaps it's because I decided on the type of project and then had to find a pattern, rather than seeing a pattern and deciding to knit it. Perhaps Ravelry just provides easy access to an overwhelming overabundance of choices.
The trouble is, I now feel that a lace stole/shawl is an essential for all women, and it is my duty to provide one for every one I'm close to! I really am going to need to start up a sweatshop in order to accomplish this... and even though I've pretty much committed to Print O' The Wave (depending on how it swatches up), I still have a wandering eye. Just this morning I saw the Storm Water Shawl and thought wow. Yes, again with the blue. Even though many many Print O' The Waves on Ravelry were knit using Handmaiden Sea Silk, I wanted to try something different, but perhaps I'll treat myself to sea silk stole later on.
By the way, here is the Lanas Puras Melosa Lace Weight I was going to use until I found out they only had 1 skein left...
Yes, I ordered it anyway. I am sure I will find a beautiful use for it!
Clapotis: Speaking of shawls, I'm also getting the feeling that every woman needs a clapotis. You can see where I am really running into a problem, right? Yes, my clapotis and I have had a little tiff, we will be reconciled soon. I have my other two skeins wound up and ready and I think I am going to go ahead with every 2 rows in one or the other to get rid of the pooling.
I can see why Clapotis are addictive, especially on a larger gauge yarn when it will go quite quickly.
Blues: yes, I seem to have become obsessed with blues lately, which is a really new one for me. I have never craved blue more, not regular blue but sky blue, robin's egg blue, turquoise, teal etc. Perhaps it's related to loving the beach and the sea or being near any kind of body of water, even though I really don't particularly find the need to be in it. The cashmere-silk purchase is the first major physical manifestation of this obsession, but I am finding myself drawn to lots of blues, and I had to stop myself from simply buying all the pretty blues I loved at Purl (and how come most of them seemed to be very pricey bamboo yarn?!)
Cashmere: well, I seem to have taken care of this obsession, at least for now anyway, although in an unexpected way. It all started when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and cashmere seemed like the most appropriate yarn gift to ask for. He ended up getting me a spa gift certificate (nothing wrong with that!) but that hasn't stopped me from looking. I linked to it already but Nicole from Stash and Burn has the most beautiful Koigu Cashmere in her stash, and if String (the sole vendor of this yarn who just so happens to be in NYC) had this colorway still, I probably would have been completely unable to resist. (Now there's a yarn a lot more expensive than what I just bought!)
Anyway, I was originally thinking that I would a little cashmere treat could be used to make a cashmere cowl and then, oh my, I saw this gorgeous shoulder warmer on etsy which takes the concept one step further and... I want one! In robin's egg blue! Cashmere! We will see (and more on this etsy store shortly).
Well, except for the other cashmere-silk I bought on etsy!
To be honest, I have no idea what I am going to make with this, other than perhaps some easter egg ornaments for next year. I was just completely unable to resist the beautiful spring colors!
Oooh, perhaps a chevron scarf!
Tortillagirl's etsy store: So yeah, love love love! And yes, I ended up indulging in this handmade bag. Becky is an accomplished knitter as well as designer, and as far as I can tell, mostly blogs at fluffa. I love the linen jacket she knit for her son - scroll to the bottom to see adorable FO photos!
Concentric Circle Scarf: yup, I bought this too, after seeing it on Alison's beautiful blog six and a half stitches. (I suppose one could say I am also obsessed with grey...) I'm hoping it arrives in time for my project's grand opening next weekend. I'd like to wear it with my new shirt from the other day and a black pin-striped suit, possibly the skirt version with my new boots (see below). Serious and professional yet stylish, that's the note I'd like to hit, which I find can be hard for women in architecture. You don't want to look too interior design-y (no offense to interior designers) but you don't want to look too boring either or whacky either.
Skirts and boots: Speaking of which (see, my obsessions all seem to be inter-related), if you've been following along on twitter, I went on a shoe shopping spree earlier this week. Ok, it was a pretty restrained spree, plus everything was on sale and was not too expensive to begin with.
You see, I have a beautiful pair of knee high leather boots that my mother got me for my birthday a couple of years ago (I am wearing them here although you can't really see). The thing is, I really can't do heels. I just can't. I really need comfortable shoes. It's funny because my mother wears heels all the time, and growing up, my sister and her friend used to play dress up and teeter around the house in her shoes. I guess it's telling that I did not engage in this activity. Perhaps that's why I can't wear heels! I mean, I can wear them for special occasions, but not when I have to walk further than from a parking lot to the place ie not if the subway is involved, unless of course I carry them in my bag and change, which is a pain in the neck for every day use.
So earlier this week I thought to myself that it was a shame it was still too cold to wear sandals but it's warm enough that if I had a comfortable pair of knee high boots, I could start wearing skirts to work (I hate wearing stockings, and even if I didn't, I don't have a comfortable pair of shoes to wear with stockings). and then I thought, hey, maybe boots are on sale as it's the end of the season, and sure enough they were! So now I have a comfortable pair of boots and I have been wearing skirts to work. As I said on twitter, life really is better in a skirt!
Noro Silk Garden: oh my goodness I am completely obsessed with colorway 249 as seen here and here (see many projects in this colorway at ravelry and flickr) and which I have already mentioned as being shown here (and can also be seen on ravelry and flickr) and hey look, the two are combined here!
I think I could see my obsessions with Silk Garden and Clapotis dangerously combined. Also, I love the Y-790 dress shown here (scroll down).
Baby Surprise Jacket: well, I've talked about this one before and this is another combination obsession - I am particularly obsessed with Silk Garden Baby Surprise Jackets! You can see many of them on ravelry and flickr. You can even find them in my favorite colorways eg here (oh so gorgeous!) and I think here although the colorway is not given but is that not the cutest?!!! There are so many that are so beautiful though. Look here, here, here (I have this yarn!), here, here, here, here, here and well you get the idea. (Again, these are flickr or blog links. For ravelry links, check under my favorites.)
Yes, just slightly obsessed, but wait until you see this... the BABY SURPRISE SNOW SUIT!!!! Could you not just DIE from the cuteness?!!!! The funny thing is, no one on ravelry has tried this with a variegated yarn yet...
Blonde Chicken Boutique: This is another etsy store that has captured my attention lately (damn you Ravelry ads!) I linked here before but oh my, what deliciousness... I pretty much want to buy everything here. Tara also blogs here. Particularly interesting was a recent post about photography because I think she takes amazing photos of her yarn and it was through her inspiration that I recently started photographing my yarn in "piles" (see above), even though I've seen Purl do this for ages (for example with my cashmere-silk) and I think that's one of the reasons their yarn always looks so great online too.
Which brings me to my last obsession for now:
Light box: I really should make myself a light box. The stainless steel counters of our kitchen do not make for the greatest back drop I know, and I can't always be bothered to wait for a good day to go outside. There are instructions here and here... and many other places I'm sure. This is one obsession I haven't yet researched to the fullest! Yes, these are just some of the things that go on in my mind. Are you exhausted? I am!