Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Toggle Switch in my Knitter's Brain

When I last posted, I was in the midst of knitting up many of my newest purchases.  I had just cast on my Kindra sweater in Lustra, and was hoping this desire to knit straight through one purchase after another might last me through at least one sweater.

It didn't.  

This is where I stalled on the sweater (two sleeves and a bit of hem for the body):

Kindra sleeves
I stopped when I received my back ordered Rowan Lima for the Noelle Capelet.  I guess this still qualifies as knitting off new purchases, because I knit it up quickly.  I then knit up a pair of fingerless gloves (the yarn and pattern came with the then-current issue of Simply Knitting), another new purchase.
Noelle Capelet in the Lima color of Rowan Lima
Lacy Mitts in Bergere Ciboullette
Unfortunately for the Kindra (and my desire to finish it prior to the holiday season), the toggle switch in my brain then shifted to "knit scarves and shawlettes" mode.  First came the call from Margaret that she needed more scarves for teens for the annual gift basket program run by the local AAUW.  In addition to donating a few scarves and cowls I had knit earlier in the year, I knit a few from stash yarns.  I'm particularly happy with the way the black and gray scarf came out.

Study in Black and Gray Scarf
Pink Glitz Scarf
I gave Margaret the scarves at a Tuesday morning knit group meeting.  I was trying to finally finish a simple lace scarf in Noro King that I had started a year before (I did finish it a week or so later).  Caroline showed off the beautiful Wingspan she had just finished, and that reminded me that I had purchased two balls of Noro Shiraito (a cashmere blend) to make a Wingspan just like the shop model Beth made for Green Planet Yarns.
Noro King Scarf (done!)
That turned out to be my next project.  It was so much fun that I pulled out a ball of Crazy Zauberball in "Charisma" (magenta and black) to make another.  Both came out well, I think.

Shiraito Wingspan
Zauberball Wingspan

I also knit up a MainStreet Scarf from a kit I bought from Morehouse Farms a few years back.  The colors are more muted than they appear in the photo, and the yarn is exceedingly soft.  I haven't decided yet if this will be a gift or a keeper yet.

MainStreet Scarf
Since then, my projects have been strictly in the charity or gift category (still all scarves and shawlettes).  I've knit a few things from my aged stash (a mistake stitch scarf in Katia Tucan and a Multnomah shawlette in an odd fingering weight mohair), a mistake stitch scarf in Red Heart from stash I inherited from my late MIL, and I'm halfway through my second gift cowl from recent purchases (Rowan Frost and Frog Tree Meriboo, respectively).

Tucan Mistake Stitch Scarf
Red Heart Mistake Stitch Scarf
Multnomah in Mohair (blocking)
Links Cowl in Rowan Frost
Climb and Swirl Cowl in Meriboo
I should really get back to my Kindra so I can wear it to at least one of the holiday dinners I have coming up soon, but my brain has been whispering "fingerless mitts would be lovely Xmas gifts", so I may be waylaid once again.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Easily Swayed

When I have startitis, it usually isn't just a sense of restlessness (i.e., "this project is just not satisfying the I want to knit itch"), but often that my ear keeps hearing the siren call of other projects.

Sometimes it is the fumes from a just purchased yarn that pulls me into a new project.  This happened with my recent shopping spree, when I made two cowls and a scarf with my Stonehedge Crazy Mill Ends, a cowl from Lana Bambu, another cowl from Madeline Tosh, and a hat from O-Wool Balance.

O-Wool Balance Hat (see previous posts for cowls)

Then I watched a video that my friend Jocelyn recommended.  It is from German TV and shows kids how Opal yarn is made.

I suddenly had the urge to make some plain vanilla socks from a patterned yarn (mine are in Mehlenweit, not Opal).  This yarn was near the top of my stash because it too came from the shopping spree.

Then I was reading Wendy Johnson's blog and admiring the Fair Isle sweater she is knitting in Kauni.  Next thing I knew, I was knitting a pair of gloves from a KnitPicks kit (another shopping spree purchase) that had Fair Isle trim.

I noticed that several friends on Ravelry had faved a few Stephen West designs, so I went through his designs and found Purl Ridge, which was perfect for some shopping spree Terra.

Now my friend Carol has blogged about a "plain vanilla" sweater she is knitting, which of course got me thinking that a sweater is just the project to start.  Mine is Kindra from the newest Berroco Norah Gaughan booklet.  It is in Lustra in a deep blue called Abysse (that is just on the teal side) and should be perfect for fall and winter.

I'm hoping that since I was able to finish all of the projects I've started since going on the spree in mid-September, I might actually finish this in a timely manner as well.

Unfortunately, there is that small matter of the September Rockin' Socks Club package that just arrived.  It is screaming "knit Franklin Habit's hat" at me (maybe having it on display on the dining room table is not such a good idea right now).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Unusual Saturday

Here is a picture of my husband Joe that our daughter Kerry took yesterday.  This is not his usual clothing choice (he is a jeans seven days a week kind of guy -- this is Silicon Valley, after all).  It is also not usual for him to look so relieved.

He had just done something he had never tried before (lots of us over 50 don't do that so often) and in front of over 100 people who were all looking RIGHT AT HIM (that is even harder).

He did a great job, and the rest of us were relieved as well.

This is what he did:

Three weeks prior the bride and groom were among the throng at our home for an end of summer pool party and BBQ.  The bride's older sister was finding herself thrown into the role of mother of the bride (mom passed away a few years back), and she was in a bit of a panic over her baby sister's lack of planning skills.  Big sister mentioned the pair had not yet secured someone to officiate at the wedding. Having had a beer or two (and not having learned the cardinal rule that anyone who has dealt with PTAs knows:  don't ever volunteer for anything unless you want the job), Joe mentioned that any adult could officiate, even he could.

A week and a half later, he had the job and the offical title of minister (from the American Marriage Ministries.Com, which is willing to make you official for no charge).

I didn't get much knitting done yesterday, obviously, but I did finish another cowl from the Stonehedge Mill Ends.  This is the Orbs design from the latest Knitscene Accessories magazine.

I also started another Honey Cowl, this time in Madeline Tosh Merino DK in the color jade.  Joe wandered by as I was casting on and said, "Now THAT's a nice color!"

Since Joe rarely comments on my WIPs except to mention how they are piling up, I think this means I need to get some more Tosh.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sometimes a Shopping Spree has Positive Results

Ten days ago I went on a knitting shopping spree.  My wallet is definitely lighter, but despite having a fair number of non-knitting projects requiring my attention, I actually have something to show for it already.

First, I finished my Dr. Who type scarf in Stonehedge Mill Ends (called Stonehedge Crazy at Green Planet Yarns for those who've asked).  I love this yarn:  it is constructed from random length (from 3 to 20 yards) mill ends that have been respun into single plies, then those single plies are made into a two ply worsted weight yarn.  One caveat is the balls vary quite a bit in weight (my four ranged from 74g to 89g).  The scarf is a simple garter stitch diagonal construction (SSK the first stitch, K f/b the last on every other row).  It ended up being 5" wide and over 9' long.  I used two skeins totalling 150g.

Next, I knit a Birthday Cake cowl from an 84g skein.  This particular ball had less color variation than most, and, amazingly, the color changes mostly happened right along the purl ridges.  Finished size is 9 1/2" high by 30" circumference.

I took a break from the Stonehedge Mill Ends to knit a Honey Cowl in Lana Bambu.  One skein used and the finished size is 8" high by 29" circumference.  The sun is a bit too strong right now, but the cowl actually has some glints of pine green in among the grays and deep rose.

My last ball of Stonehedge Mill Ends is also destined to be a cowl, this time the Orbs Cowl from the Knitscene Accessories that recently came out.  I started this last weekend and ripped it out after deciding (a) I didn't like how the decreases weren't mirrored (side by side k2tog instead of ssk next to k2tog) and (b) I probably wanted to make it the original 6 repeats instead of 8 that I had cast on for.  If I have finally figured out what this yarn wants to be, I expect to have another cowl done sometime this weekend.

That's four FOs in two weeks -- not bad for someone with knitter's ADD!

Of course, there ARE all those projects requiring just a bit more time and concentration waiting for me to give them the attention they deserve...

Better stop patting myself on the back and get back to work!  (Okay, back to the fun stuff!)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Something in the Air

Whenever the season changes or the weather changes, I seem to catch knitter's ADD.  The weather has been changing a lot around here lately (sometimes cool and foggy, sometimes warm and sunny, sometimes back and forth in the same day). All these weather changes plus the official beginning of fall (school has started!) means I have had an excessively short attention span in recent weeks.  I have been jumping from project to project so often that I think I may have more new WIPs than new FOs in the past month.  I was reminded just how bad it was while reading the Yarn Harlot's latest post.

The other thing that happens during knitting ADD time is if I get within sniffing distance of a yarn shop and happen to walk in (even with the intention of only buying ONE set of sock needles), pretty soon my arms are filled with yarn and I have at least four new projects.
This happened a few days ago. Twice.  It was so bad at Green Planet Yarns that they asked if it was my birthday (it wasn't).

Then the yarn fumes started pouring out of my computer and before I knew it, I had bought multiple projects from two online vendors.

They were both having sales, after all...

So, what did I get, you ask?

Four skeins of Stonehedge Crazy Mill Ends yarn.  This yarn actually started calling to me through the window as I walked by.  Those are strong yarn fumes!  Two have already been knit into a Dr. Who style scarf; the other two are destined to be cowls.  The yarn is even more striking in person.

Dr. Who Ingredients


Another cowl-to-be
Two skeins of Noro Shiraito (their limited edition cashmere blend) that is destined to be a Wingspan (the store had a model that was perfect).

A hat kit with the sadly discontinued O Wool Balance.

A skein of also discontinued Lana Bambu for a cowl.

Alpaca with a Twist Surino (on deep discount):  enough to make TWO Color Affections.
Rosewood, light gray, dark gray

Sage green, pale yellow green, ivory

From the other local store (Yarndogs), I restrained myself (relatively) and got a skein of Tosh DK for a Honey Cowl and a skein of Tosh Sock in the lovely shade of Amber Trinket (probably socks).

Online, I scored two sock kits and two glove kits from Knit Picks (all were on sale).  I also bought some mystery sock yarn from Blue Moon during their blue moon sale (one bag of blues, two bags of mediumweight surprises).

I have finished a few things since I last posted:  a mystery KAL shawlette from Wendy Johnson (mine had beads instead of nupps), three projects designed by Stephen West (a Daybreak shawl, a pair of Dustland Mitts, and a Spectra Scarf), a crocheted bracelet, and two pair of socks.  I've also gotten at least 2/3 through my first Color Affection, started a Thendara (Stephen West again), and gotten well into two new sweater projects.

PS:  I think I got overconfident about my knitting speed a few months back when I was participating in the Classic Elite Spring-O contest.  I was one of the big winners and got all of their fall brochures.  I was expecting 6-10 pamphlets; imagine my surprise when I found 28 pattern booklets along with a lovely note in my mailbox!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Long time, no post (or life intervened, but knitting continued)

Many times when it is this long between posts (nearly three months), I have been hiding my head in shame that I have not been more productive knitwise.  This time around though, I have been busy with knitting whenever my life allowed.

Joe and I have been dealing with the complications that arise as our parents age (all four are over 80).  Two of our parents entered the hospital within hours of each other in mid-May.  One passed away after a month of slow decline, and the other has moved to assisted living after two months of only partially successful rehab.  It has been excruciatingly painful to watch our healthier parents struggle with the changes in their lives, especially since they want to/need to make the decisions and realizations at their own pace.

Life, of course, does not slow down for those of us in the sandwich years.  In May, my son's high school held its annual benefit; I was the treasurer and am still tracking down stray pledges, expenses, and other accounting niceties.  I also did a fair amount of work for local nonprofits, although I did occasionally bag out in order to deal with ailing parent issues.  Joe's work project has been moving along at a breakneck speed, and our kids have been busy with careers and school.  We are also in the midst of a major relandscaping project that has been sucking up a lot of my time (the photo below is from early May).

Frequent family dinners and knitting helped keep me sane through all this.  I finished the scarf and socks mentioned in my previous post along with a cowl from Noro Nobori, then plunged into serious project making mode a few days into May.  I had received notice from Classic Elite that they were having a contest to see who could make the most projects fitting a variety of criteria between January 1 and June 30 of this year (the email went out in April).  They had a bingo card with 16 squares that one could fill out; by June 30, I had started and completed 15 projects (and started two others fitting the criteria).  Pictures are below of a sampling.

Green Cowl in Ariosa (also made one in magenta)

Wanderer Cap in Vista

Beaded Bracelet in Silky Alpaca Lace (one of two)
Cap in Kumara
Slip Stitch Scarf in Kumara

Detail of shawl in Alpaca Sox

One of three baby hats

Baby Sweater

Teddy Bear

Lace shawl in Vail
In July, I have started a mystery shawl knitalong run by Wendy Johnson.  As of today, I am up to date with it.  I've also almost gotten half a cardie knit from Sprout (the last box on my CE bingo card).

I do sleep, by the way.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring fever

This has been a hectic week, so I got less knitting done than I'd like.  When Justin had a schedule change requiring dinner at 7:30 and Kerry invited herself over for dinner, I had to cancel hosting a few knitting friends at 7 that evening (it was wonderful that Barbara volunteered to take over -- thanks Barbara!).  Our remodeling project has picked up the pace with the sunny weather which meant that most of my daytime hours got sucked up.  As long as the rain doesn't arrive on the wrong days, we should be able to use our cabana and re-landscaped pool area by early summer (Memorial Day?).

I am about at the halfway point in my Rainbow Lasagne Noodle scarf.  I plan to wetblock to soften up the yarn a bit and lengthen it some (the ruffles will be a bit less pronounced as a result.  This is my current public knitting project and it attracts LOTS of comments.

Zelda reared her head on Thursday.  She decided it was time to knit with some shiny novelty yarn she had noticed as I was doing my annual spring stash organization a few weeks back.  I relented and knit a simple cowl from two balls of GGH Coco.  I didn't really want to do a garter edge/stockinette body cowl, especially since most of the surface interest shows up on the purl side, so I decided on welts instead.  The pattern is on my Ravelry project page.

Wendy Johnson has just published a new shawlette pattern called Sheldon and Leonard.  It is very tempting, but I am determined to finish her Double Fun Scarf (my Rainbow Lasagne Noodle) first so that Zelda doesn't make me start yet another project before at least one gets finished.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Inner Zelda

Today the Yarn Harlot posted about her Inner Knitter and how she is a teenage girl (manageable when she is pouting in her room, impossible to ignore when she demands your attention).  Mine is more like Zelda Fitzgerald (can you tell that we recently watched Midnight in Paris?).  Mine is brilliant at times, but often fickle and scatter-brained.  She also disappears late on New Year's Eve and doesn't reappear until well into January, giving me plenty of time to polish off some WIPs hanging around the house.  I figure she must have one heck of a hangover.  This year I managed to finish six WIPs started in 2011 plus five more new projects by February 1 while she slept.

I haven't been nearly as productive lately (completed only six projects in the following two months), and now Zelda has infected me with startitis.  Just look at what I have on my needles, all started in 2012:

Rainbow Lasagne Noodle Scarf

Shadow Rib Socks in Opal Graffiti

Daybreak Shawl in Cascade Heritage and Taiyo Sock

Spectra Shawl in KnitPicks Chroma and Stroll

Flip Top Mittens (kit from White Shores)

Central Park Hoodie in Classic Elite Waterlily
Now I did finish a few projects since my last posting (see below), but this is getting a bit out of hand.  I'm getting close to the point of needing to finish a project before casting on another (close, but not quite there, since I'm far more interested in progressing on the Rainbow scarf than finishing the socks).

Such is the life of a knitter...
Ladder Lace Scarf in Mission Falls Cotton

Knitting Pure and Simple t-shirt in Filatura Tempo
Sharks Mitts