Sunday, November 19, 2006

Done: Birch

Yesterday, I tricked my sister-in-law into modeling birch for me. See, I was the official photographer for her holiday card photoshoot featuring her two pugs, Lola and Luda. After casually slipping in the request after spending a half hour snapping photos and following two ADD dogs around while my brother-in-law lured them with treats, she was happy to oblige. Did I mention they're practically still puppies, only turning one last week? Pug puppies have zero attention span. Anyway, let's get down to business.


Pattern. Birch by Sharon Miller
Source. Rowan 34
Yarn. Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Majestic, 3+ balls (Thanks again,
Needles. Bryspuns US8
Duration. July __? to November 6th

(GIANT Shawl!!)
This was a thoroughly enjoyable first KSH lace project. It took some time adjusting to the slippy yarn, but the Bryspuns eased that along. The plastic needles and sharp points grip the yarn and prevent hairpulling and yarn throwing with those K2tbl's. KSH is the warmest, yummiest yarn EVER. I see why there are so many addicts out there. Not only is the yarn deliciously soft and practical, but I feel like I really achieved something in taming it. Seeing all those little leaves lined up perfectly after seeing the yarn in its original ball form just puts a smile on my face. And it kept me warm while I kniting.

The pattern. Any normal knitter can memorize the pattern, although I compulsively referred to it for the first 200 rows. I *did not* want to frog KSH. (although I did have to a couple of times). I prefer working slow than fixing mistakes.

The most daunting part for me (other than the 299 stitch cast on that I did TWICE) would have to be weaving in ends. I tried splicing them to no avail, so I weaved them in for a good 4 inches or so. I hope that's enough. I hear that KSH gets hairy over time, so I hope the little ends will stay "stuck." ***crossing fingers*** I think I would cry if it unraveled when my mom was wearing it. I can't even begin to imagine how to fix that, either. There should be seamstresses for knitted items.

What else? I relied on Mason Dixon's
"Top Ten Things to Remember while Knitting Birch" as my Birch primer, which Veronique's blog steered me to. I used the stitch markers the whole time, although they slowed me down. Again, didn't want to make mistakes and frog KSH.

I think if I were to knit another Birch, which is certainly possible, I would use smaller needles. The final product is HUGE, which doesn't bother me, but it could produce the same effect with a smaller size.

I've read this all over the blogs, but I'll say it again. Buy 4 balls of yarn! I wasn't clued in on this until after I purchased the yarn and spent the duration convincing myself I would have enough yarn. "Oh, the rows just get shorter! These balls of KSH last forever!" I would tell myself. Yup, I was wrong. So, I repeat, buy extra yarn!

Mods. I followed the pattern to the T with the exception of starting with two rows of stockinette suggested by MDK (hmmm, maybe that's why I ran out of yarn...) More than just helping you set up those first pattern rows, I think the little border stablilizes that first pattern repeat in teh final product. Otherwise, the leaves would look like they could slide off the shawl.

Overall. Love it! I just hope my mom does, too.

Next steps. *Finally,* gift this to my mom. Happy Birthday, Mom....4 months late. Hopefully, I'll get some shots of her wearing it to post.

And here's a pic from the photo shoot.

Lola and Luda... I still couldn't get them both to look. Luda's eyeing the treat.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hourglass Replacement Sweater

With my easy knitting project MIA, I cast on for the project waiting on deck, Beau. This will be J's 2006 sweater. Here's a lackluster shot of the back...

(For a much artier shot of Beau's back, check out Elli's here.)

I'm using Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Husk, the yarn prescribed for the project. I thought Hourglass was going to be a fast knit, but this is just flying off the needles. Yay for nice thick yarn and easy peasy ribbing! I'm actually knit a bit more than when I took this photo and nearing completion on the back. Fastest . Sweater . Ever! I was hoping for a finished sweater by Thanksgiving, but that was before I realized just how close that was. I don't think I'm up for that kind of challenge.

I signed up for the Phildar Swing Coat KAL organized by Vanessa but am still floundering with the decision to shell out neary $30 for the pattern book when I don't think I would knit any other pattern. It's just such a cute sweater! What to do...what to do...

Updated to Add:
This pattern pic:

And to thank Jenna and Veronique for their suggestion to order the pattern mag directly from Phildar at nearly what I expected! Woo hoo! It's on it's way here as I type. Thanks, guys!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Birch *almost* there!

I feel like I've been working on this project since the dawn of time. (don't worry, mom, every second was worth it- you'd better like it, though!) Me and Birch are lucky though, because we averted catastrophe when Melissa aka the coolest person ever sent this:

(check out that cute packaging!)

Melissa, you are a rockstar! I definitely owe you one.... or ten:)

As soon as I got the package of emergency KSH, I finished Birch up. To celebrate, I gave her a little bath... (well, first I used the Harlot's blocking method and strung Birch up, hence all the crazy colored yarn also taking a bath)

After a healthy soak, I gave her a little blocking (and saw just how ginormous this shawl is - it took up more than two big towels).

I also put J's nerdy computer books to good use:

Next up: Me convincing J to help me with a fancy photoshoot for this here shawl. Oh, and finding a time during actual daylight.

The train that ate my yarn:

So, my project never turned up on the train. My cousin who lives in the city even traipsed over to Grand Central to dig through the Lost and Found! How cool is that? So, the funny thing is that I was never super into knitting hourglass. I really like the yarn and thought the sweater would be a nice, relaxing TV knit. But of course after I lose my half-knit version, all I can think about is how my life isn't complete without my own hourglass. I'm nuts, I'll be the first to admit it.

So, a couple days ago I surveyed my stock of Cash Iroha - 8 whole skeins (I started with more than I needed after reading about some people running out). Anyway, 8 skeins! Not bad when I only need 11 (according to the pattern, at least). I decided to check out ebay, prepared to buy a few skeins in a different dyelot and alternate rows, when I found the exact color AND dyelot! How lucky am I? So, on its way to me now are 5 (maybe I got a bit carried away) skeins of Noro Cash Iroha, 94 in Lot E. I'm almost over losing all that time spent on the first (and the pain of imagining it in a dumpster somewhere:( )

That's TWO yarn crises averted. Woo hoo!

For Next Post - A nearly finished back of the Hourglass Replacement Sweater, aka Beau from Rowan Vintage Knits and hopefully soon a fully-lined finished Weekender!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Knitting Movie

Sorry for another pictureless post. Have any of you heard Julia Roberts is working on a new movie, Friday Night Knit Night, I think it's called. Might be old news, but I just thought it was interesting....

Monday, November 06, 2006


The marathon was great yesterday (but I'm feeling it today!). But, guess what I left on the train on the way home last night? A half-finished Hourglass body, a couple balls of Noro Cash Iroha, some Addis, and my favorite tape measure. :( I'm bummed! I'm usually so anal making sure I've collected all my luggage, but I was SO tired and SO out of it after the race I overlooked the zip lock holding my project (I thought I had shoved it in another bag, but it must have fallen out). I even called the MTA and left a voicemail, but I doubt that will do any good. They'll probably laught at my message!

Anyone have a good project for a half sweater's worth of Cash Iroha?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and the Yarn Quest

Happy Halloween! This is J's pumpkin. Mine is too ugly to show. The face only takes up about 1/3 of the pumpkin and I tried to give it hair. I'll just leave it at that.

Before I forget, thanks for all the nice comments about the rock n weave socks! My socks feel so loved!

I still haven't touched the weekender since my last post. I need to get motivated if I want to use it this weekend for my
marathon. Speaking of that, check out what I got in the mail this week!

I can't believe race day is only 5 days away!

Back to Amy Butler... have you checked out
her site recently? She's preparing to release a new line of fabric as well as some new patterns, finished products and other fun goodies. I'm in love with this bag:

I hope she is selling the pattern and not just finished bags. *Fingers crossed.* That hat is wicked cute, too.

Aside from just plain laziness, Birch has been stealing my focus from the weekender. I was so close to finishing this weekend, but 5 repeats from the end I ran out of yarn. I kind of knew it was coming, but figured I would deal with it when it happened. I'm not worried about using a different dyelot because it would only be for a small fraction of the shawl. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a ball of KSH in Majestic within thirty miles of my house. I miss Boston and its yarn stores aplenty. Actually, I just miss Boston:( I broke down today and ordered a ball from Webs. Hopefully I'll have the shawl ready to give to my mom this weekend. Might be doing a little
hotel room blocking a la Jess.

In my quest for the precious ball of yarn, I've become disenchanted with my new LYS. Upon calling to see if they had the yarn in stock, I was informed that I would have to come in and look myself because there was too much for her to search through. Ummmm, how's that for stellar customer service? Even worse, don't these people keep some sort of inventory? Do they just order more yarn when the cubbies start to look empty? I did go in because this store is too convenient to overlook (it's two blocks from my house). The owner saw me digging through the KSH and asked if I was the girl she spoke with on the phone. So not only was I snubbed on the phone, but by the owner! When I found they didn't have the yarn and after I had mentioned I ran out of yarn towards the end of my project, she suggested a yarn from a different company. I'm weary enough using the same yarn in the same color in a different dye lot, I can't even fathom using a different yarn altogether. I don't know if I'm just being whiny because I'm still yarnless, but I'm used to helpful yarn stores that offer sage advice and viable solutions. If anything, I feel less guilty about buying yarn online now.

Luckily, I got this in the mail yesterday to take some of the pain away. It's the latest BMFA Sock Club shipment and my favorite so far! Look at the argyle-like designs!

Look for some FOs soon!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rock n weave!

Took me long enough to finish these, huh? Well, they're done now and I love them! Not quite in time to wear with my planned outfit of a cute skirt and black Mary Janes, but perfect for walking on hardwood floors in these chilly temps.
Down to the knitty gritty:
Pattern. Rock 'n Weave Socks by A. Karen Alfke
Pattern Source. BMFA Rockin' Socks Club. Now available here.
Yarn. Socks that Rock, Medium Weight in Fairgrounds - May Sock Kit.
Needles. Size 1, 2, and 5 Addi Turbos.
Buttons. Some shiny silver ones from Joanns. They look a lot like the ones in the pattern pic.
Duration. 4-eva! In reality, some time in early June to 10/20/06. Almost five months for a pair of socks? Sad.
Mods. None
Thoughts. Love the socks, love the pattern. The pattern shakes up the sock pattern both with it's construction of the ankle flap, the use of buttons, and just the overall look. I dig it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend Update

What an amazing weekend up in New England. The leaves are at peak, the air light and crisp. A perfect weekend for some hiking, pumpkin picking (can you believe I spent $30 on 2 pumpkins??? Have pumpkins always been this much money? I must be in the wrong business. And worst of all, I can't help but think of the yarn I could have bought!), running, and (this goes without saying) crafting. That basically sums up my weekend. The picture above is from a hike today. I keep pretending it's my backyard. Could you imagine?

The crafting has definitely improved with the addition of my drafting table. Check out my new crafting space:

Not only do I have space for my computer, sewing machine and ironing board, but the cat has a new elevated spot to look out the window and into the rest of the house. She also keeps my WIPs warm while they wait on the table. Unfortunately, she covers them in cat hair and I'm always fearful I'll accidentally leave a pin in something! Now, what's that hiding on the table? Could it be the (cat hair-covered) weekender?

Sure is. The bag is shaping up nicely. This is where I'm at:

That's the lining with the pockets I added and the exterior turned inside out. I don't want to show that until the bag is complete. I'm was on such a roll up until last week, but stalled out at the start of the work week. Stupid work getting in the way of everything! All I have left to do is attach the lining and make the false bottom. It's just pathetic I'm still putting it off. I started working on it today, but then my bobbin ran out of thread and I got lazy. Again, pathetic.

Despite the bag being unfinished, I still used it last weekend without the lining!